HeppFest Reloaded: Virtually collaborating with partners to engage learners  

Collaboration with internal and external partners is an important part of the work Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) aims to deliver. One such partner is HeppSY (Higher Education Progression Partnership South Yorkshire), which is part of the national Uni Connect programme. GHWY and HeppSY have a long-standing affiliation and benefit from collaboratively working alongside one another.  

After last year’s success, HeppSY once again ran an online festival for young people that took place over four days in February. Each day of HeppFest looked at a different theme around progression into Higher Education (HE). These were: Inspire, Confidence, Explore and Focus. During each day, students attended interactive sessions and presentations from a variety of keynote speakers from different backgrounds to support them on their HE journey. 

GHWY Outreach Officers Hannah Buckle (Leeds Beckett University) and Victoria Joseph (Bradford College) were invited to deliver an hour-long session for KS4 and KS5 students titled ‘Explore Your Future’. This followed day three’s theme of Explore, which aimed to help “students to explore higher education and show students they belong in higher education.”  

The interactive talk covered everything from post-16 study options, to going to university with elements of student life. Hannah commented: “It was a great chance to be able to work with another partnership and offer insights into the options available to students that they may not have previously considered.” 

To enhance the interactive element, which helps to engage students in online sessions, the presentation included a quiz around HE and a question-and-answer session. Vicky and Hannah offered advice on all elements of HE, from the cost of accommodation to the types of support available for wellbeing.  

Mixing modes of delivery created an additional dimension to the session that allowed students to switch between listening and participating. They have become familiar with delivery via online channels since the pandemic, and it is now an integral tool in conveying relevant information and options on HE progression within all Uni Connect programmes. 

Collaborative working between the Uni Connect partners led to another successful event that offered students access to a vast network of opportunities, drawing on a variety of expertise to allow them to make informed choices about their future. 

Resources from HeppFest, including Victoria and Hannah’s ‘Explore you Future’ presentation, are available online. Visit: https://www.hepp.ac.uk/festival/  


Hannah Buckle and Victoria Joseph