Educational success has long been acknowledged as one of those opportunities. And yet the barriers for care-experienced young people entering and staying in education can be significant. Frequent changes of placements or schools, combined with emotional or mental health difficulties can have a detrimental impact on their prospects.  

However research suggests that with the right additional support in place, these young people can achieve in accordance with their peers. They are highly motivated, but information and advice about the options open to them has, until recently, been lacking.

The Propel project was conceived by Become - and delivered by Fluent - in order to address some of these shortfalls.

At its core, Propel is a searchable directory of educational institutions’ pastoral and financial provision for care leavers. One of the clever things about the search is that it allows visitors to free type by course or location, without having to pick a category first. The search is powered by data gathered from Unistats and Become. Both data sources have been built into the Umbraco CMS, doing away with the need for a separate database.

Become Propel website homepage image, a Fluent web design project.

It’s the most comprehensive resource of its kind in the UK

Propel invites care leavers to compare the support offered by different universities and further education colleges, including the availability of 365 day accommodation, additional financial support on offer and whether the institution has a member of staff responsible for supporting care leavers.

We chose to work with Fluent because we felt they really got us and what we were trying to do with this project – and the proof of that is in the fantastic site that the team have built.
Become charity logo image - a website and software development partnership with Fluent
Natasha Finlayson
Chief Executive, Become

But it’s so much more than a directory

A key part of the brief was that Propel should help inspire young people from care backgrounds into higher education and help them make an informed choice about what and where to study. (Many young people study close to home above simply because it’s easier for their local authorities to manage, and end up dropping out).

This meant introducing ways for prospective students to discover new courses and institutions that they may not have even thought about before visiting Propel.

Randomised quick links on the homepage encourage visitors to browse courses and institutions.  Inspiring case studies featuring care leavers who are thriving in higher education help reinforce the main message of the site: just because you come from a different background doesn’t mean you should expect any less.

Become charity Propel website search results page, a Fluent project

Natasha Finlayson, Chief Executive of Become, said:

“We chose to work with Fluent because we felt they really got us and what we were trying to do with this project – and the proof of that is in the fantastic site that the team have built.

"The website sets out exactly what institutions say they provide for care leavers, enabling young people to factor this into their decision about where to apply.

“But Propel is about so much more than information alone. It seeks first and foremost to inspire and encourage young care leavers.  With Propel, we’re aiming to put the power back in these young people’s hands and give them the opportunity to see that higher education is within their reach.”

The Fluent team at the Propel website launch event photo

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