University secures programme to raise aspirations for disadvantaged young in the county

News Page 12th December 2016

The University of Northampton has secured funding to encourage disadvantaged young people in Northamptonshire and Rutland to take up Higher Education.

The institution has signed up to the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP), which has been launched by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to increase participation in university level education.

Under the scheme, 29 consortia across the country will share £60m to deliver activities targeted at young people, including those in ethnic minority groups and young men, who live in areas where participation in Higher Education is both low overall, and lower than expected given GCSE attainment levels.

The University is working in partnership with the University of Leicester, Loughborough University, De Montfort University, local schools and colleges to deliver a targeted outreach plan in defined areas across the region. The proposed interventions include amongst others virtual reality resources, science, technology, engineering and maths activities, university awards programmes, residential experiences and parent and student workshops.

The University of Northampton has placed social impact and innovation at the heart of its strategy – ensuring its work has a positive effect on the communities it serves.

One of the challenges within its strategic plan is to Make Northamptonshire the best county in the UK for children and young people to flourish and learn. Taking part in the NCOP programme helps the University to meet this challenge.

Tim Dobson, Head of Schools Engagement at the University of Northampton, said: “The programme will allow us to unlock the potential in students from the most disadvantaged areas in Northamptonshire and Rutland.

“We will also be able to work even more closely with our partners to ensure these students experience and understand the benefits of a pathway through Higher Education into a career.”

Wray Irwin, Head of Employability and Engagement at the University, added: “This programme will offer a significant enhancement to the excellent work the University already does in the county’s schools and communities. The school and college partners have enabled us to develop an amazing offer for young people and their support has ensured our proposal will make a major contribution to improving the educational opportunities for young people in the county.”

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.”

The programme will launch on 24 January 2017.

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