Aspiring students benefit from first class speakers

As part of the Aspire Programme, both current students and those who’ve applied to start at Worthing College in September have benefited from listening to exceptional speakers, such as Sir Christopher Hum KMCG, former UK Ambassador to China and alumni of the college Jonathan Mayo, Author and BBC TV & Radio Producer.

At the beginning of March, Students looking to join the college in September were invited to an event to learn about the benefits of the Aspire Programme. The Aspire Programme is designed to offer additional support and guidance to all students who are thinking about applying for places on competitive degrees, often within Russell Group Universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Leeds. As well as listening to our current students share their experience of how the Aspire Programme has helped them, the audience got to hear from two of our alumni, Dr Sulagna Roy and Jonathan Mayo.

Dr Sulagna Roy spoke about her journey studying medicine at Solent University, giving general guidance on how to apply through different access routes and her top tips for thriving through university. Jonathan Mayo, BBC Producer and popular history author, spoke about careers in Media Production and Writing and how your career path can take many avenues.

A week later, 150 of our students listened to a lecture delivered by Sir Christopher Hum entitled; 'Will China rule the World?' We were able to access such a high profile speaker through the charity ‘Speakers for Schools’ set up by ITV’s Political Editor Robert Peston.

Students studying a variety of A Level subjects including, History, Politics, Economics and Geography, joined the regular Aspire Programme group, to hear about Sir Christopher’s personal perspective of living and working in China as it underwent a rapid rise in both its political and economic power.

He explored the impact this rise has had on China’s position in the world, the development of its infrastructure and the effect this has had on the Chinese people. He described how many citizens are now very wealthy, with a growing middle class who travel extensively yet still have to conform to the control wielded by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). He outlined how the CCP use technology to operate a social credit system to control people’s behaviour. This includes restricting access to the internet and monitoring what people say on social media.

In summary, Sir Christopher does not believe that China will rule the world, ‘it has enough to do to continue its control of what is going on within their own borders’.

Our Vice-Chair of Governors, Roy Bowden, who attended the lecture was impressed by both the response from the students in terms of their questions and by the speaker himself saying, ‘we need more speakers of this calibre and I can’t thank Sir Christopher enough for taking his time to volunteer and benefit our students understanding of the world’

Upon retiring from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Sir Christopher took up his next challenge when he was elected Master of Gonville and Caius College Cambridge. Sir Christopher also took time with a smaller group of students from the Aspire Programme to dispel some of the myths around applying to Oxford and Cambridge. His key message was very clear, 'These universities are looking for students to apply from any background who can demonstrate an absolute passion and deep understanding for their subject, those who go beyond what they have learned in the classroom.'

We are delighted to announce that our current Aspire students are already holding offers for next year from a range of Russell Group universities including, Oxford, Bristol, Southampton, Leeds, Exeter, Liverpool, UCL and Kings College London to read a diverse range of subjects including Mathematics, Biology, Psychology, Law, Music, Chemistry, Politics, Ancient History and Drama.

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