Ignite Your Spark

Transition Logo - Ignite your SparkWe appreciate that the transition into university can come with challenges and that these challenges will look differently depending on a student’s background and life experiences.

The Ignite Your Spark programme at the University of Suffolk is a brand-new programme launching in Summer 2024 which has been designed to support students who are transitioning into their undergraduate studies with us through to the end of their first year. The programme aims to enhance the overall student experience and encourage student success in their studies and student life, through a range of support and activities including:

  • Ignite Your Spark Preparing for University July event (TBC online or in-person) and September (in-person, on campus)
  • Welcome induction activities
  • 1-1 coaching with dedicated staff member and peer group mentoring opportunities
  • 1-1 appointments with in-house careers and academic services
  • Bespoke workshops to enhance employability and networking skills
  • Academic skills review and workshops specifically tailored to need and course
  • Pre-induction guidance from course leaders
  • Regular/monthly social events
  • Student participation fund
  • Signposting and guidance on how to access support services

Ignite Your Spark

Students on Ipswich Waterfront

Meet our dynamic Transition team

Aimee Hayes

Aimee is an Access and Participation Officer and has a wealth of experience working with young and vulnerable people in a variety of settings.

Aimee Hayes staff profile photo

Charlotte Imlach

Charlotte's Access and Participation Officer (Transition).

Charlotte Imlach staff profile photo

For enquiries, please contact: transition-support@uos.ac.uk


This programme is for full time, first year undergraduate students from one or more of the backgrounds listed below. Students must be home-fee status, based at the Ipswich Campus. Students must identify with one or more of the priority groups listed below to be eligible for the programme:

  • Students whose home address is a IMD Q1 Postcodes (area of deprivation)
  • Students that have received free school meals (FSM) at any point in their education
  • Global Majority Students (a person who does not consider themselves or is not considered as white)
  • Students who are estranged from their parents and/or family
  • Students with care experience (anyone who has spent time in care)

Please note: Indices of multiple deprivation (IMD) is a measure of relative deprivation for geographical areas in the UK. IMD defines these areas into five quintiles (IMDQ1-5) based on relative disadvantaged. Office for Students and universities in the UK uses this classification in order to identify and better support students who live in IMDQ1 postcodes, and who therefore may encounter more barriers when accessing, attending and succeeding in Higher Education. Source: Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) Bath University Lookup Guide & English indices of deprivation 2019: Postcode Lookup.

How to Apply 

Please fill in our application form.

Student Stories

Oliver Cranmer, First year photography student Can you tell me about your journey to studying at University of Suffolk?

Before deciding to study at the University of Suffolk, I had struggled to find paid employment. I had completed a traineeship and did some occasional volunteering.  I was out of paid employment, searching for work and I was struggling to find something suitable. 

I was at a job fair in September 2022 at the Novotel in Ipswich, where I came across the University of Suffolk stand and saw on their banner that they did Photography. I'd considered the university a few times over the last 5 or 6 years, but didn't know they did Photography which is my passion. I finished my A-levels in 2016 but had continued Photography in my own time as a hobby and after speaking to Aimee (Access and Participation Officer) I considered it as an option. 

Having previously attended a different university where I studied a different subject and wasn't offered the right support, my mum and I were concerned that I might not cope again. Aimee assured us both that we could visit campus before making any decisions. My mum and I ended up visiting the Uni on two separate occasions where we met two of the Photography academics and toured the photography facilities and wider campus. I also met with a member of the disability and wellbeing team to talk about the additional support available to me to support my needs. I was also encouraged to attend an open day, which I did, and I took my portfolio with me to show the Photography team who were impressed and complimentary. 

When it came to applying, I was reassured by the Photography team that the interview process would be informal and when I found some of the aspects of the UCAS applications challenging, the student life team were supportive and went through it with my mum and I in-person. I also had support with my personal statement and advice on the interview process and portfolio requirements. 

It’s been reassuring to see that the support has been much better for me whilst studying here at the University of Suffolk. I am enjoying my course and have had support whenever I have had any difficult moments. 

What support have you received from the University during your transition into and throughout your first year of study?

Due to my disabilities, I have experienced support from a range of teams at the university, from making the decision to apply, the application and interview process through to regular, weekly face to face support sessions since starting. My tutors have adjusted to my needs and I have the support of a fantastic note taker. The weekly sessions I have are a good opportunity to discuss how my week has been and to get any help and support on my assignments when needed.

As I went through my first semester, I was introduced the Student Life mentors who were able to support me in a variety of ways including with library processes and on photo shoots for a documentary project for my course. In my first semester, I was given the support of notetakers in my lectures to save me writing notes, so I can focus on listening to the tutor. 

Overall, I’ve had some great support from the various support teams at the university when I’ve needed it. All of which I appreciate as my concern with going back to university, was whether I was going to cope. It’s been reassuring to see that the support has been much better this time here at the University Of Suffolk. 

Did you find anything particularly helpful?

The extra support from my notetaker, Samantha, has been invaluable for assignments and other general tasks that I’ve needed assistance with. She’s also available to contact via Microsoft teams which has been a great help when I have a question or concerns.  

If you could give advice to a new student starting at the University that may face additional barriers in their learning, what would it be?

My biggest piece of advice is to start an assignment as soon as possible as soon as it's given. I’ve made this mistake of leaving them till later in the semester  and then had to play catch up which I've found stressful, resulting in me in applying for extensions, which I’m automatically entitled to thankfully as part of my reasonable adjustments because of my disability. This semester, my aim has been to start my assignments in plenty of time so I don't have to request any extensions. 

"I can't thank Aimee, Charlotte and Belle enough because they've taken the pressure off of me as Oliver's Mum because his previous experience at the other university was a nightmare. Oliver now has the confidence to do things by himself which he would never have done this before" Oliver's Mum

Photo credit: Tyegan Slaymaker

"It’s been reassuring to see that the support has been much better for me whilst studying here at the University Of Suffolk. I am enjoying my course and have had support whenever I have had any difficult moments."

Oliver Cranmer, first year Photography student