07.03.18 | Press

Aspire to HE ‘tHEy Did, You Can’ campaign heads to Telford College

High profile University of Wolverhampton students and Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council back campaign to encourage more youngsters to consider going to University.

Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council, Cllr Shaun Davies joined Olympic Gymnast and 2012 medallist, Kristian Thomas for an interactive question and answer session with students from Telford College on Wednesday 19 October.

The pair, along with professional boxer Lauren Johnson, Great Britain Rhythmic Gymnast, Meme Cesar, British Junior Judo Champion, Kelly Peterson-Pollard, and England Indoor Cricketer, Ali Tariq, are each heading to schools and colleges across the Black Country and Telford and Wrekin in the coming weeks to share a clear message; all young people should be aiming high and consider university.

The guest lessons and question and answer sessions all focus on their career paths to date and experience at University as part of the ‘They Did- You Can’ campaign.

As part of the campaign the Leader of Telford and Wrekin Council, Cllr Shaun Davies, and former Great Britain Olympic Gymnast and current University of Wolverhampton student, Kristian Thomas, delivered a powerful question and answer session with students at Telford College. The well-received  session focused on the various highs and lows of their careers to date and what they have learnt from them, how they have built resilience to help them throughout their professional careers, and the why they chose to go to University.

The campaign organised by Aspire to HE – a partnership funded through the government’s National Collaborative Outreach Programme and led by the University of Wolverhampton to support the government’s aims of doubling the number of young people from ‘disadvantaged backgrounds’ to higher education by 2020. The Aspire to HE partnership is made up of the University of Wolverhampton working in partnership with six further education colleges and over forty secondary schools to support informed, ambitious decision making with regard to higher education.


Image Title: Leader of Telford and Wrekin Council, Cllr Shaun Davies, and former Great Britain Olympic Gymnast and current University of Wolverhampton student, Kristian Thomas

The two week ‘tHEy did; you can’ campaign formally launched at City of Wolverhampton College on Tuesday 10 October 2017 where guest teachers taking part over the two weeks led a joint session with City of Wolverhampton College students sharing their professional journeys to date and their experiences in higher education. 

Guest teachers will be heading out to different schools and colleges across Telford and Wrekin and the Black Country to share that common message with young people that they went on to succeed in higher education and there is no reason why others cannot do the same.

Kristian Thomas said: ‘It was a real honour to be approached by Aspire to HE to be part of their ‘tHEy did; you can’ campaign. Growing up locally, I know the importance of having role models and someone who can show you what is possible. I worked hard to achieve what I did in sport and am continuing to work hard at the University of Wolverhampton to support the next phase of my professional life. There’s absolutely no reason why these young people cannot do the same’.

Councillor Shaun Davies, one of the UK’s youngest council leaders, said:

“I’m from an ordinary background in Telford and was the first member of my family to go to university. I hope that my story can help show that with support from organisations such as the Council and other partners, young people can achieve their goals.

“Through initiatives like our Job Box programme we’re helping many young people to do this whether it’s getting the qualification, training or skills they need. Mix a young person’s ambition and drive with the right support, you create a very powerful mix.”