The University Challenge – Higher Education Awareness

The University Challenge - HE Awareness 1

This presentation is the real story of the 2engage directors and how their journey started at school and the impact HE had their lives. Widening participation in higher education is a high priority for the UK government and many higher education institutions are aiming to address patterns of underrepresentation. Students can include those from low-income backgrounds, first-generation students, young carers, young people in care, students with a disability or from underrepresented ethnic backgrounds. ‘The University Challenge’ has been created to inform young people from a wide range of backgrounds about their higher education choices.


‘The University Challenge’ is a performed presentation which focuses on the journey from school to university. It is a fusion of comedy and storytelling which has reached in excess of 50,000 young people. We share the fears, excitement, highs and lows leading up to university; transforming what could have been a boring advice and guidance session into a digestible, fun and aspiration-raising experience. A good option for public events too!

Learning Objectives:

  1. Promote accessibility to higher education regardless of background or situation.
  2. Highlight the importance of continuing in education and lifelong learning.
  3. Inform students of the support networks available.
  4. Demonstrate that there is more to university than just academic studies.
  5. Illustrate the progression routes of education, from GCSE to university.
  6. Dispel myths and preconceptions about H.E.

PSCHE Core themes that this programme covers:

Health and Well-being

  • Recognising personal strengths and how affects self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Taking responsibility for physical health and personal hygiene
  • Importance of balancing work, leisure, exercise and sleep
  • Maintaining a healthy diet on a budget
  • Managing being new, fitting in and making friends


  • Role peers can play in supporting one another
  • Managing pressure

Living in the Wider World

  • How strengths, interests, skills and qualities are changing and relate to future employability
  • Accessing support
  • Further develop study and employability skills
  • Range of opportunities available for career progression (education, training and employment)
  • Managing financial decisions
  • Budgeting
  • Understanding debt (student)
  • Matching career to personal interests, attributes and skills
  • Further and higher education, training and apprenticeships

“I thought the whole event was great, the drama presentation was especially brilliant in the way it inspired the students to come and talk to the universities, it also had us in stitches. I was busy from the end of the show till way after closing time! More 16 year olds need to see this show. Fantastic acting and great fun.”
Karen Mitchells
University Outreach, Manchester Business School

“The drama was great. All the university representatives were impressed with them and they got the idea of Higher Education across in a really entertaining way. The students that did attend were much more focused and asked some really good questions afterwards.”
Christine Oldham
Widening Participation, Manchester boroughs Coordinator

“The Manchester high schools who hosted ‘The University Challenge’ were full of praise for the performance and felt it was pitched appropriately for the Year 9 learners, who were embarking on choosing their options. I can thoroughly recommend 2engage and look forward to them coming to our schools again
Les Barrett
Creative Industries Coordinator, Northwest.

"I have seen ‘The University Challenge’ on a number of occasions now for a range of different year groups, and every time the performance has been received extremely well by the students. Ed and Phil strike a perfect balance between being informative and laugh-out-loud funny during the performance. It is a great way to educate students about university in a fun and engaging format!"
Sian Colley
National Collaborative Outreach Programme Hub Officer, Higher Horizons and Keele Hub

At A Glance

Age Group: Years 8 -13
Key Stage: KS3 & 4
Duration: 50 mins
Group Size: 5-300
Resource Pack: No
Follow Up Workshop: Available on request

Question and answer session is optional post show but usually done.