University opens its doors to Big Noise musicians

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Participants of the Big Noise event

Young musicians from the inspirational Big Noise Raploch programme visited the University of Stirling this week to learn about higher education and the opportunities it can unlock.

Staff welcomed six members of the programme to campus where they received a workshop on the positive impact that university can have on careers.

The Wallace and St Modan’s High School students also enjoyed a treasure hunt around campus and a visit to Macrobert Arts Centre.

The session began with the students asked about their career aspirations – and how they believed they could fulfil that ambition. They then completed an exercise to illustrate how universities vary from institution to institution, before matching photographs of students with subjects – encouraging them to challenge gender stereotypes.

“This was to show the children that there is no such thing as a typical university student and that our campus is extremely diverse,” explained Natalie Sweeney, Student Recruitment Officer, who co-led the session.

“We then asked the students to think about certain subjects – such as education, languages and mathematics – and discuss what sort of jobs you can do with certain qualifications.”

Following the workshop, the students were split into two teams and, led by student ambassadors, enjoyed a treasure hunt campus tour, during which they answered questions on, and learned about, the University. Their visit concluded with a tour of the Macrobert.

Widening participation

Tracey Kerr, Widening Participation Manager, said: “A university experience can be life changing and it’s important that everyone realises that it could be something they could do.

“The session was all about raising awareness of what university has to offer so that students from different backgrounds realise that university has something valuable to offer them; from studying subjects that are fun, which can improve their career chances, to the sports, societies and other activities that are an important part of university life. 

“We hope that our workshop opened their eyes to more opportunities and has made them realise that choosing to go to university could be a great decision.”

Big Noise, delivered by the charity Sistema Scotland was established in Raploch, Stirling, in 2008 and has since opened centres in Glasgow’s Govanhill, Torry in Aberdeen, and Douglas in Dundee. The charity aims to transform children’s lives and communities through music. Involvement in the Big Noise orchestra programmes gives children an invaluable range of life skills and experiences, including confidence, teamwork, resilience, pride and aspiration.

Simon Rennard, a Big Noise Raploch musician, said: “Our Big Noise programmes focus on supporting children and young people to develop a range of life skills and achieve their full potential.

“This week’s visit to the University of Stirling was a fantastic opportunity for some of the young people, who work so hard at Big Noise Raploch, to explore a variety of different pathways available to them.

“Visits like this one are a really exciting way to work with the young people and help them discover a range of opportunities that they may wish to pursue in the future.”

Background information

Media enquiries to Greg Christison, Communications Officer, on 01786 466 687 or