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What is Inspiring Futures?

The University of Chester has an Access and Participation Plan in place which sets out our commitment to the Office for Students (OfS), the independent regulator of higher education in England, to provide under-represented groups with equal opportunities to access, succeed and progress from higher education, by eliminating inequalities and therefore achieving successful and rewarding careers. 

Inspiring Futures is an exclusive programme of additional careers related activities and support, provided by Careers and Employability, Student Futures, which is available to current full-time and part-time undergraduate, home-fee paying students from under-represented groups.  Inspiring Futures has been established to address the particular needs of these students, supporting them to achieve lifelong success.

Are you eligible?

To be eligible to apply for careers related activities and support through Inspiring Futures, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Be in receipt of the University of Chester Bursary or Care Leaver Bursary 
  • Be in receipt of the Sanctuary Scholarship or the Estranged Students Support Package
  • Be a Young Carer 
  • Have a declared disability
  • Be a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic  (BAME) student
  • Have a postcode which fits into a POLAR4 area ?

What’s involved?

Inspiring Futures enables eligible students to get involved in:

  • Industry Insights - an opportunity to get involved in a programme of visits to employers in cities other than Chester.  By participating you will:
    • develop your knowledge and understanding of different industry sectors
    • gain a greater awareness of employers' recruitment and selection processes
    • increase your confidence and success when applying for graduate roles
  • Assessment Centre Simulation - an opportunity to take part in an assessment centre day and to gain a Level 3 AQA accreditation in Employability Skills.  By participating you will:
    • gain a greater awareness and understanding of assessment centre processes and activities
    • increase your confidence in your ability to perform effectively at assessment centres
    • develop your confidence and success when applying for internship opportunities or graduate roles

Participating in Industry Insights or an Assessment Centre Simulation will earn you 1 point towards The Chester Difference Award

  • Inspiring Futures Internships - an opportunity for current students from under-represented groups to undertake a 175-hour paid internship opportunity within an SME organisation.  By participating you will:
    • be provided with application and interview support in order to increase the success of your internship application
    • increase your knowledge and understanding of different industry sectors and job roles to aid future career planning and decision making
    • develop your confidence and increase your success when applying for graduate roles in the future
  • The European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) is an industry recognised qualification designed specifically for those who:
    • want to gain a basic qualification in computing
    • wish to demonstrate their competence in computer skills in their current position or to develop their skills in order to enhance their career prospects
    • would like to undertake an IT qualification for general interest.
  • Key benefits for gaining the ECDL qualification include:
    • raising your general level of competency in IT and computer skills
    • improving your productivity at home and at work
    • providing you with an industry recognised qualification
    • enhancing your employment prospects

To get a feel for what the ECDL involves you can review the training materials for each module via the LIS pages on Portal.

  • There are three choices for gaining the ECDL qualification at the University of Chester which include:
    • signing up to one of our 15-week training courses.  These courses are two hours per week and will cover all of the seven modules, including tests, (recommended for IT beginners)
    • Please note current students should contact the IT Training Team directly to book onto the 15-week course.  Please view the timetable, to see when sessions are running, via the LIS pages on Portal.  You would need to state which group you would like to join, however please be aware that places are limited so you may not be granted your first choice of group.
    • accessing the modules that you require further training in and sitting the tests when able (recommended for IT intermediate users)signing up to sit the tests only (recommended for IT advanced users).

For questions, more information or to express an interest in starting the ECDL qualification, please contact the IT Training Team by emailing

Completing the ECDL will earn you 2 point towards The Chester Difference Award.

As a precautionary measure LIS will suspend all current ECDL and Advanced ECDL training courses, including resits for the foreseeable future, due to Covid-19.

However, you can study ECDL online, but you would need to come over to CLRB 21 to take your test, as we offer manual testing only.

We apologise for the inconvenience, and will be in touch when we have a revised timetable, which we hope will be in the not too distant future.

  • ASPIRE - an opportunity for new full time Level 4 home undergraduate students (paying a tuition fee of over £6,000) and to continuing students at Level 4 whose programme has included a Foundation Year, who have a means tested household income of less that £25,000.  The fund is non-repayable, with a maximum award of £100 per person.  To apply for funding through ASPIRE click here

Not sure if you are eligible?  Email

  • The Futures Employability Fund - an opportunity for eligible students to apply for up to £500 towards their future career. To apply for funding through the FEF click here
  • The Santander Entrepreneurship Fund (SEF) - an opportunity for students from under-represented groups to carry out activities, purchase items or gain office space to enhance their enterprise skills, to help build their freelance career or to help them to start up a business.  The fund is non-repayable, with a maximum award of £250 per person.  To apply for funding through the SEF click here

To access a 15-minute bookable appointment to discuss any activity in the Inspiring Futures Programme click here

  • Guidance Appointments – Uncertain about your career ideas, need help skilling up or ready to make plans? Guidance Appointments are an opportunity to book a 45 minute appointment with one of our Career Consultants.  This could involve meeting with a named Career Consultant each time (please note this will be arranged wherever possible, however this may result in a slight delay in you being seen).  Click here to book an appointment
  • Career Chats – an opportunity to book a 15 minute appointment to discuss your CV, personal statement and job application.  Career Chats are available every week day, between 10am - 12pm and 2pm - 4pm. Click here to book an appointment

Additional Resources

If you’re a disabled student or graduate looking for support in finding a job, you can contact Scope by calling 0300 222 5742 or by emailing ​

Careers & Employability partner with MyPlus Students’ Club who provide students and graduates with disabilities with the connections, job opportunities and advice to enable you to confidently navigate the recruitment process at a range of top employers and organisations. Further details are here

Contact Information

Inspiring Futures - Careers and Employability