£2m funded programme will provide educational opportunities for disadvantaged students
UCLan to lead on collaborative venture between four regional universities
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) will lead on a £2.2 million countywide collaborative project designed to create more opportunities for young people who traditionally wouldn’t consider higher education.
‘Future U’ is a joint venture between UCLan, Edge Hill University, Lancaster University and The University of Cumbria alongside a range of further education colleges, independent companies, local authorities and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership.
The two-year programme will target specific cohorts of students who may come from disadvantaged or low socio-economic backgrounds and are currently underrepresented in higher education. Future U will link young people with role models through mentoring and outreach activities, demonstrating clear progression routes into education with an emphasis on realising the students’ future potential.
"It is fantastic we can continue with the collaborative approach we’ve embedded in previous successful outreach programmes and work with other universities and colleges in the region."
UCLan Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Lynne Livesey is the Executive Lead on the project. She said: “It is fantastic we can continue with the collaborative approach we’ve embedded in previous successful outreach programmes and work with other universities and colleges in the region, alongside the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, on this exciting project.
“Our aim is to provide inspirational opportunities for the young people of Lancashire, further strengthening our commitment to widening participation and access to higher education.”
The project has been funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) as part its £60 million per year National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP).
Liz Bromley, UCLan Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Planning and International Strategy), said: “This significant funding boost will enable us to work collaboratively to develop a programme that will build progression routes into key skills areas, through higher education. We take our role as a civic anchor institution very seriously and we have a long standing tradition of unlocking young people’s potential; this new funding will help us to continue that mission.”
A total of 260 higher education providers in England are involved in the programme, which begins in January. With funding of £60 million per year, the programme will drive a step change in the progression into higher education of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, including members of ethnic minority groups and young men.
"We are seeing record numbers of disadvantaged young people going to university and benefitting from the real opportunities that our world class universities can offer."
A large-scale evaluation programme will measure the impact of the programme from the start, using a range of methodologies at local and national level, including national data analysis, longitudinal tracking, qualitative research and randomised control trials. The aim will be to build a powerful evidence base to ensure that investment is concentrated in activity that is shown to be the most effective.
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “We are seeing record numbers of disadvantaged young people going to university and benefitting from the real opportunities that our world class universities can offer.
“This funding and the schemes that have 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 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.”