Widening Access is a government-driven initiative to increase the number of students from under-represented groups participating in higher education. It aims to increase take-up of Higher Education by:
- Raising aspirations
- Encouraging applications
- Ensuring progression, retention and success.
Areas we cover: Hillingdon, Hounslow, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow
Why do we exist?
There are many young people and adults with the academic potential to enter higher education who, for a variety of reasons, do not currently apply to study at university. This may be due to:
- Lack of aspiration
- Financial concerns
- Insufficient information
The target groups
We aim our activities at students who demonstrate the potential to achieve the entry requirements for higher education and who meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Little or no family history of higher education
- From a school or college with a poor record of entry to higher education
- From a low income/low participation area
- Looked-after by a local authority
- Have studied vocational courses
- Students who are estranged from their family
- Mature Students
- Young Carers
We also target widening participation students from ethnic minority and/or gender groups that are under-represented in particular subject areas at Brunel.
How can we help?
We run aspiration-raising activities for schools and colleges to encourage young people and adults to stay in, or re-enter, a learning environment and to move into higher education.
Activities on campus
- Higher Education awareness visits (Year 6 - Year 13)
- Master classes (Year 11 - Year 13)
- Subject taster days (Year 6 - Year 13)
- Summer schools (Year 8 - Year 13)
- Careers fairs (Year 10)
Activities off campus
Activities we provide in schools/colleges and community organisations
- Higher Education advice talks for students, parents and community groups
- Preparation for Higher Education workshops
- Attendance at parents and options evenings
- Support for regional initiatives
- Input by academic staff into collaborative events
Support for transition into Higher Education
We work with widening participation students who have applied to us and offer a week long course to prepare students for university life and learning - HeadStart Week.
Support for staying in Higher Education
Widening participation funding is used across our University to encourage specific groups of students to stay in higher education once they have taken the initial step. In particular we work closely with the:
Widening participation officers also contribute to the staff training programme for new lecturers and admission officers at Brunel.
To help widening participation students to develop essential employability skills and progress to graduate level jobs, we support:
- A student ambassador programme, providing training and part-time employment for widening participation students wishing to help with our widening participation outreach activities.
- An 8-week Summer Internship Scheme for Level 1 WP students.
- Business mentors from the community for a number of ethnic minority students as part of a National Mentoring Consortium scheme and for other widening participation students as part of our Widening participation professional mentoring programme.