Lancaster University wins national award for widening access

Lancaster University has been named NEON Higher Education Institution of the Year.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Friday, 11th June 2021, 3:45 pm

The NEON Awards celebrate the transformative power that higher education can have and recognise key achievements in the widening access sector.

Lancaster University Vice Chancellor Prof Andy Schofield said: “We are delighted to see Lancaster’s work in this important area recognised in this way. To be named NEON Higher Education Institution of the Year is a wonderful result for our dedicated teams, but more so, it is a signal to bright and ambitious people from a variety of backgrounds that a Lancaster University education is open to them.”

The university delivers an innovative and progressive programme of outreach and student success activities for widening participation (WP) students across the student lifecycle from primary school through to the workplace, supporting the access, transition, success and progression of WP students at each point in their educational journey.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

For example, engagement with local young people and communities starts at Year 4, working with community organisations in disadvantaged areas across the UK.

Meanwhile, the university's flagship outreach project, the Lancaster Access Programme, works with students from Year 9 onwards and supports participants’ progression into university study.

Bespoke faculty level activities include targeted programmes to support students wishing to study medicine and social work.

They are committed to supporting those most under-represented in higher education and offer bursaries for care experienced, estranged students and refugees.

Once students arrive with the university, they take steps to ensure learners from all backgrounds are able to succeed - the flagship Lancaster Success Programme has supported more than 150 WP students since launching in 2019.

In addition, a dedicated WP Transitions Team offer programmes to support our students’ transition at key points in the education journey and a bespoke maths bootcamps workshops delivered by learning development ensure students have the support to excel in their course.

Careers advice is also key to the university's approach with dedicated WP careers staff and targeted initiatives such as leadership development delivered in partnership with ‘UpReach’.

A Capital Connections project enables participants to gain insights into businesses and organisations in London and Manchester and develop networks.

Meanwhile, global engagement bursaries support WP students to undertake fieldwork placements and short international exchange programmes.

Medical Success enables WP students to access funds for equipment, clothing and undertake elective placements outside of the UK.

In addition, subject internships provide WP students with paid opportunities to gain an insight into research to support their progression into postgraduate study.