Each year, the B6 Careers Team promote a wide range of Widening Participation schemes delivered by employers and universities, which are designed to help under-represented groups into competitive degree courses and careers.
At The Sixth Form, over 70% of our students are the first generation to go to university and similarly we have high numbers in receipt of college bursaries and free school meals. These are the kind of criteria that the organisations offering these programmes are looking for in the students who take part and these students will gain immense benefits from signing up to these schemes.
Many universities recognise that some students face barriers that can make it more difficult for them to access university-level education. Factors such as: being the first generation in your family to go to university; living in a postcode area where not many people progress onto university; living in a low-income household, etc. can make it more tricky to gather the information, support, or funds that you need to pursue a degree. Universities understand this and want to ensure that they provide opportunities to help break down these barriers, so that more of these under-represented groups can achieve the degree-level of education that they deserve. To help students achieve this goal, many universities offer what are known as widening participation schemes and eligible students who take part in these may receive the benefit of things like reduced grade offers, scholarship funding and more.
This term, many of the organisatons offering Widening Participation schemes have visited us at B6 to give the students more information about their programmes:
The Aspiring Professionals Programme supports students from Year 12, to receive mentorship from professionals working in their chosen career sector. Students also have the chance to attend skills sessions and workshops on preparing for their future careers, receive information and support in applying to university and get firsthand work experience within a range of career areas.
The scheme is available to students who receive free school meals, or are care experienced or those from low income families and the first generation in their fmily to attend university,
The Manchester Access Programme (MAP) is the University of Manchester's' central widening participation scheme for local Year 12 students in Greater Manchester. The programme is aimed at students with a strong GCSE grade profile, first generation in their family to attend university and those living in areas with low progression rates to university. Other priority criteria includes students who receive free school meals and/or college bursary.
By taking part in the scheme, students benefit from support with their university application; the chance to undertake a piece of academic research; the opportunity to take part in taster activities at the university of Manchester and an annual scholarship of £1000, should they enrol on a course at The University of Manchester after their sixth form studies.
Aimed at year 12 students, The UCLan Scholars Programme helps students prepare for their future for the future by helping them make informed choices all whilst securing the skills and knowledge to impress universities and employers. Students get to have a taster of a subject they are interested in studying at university as well as a student mentor who studies in this field. Students who complete the programme and then enrol at UCLAN will receive an annual bursary of £500, providing they meet the relevant widening participation criteria.
This programme is aimed at students who will be the first generation in their family to go to university and those who take part get to attend on-campus taster events which will help them learn more about university life. This programme takes place over year 12 and 13 and any students who then go onto study at MMU will receive a bursary of £1500.
Participants on the Access Programme receive a number of benefits including:
Extra consideration and a lower offer on application to Lancaster (barring Medicine and Surgery (A100) and Medicine and Surgery with a Gateway Year (A104) courses*)
Access to a dedicated online portal and resources
Opportunity to participate in a variety of events and subject activities
Dedicated contact with Lancaster staff and student ambassadors
Students need to meet certain criteria in order to take part, such as coming from a low-income household, being entitled to free school meals, being first in their family to attend university.
If student progress into study at Lancaster after taking part, they will receive an annual scholarship of £1000.
The EY foundation run a 10-month Smart Futures programme which includes paid work experience, interactive employability skills training and mentoring for those in Year 12. They also offer a paid work experience week and mentoring scheme for students in Y13. Work experience opportunities are across a range of sectors including the Public Sector, Technology, Banking and STEM. These programmes are available for students who are eligible for Free School Meals or College Bursary.
A huge thank you to all of the guest speakers who came in to speak to our students about their fantastic programmes and good luck to the students applying. For further information about these and other widening participation programmes, please take a look at the Careers Team’s booklet here.