The University Alliance (UA), a campaigning group representing pioneering global universities for science, technology, design and the professions practice based universities in the UK, has welcomed the publication of OFFA’s annual monitoring of access agreements.
The report has revealed that English universities and colleges are on course to meet over 80% of the targets set within their 2013/14 Access Agreements.
The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) is part of the UA group, with UWE Bristol Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve West as its current Chair.
Professor West commented: “We are wholly committed to the principles set out via the OFFA monitoring report and delighted to highlight that we place social mobility at the centre of our ambition to ensure that under-represented groups are welcomed into our fold. We do this through a whole raft of events, activities, policies, bursaries and funds.
“University education opens doors and we want to be sure that we show all potential students that this is a place that welcomes everyone who wants to contribute to society and develop the skills to take up a useful place in the workplace.”
Some examples of UWE’s work to improve progression of under-represented groups includes organising more than 500 outreach events using 150 Student Ambassadors, working in excess of 10,000 hours with more than 30,000 learners including 1,300 of primary school age, 10,000 at secondary school pre-16 age, 12,000 16+ and 6,000 adults.
The University has a number of high profile partnerships with key target schools colleges and organisations including the Cabot Learning Federation, Trust in Learning (Academies) and Bristol Enterprise College UTC; Princes Trust; Society of Merchant Venturers, South Bristol Youth, Ablaze and Virtual School Networks across the South West.
Maddalaine Ansell, Chief Executive of University Alliance, added: “Supporting people from non-traditional backgrounds to access and succeed in higher education is a particular strength of our universities. Our intake of students from lower socio-economic groups is higher than the sector average. OFFA’s figures demonstrate that beyond access we are helping these students acquire the education and broader skills they need to place them firmly on the path to success.
“We are making a huge contribution to social mobility in the UK – transforming lives and supporting the economy. The government and sector must continue to support the many and not just the few to succeed.”