The Lifelong Learning Centre works to create opportunities for under-represented groups to access and enjoy the benefits of Higher Education. Central to this work is a social purpose ethos.
Our Communities and Partnerships (C&P) team has a great deal of experience in outreach and development work with community organisations and Further Education providers throughout West Yorkshire. Its activities are developed in close consultation with its partners in the community and in FE and it is committed to creating informal learning opportunities that encourage progression into HE by students from non-traditional backgrounds.
The C&P team demonstrate that sustained university outreach in local communities can have a real impact in widening participation in HE. It has built a trusting and mutually beneficial relationship with a range of community-based partners in both the voluntary and statutory sectors which enables it to work with low-aspiring groups. It aims to connect both formal FE and informal community learning in educational or non-educational settings (i.e. health, community cohesion, early years, citizenship etc.) with progression to HE.
The community outreach work undertaken by the C&P team can be broken down into four main areas of activity.
- The Realise programme aims to address the barriers which make it difficult for adults to enter HE and to encourage adults to consider university as a realistic option
- JumpStart is a flexible, part-time course designed to build the skills, understanding and confidence necessary to progress into HE
- The C&P team coordinates a group of mature students from communities across West Yorkshire where going to university is not the norm – these Learning Champions work with other adults from areas of economic and social deprivation and are involved in a wide range of activities and events designed to inspire them to think about HE
- The C&P team organises a yearly Summer School for adult learners which aim to increase their understanding of the wide range of HE opportunities, the HE student experience, the financial implications of studying and the qualifications required to do so – these events also seek to tackle the perception that age is a barrier to studying