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Young people walking onto campus
Young people walking onto campus at Birmingham

The Sir Josiah Mason Trust has been supporting the University’s Outreach programme for more than ten years. Most recently, their support has been directed towards the Academic Enrichment Programme (AEP), which supports gifted students from disadvantaged backgrounds who aspire to study at Russell Group universities by giving them a taster of University life.

The Trust is extremely special to the University; Victorian industrialist and philanthropist Sir Josiah Mason founded the Mason Science College in 1880, which later became the University of Birmingham. The Sir Josiah Mason Trust is focused on improving the lives of people living in the city.

Why we give

David Healey, Chief Executive of the Sir Josiah Mason Trust, says, ‘Sir Josiah Mason Trust and the University of Birmingham have a shared history and purpose which makes it even more amazing that our support today has enabled local young people who may not have had the same advantages as others to aspire and achieve so much.’

What the academic enrichment programme (AEP) offers young people

The AEP provides Year 12 students (16 to 17 years old) in the Greater West Midlands region the opportunity to experience first-hand what studying and living at a top university is like. Around 100 pupils take part in AEP each year. They stay for five days in the University halls of residence, attend academic sessions in an area of their interest, join social activities and have the opportunity to take a tour. A team of current undergraduate student ambassadors on hand to support with relevant academic support and advice.

The support of the Sir Josiah Mason Trust enables students to build their confidence, decision-making skills, self-esteem, determination and personal satisfaction – important transferable life-skills that improve quality of life and are important for all future careers.

The impact so far

Thanks to the Sir Josiah Mason Trust;

  • Over 300 students from disadvantaged backgrounds have taken part in the programme
  • Almost half went on to study at a Russell Group university. 
  • In 2020/21, over 80% of these students had no parental history of Higher Education, and nearly 80% of these students progressed to higher education after completing the programme.

Saffa says of her AEP experience, ‘Without the generosity of the Sir Josiah Mason Trust, I would not have been fortunate enough to have benefited from such a rewarding experience. I want to express my deepest thanks and appreciation for your support, and I am grateful and honoured to have been a recipient of it.’

Betty shares the difference it made in her life. She says, ‘My amazing experience has ultimately led to me becoming a happy student at a Russell Group University and given me such a strong foundation to build my future career path. I cannot thank the Sir Josiah Mason Trust enough in helping me to achieve this as I know Higher Education will now become a natural step in future generations in my family. It just takes one person to do something different before it becomes the norm. The Trust has allowed me to do this and I will forever be grateful.’

Find out how you could support young people like this

If you are inspired by the support of the Sir Josiah Mason Trust and everything they do to help young people overcome the challenges they face to get into University, get in touch to see whether supporting scholarships and access programmes like this could be right for you.