Case Study:

Widening Participation at University of Plymouth

Workshop: Speak Forward!

About Them

Widening Participation at the University of Plymouth is a programme that focuses on providing relevant information about higher education opportunities and raising the aspirations of student groups that are traditionally under-represented in Higher Education.

What We Did

A fully interactive 5-day programme that increased the confidence of students preparing for the world of work. Through a combination of confidence-building activities, 1:1 sessions and personal advice we guided students through their concerns and confusion about the next stages in their lives. This included traineeships, college, HE, or simply by answering the question ‘how do I go about all of this?’. During the process they gained newfound confidence and understanding as well as a nationally accredited English Speaking Board qualification in ESB Speech for Employability Level 2 Grade 4.

The Results

77% reported an increase in their confidence speaking in public.
100% pass rate.
84% felt more confident.
84% felt they could present information more effectively.
78% understood better how to communicate using different methods such as tone of voice, body language and gestures.
68% felt more confident in a face to face interview situation.
68% felt they could speak more confidently on the telephone in a professional situation.
52% felt better able to research future career options.

Teacher’s reported that after 1 month:
48% of students used Standard English more confidently in a range of formal and informal contexts, including classroom discussion.
44% of students improved in the way they delivered short speeches and presentations.
39% of students expressed their own ideas and kept to the point better.
35% of students participated better in formal debates and structured discussions.
46% of students were happier to improvise, rehearse and perform play scripts / poetry.
32% of students were better able to use role, intonation, tone, volume, mood, silence, stillness and action to add impact.

What They Said


“I thought that this week helped with my confidence and helped me to understand what an interview is like and how to prepare for one in the future.”

“I think this workshop is very useful, it teaches you things school does not. We are given the choice in whether or not we do the opportunities we are given which is a lot better than being forced to because you feel a lot more independent and proud of yourself. The people running the workshop were amazing, it was never made too serious or too “jokey”. I’m sad that it ends here, I prefer this than actual school. I feel that my confidence has improved.”

“I have enjoyed the week and felt that it has been quite informal/casual and been a relaxed environment. I feel that I am more confident and prepared when it comes to interviews and presentations.”

“This week has helped me a lot with gaining more confidence with speaking in front of people and making a presentation.”

“Everyone is so lovely and helpful. The telephone calls are going to be so much easier for me now.”

“It was enjoyable and I also learnt a lot throughout the process as well as gaining confidence when presenting and talking to crowds. I learnt about different ways to approach an interview and the games improved my confidence/talking. It is also good as you can gain a good qualification from this workshop and the presentations, phone calls and interviews all improved my confidence.”

“I really enjoyed this week because I got to look into what I want to do when I’m older a bit more and it has prepared me for when I have to get a job myself.”

“I really enjoyed my experience this week because I had time to look at the jobs I want to do. This means I am more prepared for my future. “


“Articulacy provide a unique and very personalised service which they are always ready to adapt to suit the particular customer’s (school and students) needs. I have always found them to be extremely professional and dedicated to improving the students they work with. The best evidence comes from the teachers, who are always impressed by the difference in the students’ confidence and motivation after attending Articulacy workshops, and the students themselves who blossom under Articulacy’s expert and engaging activities.”

Widening Participation Specialist

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