Aim Higher West Midlands | Social mobility | Widening participation



Taster Activities at local colleges

South and City College Birmingham and Bourneville College are hosting a large variety of taster days across their campuses. The interactive sessions give pupils an insight into life at college and include an array of subjects such as: music, sports and science. Check out the programme here and contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

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.”

Women in Engineering & The Built Environment

In June 2016 72 Year 8 girls from 8 local schools explored careers in Engineering and The Built Environment as part of Aimhigher NNCO programme. The event was hosted by Birmingham City University with support from Aston University, the University of Wolverhampton and over 20 female academics and engineers.

“A great experience to learn, be inspired and enjoy"

“An inspiring and helpful event”

“Enriching, good fun and all round great!”

Advancing Access - Supporting Highly Capable Learners

Advancing Access is a network of 24 research intensive, Russell Group universities who work with schools and colleges to support students' progression to leading institutions. Advancing Access have recently launched their website which provides a variety of CPD resources and online events for teachers and advisers to help them advise learners who are making their key stage 4, key stage 5 and university choices.

Make Your Move

On the 5th October, we held a conference for the new intake of year 12s from across the West Midlands region. Over 350 students from 8 schools and colleges benefitted from the opportunity to attend seminars and workshops led by high profile speakers which covered a wide range of highly relevant and timely issues. Feedback was extremely positive with 85% of students rating the event as very useful or useful. Our opening presentation Future Proofing your Career Chances in a Changing World of Work can be downloaded here. Keep an eye out for other events for your students by checking this link regularly.

The Success of Unifest 2016

The Aimhigher partnership coordinates an annual programme of residential summer schools to give young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to fully experience the world of higher education by living and working on campus for up to 3 days. This year over 300 year 10 students took part in the programme and the feedback from them was really positive. Particpiants said "It was a great experience and it has changed my future career aspirations and given me a taste of what university can be like", "It was a valuable experience which helped me to see what area I wish to study in higher education" and "I am now more confident about going into higher education". You can read more about Unifest 2016 here.

Early university ambitions pay off

On Thursday 21st July 2016, UCAS released a report which showed that children who know by age ten that they want to study for a degree are 2.6 times more likely to get into a selective university. This publication comes just weeks after our successful 'Move on Up' aspiration raising days that we offer to year 6 students from across the region. Click here to find out how you can raise the aspirations of your KS2 learners.

My Future, My Birmingham

My Future, My Birmingham is a pioneering Widening Participation programme which teaches students how to forge successful careers in their local city. Throughout June & July 2016, over 400 students from state schools in the West Midlands enaged with companies and individuals that have shaped Birminham’s history. Young people were selected to take part in various activities across the city in sectors such as finance, sport, engineering, construction, hospitality and theatrical arts. Each event was designed to broaden students' understanding and awareness of the range of employment opportunities in the city. The feedback was really positive and students gained valuable knowledge about the essential soft skills which top employers are looking for.

Move on Up!

In June 2016, our "Move On Up" visits allowed more than 1200 year 6 students from state primary schools in the West Midlands to visit four of our partner universities.The half day activities which took place at Aston University, University of Birmingham, University of Worcester and Staffordshire University gave pupils the opportunity to explore the changes that they will face at secondary school and discover how higher education could positively impact their future.The feedback from all of the schools who attended was really encouraging and teachers' comments included "a very informative and interactive experience", "the activities were great!" and "such a well organised and appropriate visit".If you would like to find out more about our 'Move on Up' programme and discover our interactive games to support year 6s with secondary school transition, please follow this link.

Work Experience

UCB has a variety of work experience placements available for year 10, 11 and 12 students who want to get an insight into what it’s like to work in a career they’re interested in. Download more information here.

Year 8 Explore Their Future!

More than 190 Year 8 students from 7 Birmingham schools spent a day investigating different careers at 2 universities in March and April 2016, as part of Aimhigher's Explore Your Future programme for Key Stage 3. With tasters in a range of Science, Art, Healthcare, Food and Social Science pathways, the events also included sessions on the importance of GCSE options and the careers open to graduates.

"We got to speak to students and find out their opinions. I have a more clear image of what I want to do when I am older."

"It was fun, interesting and cool to learn new things about university and higher education."


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