The University of Wolverhampton has secured £8 million funding to help increase the number of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to progress into higher education, including youngsters across the Marches.
The National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) is part of national scheme delivered by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) which will see a total of £60 million awarded to consortia which were invited to submit proposals for funds to work collaboratively on outreach programmes in specific local areas.
The programme aims to support the Government’s goals to double the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in higher education (HE) by 2020, increase by 20 percent the number of students in HE from ethnic minority groups and address the under-representation of young men from disadvantaged backgrounds in HE.
The University will collaborate with colleges across the Black Country as well as Telford College of Art & Technology (TCAT) and New College Telford under the consortium name ‘Aspire to HE.’
Jackie Dunne, Vice-Chancellor (Access and Lifelong Learning) at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “We’re really pleased to have been selected to lead on the Aspire to HE consortia which will deliver an extensive and exciting programme of collaborative working across specific wards in the Black Country and Telford.
“Our focus will be on engaging with schools and colleges where progression to university or HE is low overall or lower than expected given the GCSE attainment levels. We will be providing master classes, taster sessions, summer schools, support for English and maths as well as information, advice and guidance – all with a view to inspiring thousands of pupils and students to progress to study at a higher level.”
HEFCE Director of Policy, Chris Millward said: “NCOP represents a significant investment by HEFCE in improving the life chances of young people in some of our most disadvantaged communities. Our evidence has shown that there are young people in these areas who are achieving the qualifications they need to benefit from higher education, but are not currently doing so. The programme will ensure that they are better equipped to make the right choice for them by exposing the range of higher education options available and the careers they make possible.”
Aspire to HE will also be working with the Marches and Black Country Local Enterprise Partnerships which will be sitting on the strategic governance board.
Funding will be provided for two years in the first instance, from January 2017 to December 2018. Funding for a further two years, to December 2020 will be subject to consortia making satisfactory progress towards meeting the Government’s goals.