Nearly 3,000 high school and elementary students from Niagara and across Southern Ontario got an education in university life over the past few weeks.
As part of Brock University’s ongoing initiative to support better access to post-secondary education, the school invited thousands of students to attend Youth University.
The 3,000 participants took part in one of two programs: a one-day Discovery Day experience or a three-day residential Bridges to Success immersion program. In both cases, the students were placed in small groups with a University mentor, who lead the young people in a process focused on developing key transferable skills such as leadership, communication, and problem solving while engaging in hands-on exploration in such things as 3D printing, science lab dissections, robotics and rock climbing.
Student surveys after showed most participants left more informed about post-secondary education, the transferrable skills needed for it and careers. Most said they were now thinking more about their own future educational plans.
“Youth University focuses on key learning, life, and career skills while fostering awareness and motivation for post-secondary education. Ensuring that Niagara’s young people are adequately prepared for the future is important for individuals and families but also the region as a whole,” said Kate Cassidy, Director of Community Learning and Youth University.
Cassidy said Youth University invites elementary-aged children because of what research has shown about planting the seeds of post-secondary education at an early age.
“Research is indicating that motivation and preparation for post-secondary must start at a young age – much earlier that most people realize. For young people to be able to see post-secondary education as a real option, and be adequately prepared, they must start in elementary school,” she said.