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Guest Blog: The Access Project

Posted on 2 Mar 2014

Our mission at The Access Project is to help motivated students from disadvantaged backgrounds win places at top universities. We do this by matching students with volunteer tutors for weekly academic tutorials. These academic sessions help our students achieve better grades and progress to top universities.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our volunteers, students on The Access Project achieve on average two-thirds of a grade more progress than their peers. So for Student Volunteering Week we wanted to celebrate the incredible efforts of a few of our post-graduate volunteers. If you’re inspired by their stories, we’d love you to get involved. Visit our website to find out more about volunteering as a tutor.


Katherine Oliver is a PhD candidate at University College London (UCL). She’s been volunteering with The Access Project since 2013.

What made you first get involved with The Access Project?

I started tutoring with The Access Project after one of my friends and colleagues recommended the scheme. I liked the idea of helping students who have the drive to do well but are not necessarily given the opportunities they need to realise their potential.

What do you enjoy most about tutoring?

The most enjoyable thing about tutoring is helping the student reach the answer on their own, and seeing their confidence grow each week. There’s no pressure from peers and no fear of getting the answer wrong so it’s a great learning environment.

What’s been your most memorable moment so far?

My most memorable moment tutoring so far was when my first tutee received an A* in his GCSE Chemistry exam. He worked really hard both at school and for our tutorials, and obviously had a genuine interest in the subject!


Sian Williams is a PhD candidate at Imperial College London. She has also been volunteering since 2013.

What made you first get involved with The Access Project?

I worked as a teacher for a year before starting my PhD and I knew it was something that I wanted to carry on with during my studies. Another PhD student in my research group (Ali) started with The Access Project a few months before me and I thought it sounded like a great organisation. I would definitely recommend it to anyone doing a PhD, it’s a highlight of my week.

What do you enjoy most about tutoring?

I really enjoy tutoring Abdul, I always leave our tutorials in the best mood. It’s great to see him progress during our tutorials and week to week, going from shrugging about some topics to being able to explain them really well.

What’s been your most memorable moment so far?

A few months ago I had a bit of a nag about the state of Abdul’s notes that he was coming to our tutorials with. They were all over the place, very sparse and incredibly messy. He didn’t show me but the next week I could see that he had been keeping much more detailed notes and they were really neat – he had been underlining titles and drawing better diagrams. Last week he even asked me where I bought my coloured pens from! It’s a bit silly but really made me smile.

Laurie Martin

Laurie is the Programme and Communications Coordinator for The Access Project

Categories: Charities