About Make Happen


We unlock opportunities for young people across Essex by helping them make informed choices about their education and future.

Based at the University of Essex, we’re part of the Office for Students’ Uni Connect programme (formerly NCOP). We’re one of 29 national partnerships that bring together teachers from schools and colleges, with universities and other local educational partners, to offer activities, advice and information on the benefits and realities of going to university or college, to study a degree or take a degree apprenticeship.

This is with a particular focus on areas where participation in higher education is lower than might be expected, given the GCSE results of the young people who live there. We are also dedicated to supporting school students’ exploration of the world of work and career progression.

We’re a team of 20 higher education and outreach professionals, some of us have a background in teaching, with extensive experience of working in the higher education sector. We welcome students at schools and colleges across Essex to chat to us and ask any questions you might have about going to university.

By 2020 we had reached more than 75,000 students across the county of Essex through our activities. These have ranged from university taster days to mentoring programmes, and study skills workshops to aspirational careers programmes.

In 2021 we’re continuing to deliver a varied programme of activities to the same partner schools and colleges – with all of our work being supported by continuous evaluation of our programme’s effectiveness.


Here’s what some students attending our workshops have said: 

“This was an amazing experience and helped me understand the finance behind university and being a student” 

“It was nice to hear from people that have been to uni, and having realistic approaches to uni. It made me worry less and understand the whole concept”

“I found the budget handling activity very useful and it gave me a good reality check!”

“These sessions have enlightened me about higher education and about my future and also these sessions have helped me be able to mentor myself as well as others”

“It has encouraged me to make time for things that are important and to have a time to also have fun, to a find a balance between work and play”

“The people were lovely and made me feel very comfortable about my decisions”

“I thought the uni talks were very good at alleviating common fears and misconceptions about uni”      

The sessions taught me how to revise properly and stay on track”


Feedback from teachers we’ve worked with:

“Make Happen have been invaluable to the success of our careers programme… constantly ensuring we are hitting the Gatsby Benchmarks” Head of Careers

“So much support is provided to help raise the aspirations of young people and this has huge benefits, even if they ultimately do not end up attending university” Head of Sixth Form

“If you’re not involved with Make Happen you are certainly missing great opportunities for staff and students” Head of Careers


Partner organisations that we work with