Often the experiences students have at university beyond their degrees can have a profound effect on their lives in years to come. Volunteering and extra-curricular activities build confidence, develop new skills, and encourage networking with new people. These are some of the opportunities donor funding supports at Warwick.
From chess clubs in local schools to supporting rough sleepers, Warwick Volunteering projects have a significant impact on the local area, and provide Warwick students with valuable experiences that inform their careers and change their perspectives.
Josh Rawcliffe, former student president of Warwick Volunteers, is particularly proud of the Cheylsemore Good Neighbours project, which provides weekly drop-in sessions to support older residents of the Coventry suburb with IT issues – from how to organise photos on their phone to setting up a printer. For Josh, the best part of his role is “seeing happy faces, and realising Warwick students had that impact.” With your support, we can ensure more amazing projects like this are funded and scaled up for maximum impact.
Warwick in Africa
In 2006, a few students set out on a small volunteering project with the aim of teaching English and Maths in a South African school. Today we run a multi-layered programme helping learners and their teachers across South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana and Kenya. Education is a direct route to liberation from poverty, and as the programme approaches its 15th anniversary, over 750,000 learners teachers and Warwick students have benefitted.
The programme supports three groups. Our student volunteers spend six weeks in classrooms helping teachers to deliver inspiring teaching, which helps them to develop and consolidate key skills. The learners see their Maths and English test results improve as a result of this additional support, and teachers in the schools are given the opportunity to participate in training workshops which boost retention and ensure the impact of the programme is far-reaching and sustainable.
In 2019 Mustafa, a Warwick student, went to Agona East to work with a school and support their Maths classroom learning. Like many Warwick students who take part, Mustafa was surprised by how much the experience developed him as a person. His confidence, adaptability and diplomacy have all improved during his time on the programme. As he put it: “I am coming out of the programme more motivated than ever to improve myself – this motivation comes from seeing the lives of the learners, and their determination to succeed.”
Warwick Enterprise is a University department committed to improving our students’ educations through entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity. We support multiple student societies that provide help and guidance for students in different ways. For example Warwick Entrepreneurs helps those with an idea to grow it into a fully-fledged business, and Enactus Warwick supports the development of innovative social enterprises.
We also offer numerous development opportunities for students including free access to an online Warwick Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme (WIEP), numerous events across the year with inspirational speakers, and through the annual employment of six Innovation Fellows. These Fellows are current students who help to promote a culture of innovation for all on campus. They have a varied role that includes tasks such as organising meet-ups, contributing to national dialogue, and recruiting and guiding other students through the WIEP.
Support continues for graduates. Made possible by donors, our Graduate Accelerator Programme is tailored to supporting the unique needs of graduate entrepreneurs. The programme provides an exciting opportunity for five business teams to develop their entrepreneurial skills, test, launch and pitch their business ideas to industry buyers within 12-months. By the end, students are well equipped to translate their ideas into an early stage venture.
Work experience bursaries and internships
At Warwick, we want to ensure that all students have access to all industries, even those that do not traditionally offer work experience or internships. Our team work hard to identify opportunities and offer hundreds of these every year, supported by donor-funded bursaries. With these funds, students can think more about the careers they want to pursue and the experience they need – and worry less about the finances required.
It was an amazing way to spend my summer - I earned money and gained relevant experience, which is practically unheard of in my sector. The entire process and experience was a huge boost to me personally and professionally.
Summer internship participant
Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS)
The Undergraduate Research Support Scheme enables undergraduate students to carry out an interdisciplinary summer research project. The scheme is open to any undergraduate student at Warwick. Applicants must get the support of academic supervisor and can apply for a URSS bursary to undertake their research project, either in the UK or abroad, for between six and 10 weeks.
“For my URSS project I researched black feminist activism in the UK and Berlin. The project combined interviews with photography to capture and explore how black women and non-binary people are empowering themselves and others. The project was exciting, and I met inspiring feminist activists creating change and challenging inequality in their societies.
I found the URSS experience extremely rewarding. Without this programme I would not have been able to conduct this project, particularly at this scale. Since undertaking this research, I have had so many fantastic opportunities.
My work for this project has since appeared in print publications including gal-dem and Afropunk. I have presented my research at conferences and events, and my work has been exhibited, including at a solo exhibition I created for the Women of Colour Europe conference that was held in Berlin in October.
I thoroughly enjoyed the URSS experience and gained so much from the programme. I have increased my skills in everything from research methods, to creating and presenting research, to communicating research to different audiences to organisation and time-management.”