AccessHE Team Spotlight – Jan/early Feb 2020

February 11, 2020

Welcome back to Team Spotlight, a light-hearted section of our monthly Connect e-bulletin (free and open to all – subscribe to it here). Here, you can discover who we are at AccessHE and what we’ve all been up to over the past month or so. Through January and some of February, our Spotlight shone to reveal…

Ella and Sia (Team Schools Events): On the 13th January, Salomé Varrell visited Year 13 students at Drapers’ Academy in Havering as part of the AccessHE London Uni Connect . The jam-packed session had students learning about their rights during a stop and search, debating the case of David Beckham avoiding prosecution for a speeding charge and even performing a mock trial over a shoplifting incident. For many at state schools a career in law can feel out of reach, but Salomé was able to share different pathways to the profession. We were told about new courses in development that arguably make a career in law more accessible than ever, as well as possible starting salaries that make tuition fees look laughable. Engaging visits like these are crucial to enabling a more diverse workforce in the legal profession. As well as making a difference, they just happen to be a lot of fun too.

Beth (Outreach Hub Coordinator – North London): 2020 has begun with a bang for the North Hub! I’ve met with many of AccessHE’s HEI members, some interesting third sector stakeholders – such as Speakers for Schools and the East London Business Alliance – Enfield Council, the Hackney Learning Trust, and careers leads from across the schools in Enfield, Hackney, Haringey and Waltham Forest. To top it off, I’ve travelled to most of these meetings on my (very) rickety bike. Thanks to everyone for being so welcoming, informative, and providing numerous cups of tea! Some exciting plans are brewing (pardon the pun) for the North Hub; watch this space in the coming months to find out more about cross-borough collaborations and a range of activities hosted by participating schools! If you’re a school based in any of the above boroughs and want to find out how the AccessHE Uni Connect can support the higher education decisions of your students, please email: I hope to see many of our members from arts HE institutions at the next AccessHE Creative Forum on 13th February. Along with celebrating the launch of the AccessHE-UKADIA Creative HE Apply Guide, I’ll be introducing the London Uni Connect and hope to understand more about the WP challenges for Creative HE from attendees, how they’re tackling them, and where the AccessHE Uni Connect can support these efforts.

Michelle (Outreach Hub Coordinator – North East London): Since kicking off 2020, I have continued meeting with schools across Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham and Redbridge, to better understand schools specific needs in relation to outreach and guidance around higher education. It has been interesting to identify themes at a school and borough level – for example the importance of better engaging parents and carers with higher education; the need for clear, simple guidance on different routes into HE, such as degree apprenticeships; and the importance of clear and up to date advice on student finance and support. This intel is helping to shape tailored Uni Connect activity for schools across North East London, and as an Outreach Hub we are bringing our research together to plan a number of exciting Uni Connect events – details of which will be shared soon, watch this space!

Tayler (Outreach Coordinator – Central London): The last month has involved interactions with a wide array of stakeholders: from schools, sixth forms, local authorities and HE providers, to local charities and sports clubs. The range of engagements has brought about interesting a creative routes for the Uni Connect program to pursue in the coming months. As well as establishing a presence with reputable community organisations, this has given the project an alternate, grassroots impression of progression to HE and the continuities between many HE and non-HE institutions. At the beginning of January, Michelle and I were fortunate enough to visit the home of West Ham United, London Stadium, to discuss the range of HE collaboration offered by the club throughout its target boroughs in East London.

A week later, I also visited Lords Cricket Ground – the home of cricket – to discuss the ground’s nascent outreach programme and potential for collaboration. Both visits helped give an impression of the distinct challenges that characterise a broader outreach agenda, beyond Uni Connect, and also a sense of how our work can creatively adapt to minimize barriers to HE. These perspectives were timely, seeing as the AccessHE Uni Connect Hub is now in the process of designing its own suite of events: the first catering to an emerging market of students who wish to pursue Degree Apprenticeships and the second tailored for the needs of Looked After Children in the capital.

Enjoying Team Spotlight?  Keen to learn more about and/or get involved with what we’re working on? Let us know your feedback and comments, however small, by contacting us.