Aimhigher West Midlands is a partnership of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), schools, academies and colleges. Together, we want to make sure that young people from less advantaged backgrounds have access to high quality, exciting and challenging experiences that enhance their careers education, motivate, inspire and provide accurate and impartial information, advice and guidance about higher education.
Aimhigher's Annual Review for 2015 / 2016 tells the stories of some of the young people we worked with last year. It recognises the support of colleagues across our many partner schools, colleges and universities whose commitment to widening participation and social mobility makes the work of Aimhigher in the West Midlands possible.
National Collaborative Outreach Programme
A successful bid from Aimhigher West Midlands to HEFCE’s National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) has secured more than £4.5 million to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds to access higher education.
The funding will enable 6 universities and 13 FE Colleges to intensify outreach in 25 wards across Birmingham, Solihull, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Sandwell where the progression of young people to higher education is very low, despite relatively good GCSE outcomes. The programme will deliver a wide range of university masterclasses, summer schools and taster days, and support the deployment of over 100 undergraduates and graduate ambassadors, trained to work as mentors and role models for up to 5,000 young people in schools and colleges in the target wards. Aimhigher is one of 29 consortia who will run the programme across England, and you can search these and their target wards on the HEFCE website here.
Mike Thompson, Aimhigher West Midlands Manager said: “By working together our partners will make a real difference to the life chances of young people from families with no experience of higher education or the professions. National evaluations have repeatedly shown how exploring higher education and being mentored by current university students can boost a young person’s motivation to succeed, improve their exam results and increase their chances of entering a rewarding, secure and professional career.”
National Networks for Collaborative Outreach
In January 2015 Aimhigher West Midlands was granted funding as part of the National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCO) initiative. This 2 year HEFCE funded programme aimed to ensure all state-funded secondary schools and colleges had access to the higher education outreach activities of their local universities and colleges, and that duplication or gaps in provision were minimised. HEFCE required NNCOs like Aimhigher West Midlands to monitor their work, and the following report summarises the activities our 12 partners provided to regional schools and colleges.