NPP Projects

Uni in a Ute

Lead University: University of New South Wales

Lead Researcher: Ann Jardine

Research Team: Ann Jardine, Jaqui Lee and Helen Gardner

Year Funded: 2016

Funding Received: $74,780


Targeted support was delivered to regional and remote Year 11 students through residential events and workshops. Students were given academic skills support, information and guidance around applying for, and participating in, higher education. Specific practical skills and information were provided to aid the completion of their final school years and transition to university. The project also incorporated career guidance sessions with representatives from regional businesses.

Project outline

  • The project had three objectives:
    • Explore the effectiveness of providing regional and remote Year 11 students with targeted assistance.
    • Provide support to assist Year 11 students in their academic endeavors and the complex transition to a higher education context that is outside of their immediate environment.
    • Increase the number of students accessing university by providing Year 11 students with specific practical skills and information that will enable the successful completion of their final years of school and transition to university.
  • The project was developed through two residential events—Focus on Success and U@UNSW—that featured workshops on subjects including: budgeting; building social connections; and life at university.
  • Other project activities:
    • Businesses in Dubbo and regional contacts were approached to seek their engagement in a careers session — participants included: professionals from the Dubbo Neighborhood Centre; GrainCorp; and the Western Plains Cultural Centre who shared their experiences through a careers panel. Employees from Taronga Park Zoo also talked about their careers and their pathways to get there.
    • A training needs assessment for students and contact teachers was mailed out to all partner schools. The assessment asked students to rate themselves on knowledge and skills related to applying to university and managing the transition, and to indicate the kind of help they most needed. The results were used to determine the most important learning outcomes of the event and the themes to be covered.
    • Project officers developed a set of workshops around planned themes: applying for university; academic support; and building the skills for the transition to university.
  • Teacher resource packs were mailed out to schools to inform them of activities.

Key findings

  • The Focus on Success event was held in Dubbo over three days in May 2017:
    • Thirty-seven students and eight teachers from nine ASPIRE partner schools participated in the event.
    • Four students and two teachers attended the subsequent U@UNSW events in Sydney.
  • The events provided students with academic skills support, information and guidance around applying for university.
  • Following the Year 11 event, all students who attended were invited to join another three-day on-campus event called U@UNSW, which delved more deeply into the academic skills needed for study.
  • Every student and teacher completed an evaluation survey.
  • Outcomes included:
    • increasing sense of self-efficacy and confidence in relation to attending university
    • getting students excited about university life and how it can develop them as an individual
    • expanding their social skills in connecting with peers from other schools
    • connecting students with a range of professionals who have grown up and/or worked regionally and expand their knowledge of different jobs
    • helping to build some life skills and independence necessary for the transition to higher education — including budgeting and managing money; creating a new network; handling stress; and managing time
    • an online toolkit template was developed to support other universities to deliver similar events.

Summary prepared by the NCSEHE.


Posted 1 October 2018