University leads regional arm of £60m scheme to boost Higher Education participation

Manchester Metropolitan University is part of a £60 million project to increase participation in higher education for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has announced a new programme to increase participation in higher education across England, the National Collaborative Outreach Programme.

Under the scheme, 29 local consortia will receive funding to deliver programmes. Manchester Metropolitan will lead the project for Greater Manchester, starting on January 24.

Peter Riley, Head of Widening Participation at the University, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to lead this multi-million pound project for Greater Manchester.

Vote of confidence

“It represents a vote of confidence in the work of the Greater Manchester Higher partnership over recent years which we have led on. We welcome the chance to work with HEIs across the region to make a real difference to the lives of young people from Greater Manchester.”

The funding will help to establish five regional hubs based in further education colleges across the region to work with target schools and colleges to deliver an exciting programme of aspiration-raising activities, including campus visits, subject taster days, mentoring and summer schools.

Peter added: “This new activity will complement the extensive existing widening participation work already taking place, and will make a real difference to the life chances of young people in the area. We will also be closely monitoring and evaluating activity to provide valuable evidence of the most effective interventions at widening participation.

“We look forward as the lead institution to working with partnerships across the country and with the funding council to raise the profile of widening participation work across Greater Manchester.”

Raising attainment

The programme will deliver collaborative outreach in specific local areas where participation in higher education is both low overall and lower than expected given GCSE attainment levels.

A total of 260 higher education providers in England are involved in the programme, funded by £60m delivered each year. A large-scale evaluation programme will measure the impact of the programme from the start.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson MP said: “We are seeing record numbers of disadvantaged young people going to university and benefiting from the real opportunities that our world-class universities can offer.

“This funding and the schemes that have been developed by universities will make a real difference to young people in key areas. In addition to this, we are legislating for a new transparency duty which will place a clear requirement on all universities to release more information about their admissions process and real incentives on all institutions to go further and faster to promote social mobility.”

HEFCE Director of Policy Chris Millward added: “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.”