The new agreement announced today (11 January) and due to go live in spring 2024 will enable those with an account on the UCAS Hub to explore, interact with and sample university subjects, courses and work experience online for the first time before they apply.
The collaboration will bolster UCAS and Springpod’s joint missions to support students in exploring their future options and, as a free service, improve social mobility by broadening horizons, removing barriers and widening access to higher education, apprenticeships and the world of work irrespective of background or location.
UCAS research Where next? What influences the choices school leavers make? (1.2 MB) has highlighted the importance of making students aware of their choices from as early as primary school through personalised information, advice and guidance.
The report found the majority of students (83%) decided on their degree subject before choosing their university or college. When making their decision, 73% chose a subject they enjoyed, while 54% pursued a course with good career prospects, with disadvantaged students more likely to be motivated by employability.
By logging into their UCAS Hub, students will have virtual access to:
- Subject Spotlights: Interactive university course tasters which feature real-life lectures, seminars and academics, giving prospective students the opportunity to experience a variety of degree subjects that they may be considering studying.
- Work Experiences: Immersive and informative virtual work experiences with leading employers such as the NHS, Network Rail and Airbus. These incorporate real workplace activities – from attending a live surgery to designing a lunar landing module – and the chance to speak with, and hear from, industry professionals.
Over 300,000 young people have enrolled in a Springpod programme in the past 24 months, and the platform is used by students in over 4,000 schools across the country. Overall, 80% of students who have taken part in a Subject Spotlight, say it gave them a better perception of that degree and has led to them considering applying - with 62% more interested in attending an open day.
As well as giving an insight into university, the practical, task-based learning programmes help to boost employability skills and better prepare students for work - 99% of those completing Springpod’s programmes rate the awareness of careers in their chosen industry as good or excellent. Students receive certificates of completion from universities and employers which they can evidence on their personal statements.
UCAS Chief Executive (Interim) Sander Kristel said: “This is a fantastic innovation offering all students with a UCAS Hub account the opportunity to explore their next steps through free virtual experiences of university and work life.
“Through this exciting new collaboration with Springpod, we are delivering on the recommendations set out in our ‘Where Next’ report, embedding accessible careers education earlier in the process of student decision-making. This will be fundamental in further supporting students in making informed decisions based on their future dreams and aspirations while enabling us to provide deeper, richer insight to universities, colleges and industry employers wanting to reach and engage with young people on their next steps.”
Springpod Founder and Chief Executive Sam Hyams said: “Springpod aims to inspire and empower the next generation by helping them to select and secure their brightest future, which is why we're excited to introduce virtual career and course experiences to the hundreds of thousands of young people applying through UCAS.
“Our programmes enable young people to try a career or subject before they apply, increasing understanding, confidence and outcomes. Our aim is to ensure young people achieve their brightest future and together, with UCAS, we can help to educate, upskill and prepare young people to take their future into their own hands.”
Universities, colleges and employers who are interested in connecting with, and attracting, prospective students and emerging talent through the platform can contact: The Partnership Team Springpod: email@example.com
UCAS Press Office
07880 488 795
firstname.lastname@example.org (monitored regularly)
Notes to editors
Springpod will be available on the UCAS Hub from spring 2024.
UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is an independent charity, and the UK's shared admissions service for higher education.
Our services support young people making post-18 choices, as well as mature learners, by providing information, advice, and guidance to inspire and facilitate educational progression to university, college, or an apprenticeship.
We manage almost three million applications, from around 700,000 people each year, for full-time undergraduate courses at over 380 universities and colleges across the UK.
We also provide a wide range of research, consultancy and advisory services to schools, colleges, careers services, professional bodies, and employers, including apprenticeships. We’re a successful and fast-growing organisation, which helps hundreds of thousands of people every year.
We're committed to delivering a first-class service to all our customers — they're at the heart of everything we do.
Springpod enables young people to try a career or course before they apply. The UK's largest career and university experiential learning provider for young people, Springpod works with multinational companies and universities. We have supported 500,000 school students and enable young people to gain meaningful, high-quality experience through virtual programmes with universities and employers including Airbus, Siemens, Vodafone, Fujitsu, the NHS and many more.
Springpod is used by students at 4,000 schools in the UK, Ireland and the US.