In collaboration with Essex Collaborative Outreach network, the Mackman team has recently worked on a campaign called Make Happen. The campaign aimed to help students across Essex take control of their future and Make Happen!

The Make Happen campaign involved running workshops in schools throughout November and December 2016. These workshops aimed to empower young people from under-represented groups to find out what they can make happen for their future. Alongside understanding the skills they would need to achieve this.

Youngsters from Years 9 and 11 across Essex left the workshops with a clearer understanding of the skills they have. As well as learning how they can make their goals a reality.

Make Happen was devised by Mackman and the Essex Collaborative Outreach Network (ECON). The school workshops were delivered by PurePotential and Kamal Ellis-Hyman. Kamal is one of the UK’s youngest professional speakers, a previous Olympic torch bearer and Peter Jones Entrepreneur of the Year.

Teachers praised Kamal’s connection with the students and how the Make Happen campaign inspired them to consider their future options in a different, more relevant way.

Amelia Gabriel, Managing Director of Pure Potential, said: “Students are not always given a chance to reflect on their skills and interests and think about how they might convert them into a job they will enjoy and excel in. It is the creative, practical and personal approach to the workshops that has made the campaign successful.”

As part of the campaign, Mackman designed a website platform providing facts about university. The website hosted videos that showed different people’s experiences while studying. It is also a portal to help students, teachers and parents  learn more about university life. View the Make Happen campaign website here.

Campaign impact

At the end of the campaign, Make Happen reached 678 students across Essex, of which:

  • 79% said they had a clearer idea of the subject they wanted to study after school
  • 81% understood more about the support available
  • 76% felt more knowledgeable about student life
  • 86% would recommend Make Happen to their friends

Make Happen comes at a time where university attendance among disadvantaged groups is slowing down. Although at a record high, it is still significantly lower than those from a more affluent background, according to UCAS.

Clare Ruffle, now Arts Education Officer at University of Essex who took a lead role in launching the campaign explained: “Make Happen has become a movement to encourage young people to take control of their future and make informed choices. We want to reach young people who may not have access to that kind of information, or don’t believe University is for them. We want to show that anyone can Make Happen.”

Our Brand and Communications Manager, Natasha said: “Crucially, ‘Make Happen’ gave Essex Collaborative Outreach Network’s campaign a brand identity, a voice that speaks to students who are at this important stage in their lives. It champions those who against the odds, get out there and make it happen. It’s a practical, energising and confident message that reminds students, University really could be the start of something big.”

What the schools had to say about the campaign

Clare Pipe, Work Related Careers Co-ordinator at Alec Hunter School in Braintree:
“Students who took part in the workshops left feeling incredibly positive. They said that Make Happen made them realise the skills and qualities they have and the simple steps they can take to achieve their goals. They felt more positive about the future and inspired enough to realise they can achieve anything they want to.”

“I would definitely welcome Make Happen back to the school, and have already recommended the workshops to other schools in the area.”

Deborah Cudmore, Alternative Education Teacher at St Benedict’s College in Colchester:
“Make Happen made students think about possibilities in a different way. Instead of considering what subjects they want to go on to study, they were encouraged to think about what they enjoy doing and what they are good at.”

“As a result of Government changes, current students are often left without the opportunity for work experience placements and proper careers advice. Make Happen was a positive workshop that made them think realistically about their future, but in a positive and exciting way.”

Geoff Towsey, Careers Adviser at West Hatch High School in Chigwell:
“Careers and university discussions can be tricky and hard to engage students in, but Make Happen was able to do just that. The speaker was really good – to get the students thinking excitedly about their strengths and weaknesses and what they can achieve was amazing.”

“There was also a buzz around what Make Happen actually means. During the drop in session after the workshop, you could hear students discussing it.”

Julie Hilliker, Business and Enterprise Manager at The Appleton School in Benfleet:
“For me, the concept of Make Happen was really good. I really liked the fact the workshop got the students thinking about their future in a different way. The speaker was entertaining and made the students look at their strengths instead of subjects and choices. They left thinking about what they could potentially achieve. I would definitely like to see Make Happen return to Appleton School.”

Ed Hawking, an Assistant Head at The Sweyne Park School in Rayleigh:
“The marketing for the Make Happen campaign was really clever. Often, it’s difficult to get students to think about career choices. Other than those that they’re already familiar with because of family and friends. Make Happen really helped them see beyond this. Students were encouraged to start with what they like and what they’re good at. This then enabled them research the career options that are possible from there. It was genuinely excellent.”

Regional coverage of the campaign

The campaign made some real noise across the region, view some of the press coverage below: