Shaping Futures, (also known as the Merseyside Collaborative Outreach Programme) is an outreach programme for the Liverpool City Region formed by 12 local Higher Education (HE) providers and led by the University of Liverpool. The full list of HE/FE providers which form Shaping Futures is:

Funded by the Office for Students (OfS), the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) aims to boost higher education (HE) participation rates in the most disadvantaged areas in England. NCOP consists of 29 partnerships of universities, colleges and other local partners across England (available on the OfS website). The role of each consortia is to deliver targeted outreach to young people in years 9 to 13 as well as provide support and signposting to schools, colleges and the wider community.

The overall NCOP aims are:

(1) Reduce the gap in HE participation between the most and least represented groups;
(2) Support young people to make well-informed decisions about their future education;
(3) Support effective and impactful local collaboration by HE providers working together with schools, colleges, employers and other partners;
(4) Contribute to a stronger evidence base around ‘what works’ in HE outreach and strengthen evaluation practice in the sector.

Shaping Future is the Merseyside partnership and has adopted an information and guidance model of service delivery, providing impartial higher education-related activities and progression advice to target learners in 43 priority secondary schools and across partner further education/sixth form colleges. The activities delivered aim to increase understanding and aspiration of choices at KS3, KS4, post-16 and HE level. Additionally, the aim is to broaden knowledge of higher education industry sectors and related opportunities available whilst offering support with the Higher Education application process. Shaping Futures also operates a HE outreach hub – offering a signposting service to all secondary schools and colleges in the Liverpool city region.



Number of activities delivered



Hours working with students