Worcester MP Robin Walker has backed a new campaign to raise standards and create new opportunities in Britain’s universities.
The campaign is backed by dozens of universities across the UK, and run by the Purpose Coalition - the social mobility and education campaign set up by former Education Secretary Rt Hon Justine Greening - and pledges to partner with local schools and colleges to provide advice and support to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom may have little or no family experience of university.
Speaking at the launch, Robin Walker MP said “I am delighted to back the Raising Standards, Creating Opportunity campaign to boost opportunity for young people across Worcester. Many young people have little or no family experience of university, so our universities can play a crucial role in providing advice and guidance to young people in the years before when they are making these key life choices.”
Chair of the Purpose Coalition, Rt Hon Justine Greening said “The university system in the UK is one which is the envy of the world but its contribution to social mobility is often undervalued. As anchor institutions, spreading opportunity and levelling the playing field is at the heart of everything they do. This campaign aims to encourage universities to help support students in making key life choices before they reach university, and in playing a wider impact on their local community.”
The campaign makes a number of recommendations for universities, addressing the challenges the higher education sector is facing, including:
- New Access and Opportunities Plans (AOP) to replace Access and Participation Plans (APP), which would encompass a student’s full tenure at university, offer a more contextual overview and enable social value-added per student to be measured;
- Foster place-centred entrepreneurship to explore how universities can explore their roles as opportunity creators and connects more strategically, encouraging and incentivising their links with local businesses;
- Harness universities further down the talent pipeline to enable them to plug labour market gaps, including widening the scope of the Apprenticeship Levy to allow universities to offer upskilling and reskilling courses;