The University of Cumbria is celebrating after a new consortia it is leading was awarded £2.4 million in Government funding via The Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) to fund a two year project aimed at encouraging more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to consider taking higher education qualifications.
Working closely with other regional universities, further education colleges and secondary schools as well as some of Cumbria’s biggest employers and third sector organisations the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) aims to expand the choices on offer to pupils.
The Hefce NCOP assessment panel unanimously recommended the University’s submission for funding and described it as ‘overwhelmingly successful.’
“Working with our partners we will be able to target sustained, intensive and long term outreach activity in areas of Cumbria where the Government has identified lower than expected progression to Higher Education based on GCSE performance. We will look to work with young people in these areas to identify barriers to them participating in HE and then help them address these and make a decision if it is the best option for them,” Ian Sinker, the Associate Dean Academic Development and Innovation, says adding: ”Our aim is to show that HE is available to all young people who can benefit from it and it doesn’t mean a major upheaval from family and friends, but it can open up new opportunities which otherwise wouldn’t exist.”
Groundwork to launch the scheme which will run for two years is already underway with a team of six staff due to work on the project.
NCOP Cumbria will focus on areas of Carlisle, Furness and the county’s west coast.
It’ll launch at the end of January 2017.