The Engineering Development Trust and Career Ready have teamed up to help open up the world of STEM for young people from lower-income backgrounds. Over the summer holidays, 24 young people from across the UK will receive no-cost places on the Headstart programme and experience what it's like to study a STEM subject at a top university. 

About Headstart 

Headstart enables young people to experience what it's really like to study a STEM subject and the reality of university life through a three-day placement. Where they will attend lectures, seminars, practical workshops, and experience what it's like to live on a university campus. 

Apply for Headstart 2020

Each placement for a Career Ready student is fully-funded by The Engineering Development Trust, ensuring that those from lower-income backgrounds are able to take part and benefit. 


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Placements for Career Ready students are taking place at: 

Find out more about The Engineering Development Trust. 

Why it's needed 

Young people from lower-income backgrounds are far less likely to attend top universities and more likely to drop-out once there. Headstart aims to fix this by providing young people with crucial experience of what it's like to study at a top university.  

Having the opportunity to sample university life can help students make the right choice for them when it comes to deciding their next steps in life, and provide them with crucial experience for their UCAS applications,  boosting their chances of being accepted by the UK's most selective universities. 

The Headstart experience can also ensure that they are better prepared - both academically and socially - when they do start university, helping to reduce the dropout rate among student from lower-income backgrounds. 

Only five per cent of disadvantaged young people enter the most selective HE institutions compared to the national average of 12 per cent. Once there, disadvantaged students are more likely to drop out than better-off peers. 

State of the Nation Report, 2018-19; The Social Mobility Commission

Apply for Headstart 2020

Hear from Headstart students

The opportunity to experience a week in the life of an engineering student will be invaluable in helping me decide what field of speciality to follow. It will also help me stand out on my UCAS application and, along with my other Career Ready activities, differentiate me from others.

Oliver Goodwin | Bishop Justus CoE School | Broad Based Engineering at the University of Oxford as part of Headstart

I am planning on getting a degree in science and then getting a postgraduate teaching qualification. Headstart will be highly beneficial for me as I’m still not sure whether to go to university or to try and find a degree level apprenticeship. It will also give me valuable experience that may help me decide which university to go to as well as improve my confidence.

Alexandra Rodgers | Longley Park Sixth Form College | Bio-Engineering at UCL as part of Headstart

I’m aspiring to be part of a world-class team of engineers in Formula 1. Headstart will help me greatly in my career. It will help me decide what I would like to study at university as I’m undecided. Secondly, spending a week at a top university and learning about what life entails will be a great experience for me and will look great on my CV and UCAS application. It will be an experience I will remember.

Dylan Anderson | South West College, Dungannon | Electronics at the University of Sheffield as part of Headstart

As a young woman aspiring to study a STEM-based degree at a Russell Group University, I’ve been seeking opportunities that will set me apart from other individuals, situations that will broaden my knowledge and experiences that will satisfy my scientific curiosity.  Headstart offers this unique experience while promising to develop my understanding of what studying at university entails. Meeting people with similar interests and the same passion for science will also be an added bonus.

Sumayya Ahmed | Luton Sixth Form College | Bio-Engineering at Queen Mary University of London as part of Headstart