Students in your community

Discover how our students give back to the city they call home

Each of our students is an asset to the city of Portsmouth. They contribute to your community and local economy through part-time work, volunteering, consumer spending, and by promoting higher education to school children.

Our students are knowledgeable, informed, intellectually curious, responsible, self-aware, self-motivated and keen to get involved. We have around 29,000 students – 12% of the population of Portsmouth. Our student body includes more than 5,200 international and EU students from over 150 countries. They are a valuable resource for charities, local businesses, schools and social enterprises.

Volunteering in the community

We encourage students to volunteer and apply the knowledge and skills gained from their studies to a cause they care about. They are skilled, enthusiastic volunteers. They help at over 200 neighbourhood charities, social enterprises, schools, community groups, theatres and not-for-profit organisations. In 2019/20 student volunteers alone contributed £493,700 to the local economy.

Each year, our students volunteer more than 60,000 hours at organisations including Motiv8, the Mary Rose Museum, Citizens Advice Havant, Portsmouth Football Club and Portsmouth Mediation Service.

Students also create their own volunteering opportunities through the student-led society 'Volunteering in Portsmouth' (VIP). And individual societies raise money for local, national and international charities. Our Show Choir held a competition that raised £1,000 for Solent Mind in 2019, and every year our students raise money for the charities Breast Cancer Now and Prostate Cancer UK.

  • Dental students treat NHS patients for free in our Dental Academy Patient Services and give free treatment to children across the city through the 'Brush up' programme
  • Law students give pro bono legal help to the public through our Legal Clinic
  • Accounting and finance students give pro bono assistance to charities, social enterprises and community interest groups in Hampshire through our Accounting Clinic
  • Students from different disciplines help local school children develop their literacy skills through a successful reading programme

Are you a local charity looking for volunteers? Advertise volunteering opportunities with us for free.

Volunteering in sports

By volunteering as sports coaches across the city, our students build their leadership skills while acting as role models for local children.

Students deliver sports coaching through the Portsmouth School Sports Partnership. And through our Community Football Club, where they coach boys and girls in competitive football. Student coaches work in paid and unpaid roles to develop players technically, physically, psychologically and socially. And all student coaches are put through Football Association training.

Inspiring young people

We want everyone to aspire to a university education. Our student ambassadors support outreach activities in local schools to inspire young people to go to university.

Ambassadors deliver activities to young people aged 11–18 years old to raise their aspirations and encourage them to think about higher education. They come from different backgrounds and share their positive experiences of university life to inspire others.

Working in the community

By working locally during or after their studies, students practise the knowledge and skills they learn on their courses, gain valuable work experience, and support the community. Many of them do work placements at local businesses.

We provide a steady stream of skilled graduates for the local labour market. And we work with local employers to ensure our courses meet the needs of important sectors of the local and regional economy.

A significant proportion of our students stay in Portsmouth after they graduate, either working for local companies or setting up their own businesses.

Attendees of Volunteering Fair

11.7% of graduates in the 2016/17 academic year remained in Portsmouth to work or study*

22.8% remained in the wider geographic area covered by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership*

*Figures from Home, here or London? Retaining graduates from the central South's universities, Southern Policy Centre, February 2019

Contributing to the local economy

In 2015/16, our students added £209.5 million to the economy of the Solent Region, and £180.6 million to the city of Portsmouth (Economic Impact of the University of Portsmouth, BiGGAR Economics, July 2017).

Students contribute to the economy by:

  • Spending money on goods and services
  • Working part-time while studying
  • Undertaking unpaid voluntary work for charities and third sector organisations

Our international students also contribute to the economy by working as staff in attractions where they speak the languages of visitors, volunteering their language skills to help children in local schools, and spending money on tourism activities. International students and their families added £64 million to the local economy in 2015/16.

Contributing to cultural life

Students enrich the community culturally too. These are just a few examples of how our students contribute to the local culture of Portsmouth.

  • Students on our BSc (Hons) Television and Broadcasting course live streamed General Election hustings in 2019 that were jointly hosted by us and Portsmouth News.
  • Students from the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI) showcase their creative skills at the annual Graduate Show, which is open to the public. This is an opportunity to see final year BA (Hons) Film Production students' work before it's shown at the British Film Academy in London.
  • Students from CCI regularly exhibit their work and take part in projects at Portsmouth's Aspex Gallery.
  • Our BSc (Hons) Music Technology students play in bands in city and regional venues. And some perform as DJs and rappers.
  • Students take part in public performances with our Big Band, Gospel Choir, Show Choir. Concert Band, Dramatic and Musical Society, Orchestra, Cheerleading Club and Reenactment Society.
  • BA (Hons) Drama and Performance students have worked in stage management at Portsmouth's Groundlings Theatre during their placement year.
  • Students volunteer with Portsmouth Film Society, which regularly screens movies on campus.