AccessHE Team Spotlight – March/early April 2020

April 8, 2020

Spotlight

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 March and some of April, our Spotlight shone to reveal…

Richard, AccessHE Deputy Head

“I think it’s safe to say that this month has been the strangest of my professional life! The work routine of just four weeks ago now feels like an entirely different life and though I’m slightly better adjusted to the rhythms of remote working, it still seems to take its toll on productivity and emotions in unpredictable ways.

For me it has been a huge help to throw myself into the task of getting AccessHE Online…online, and very energising to see the commitment and creativity of my colleagues as we work together on that. Another big motivating factor is knowing what is at stake: it’s highly likely that the groups we support – the young and those from less advantaged backgrounds – will be impacted heavily by the covid-19 crisis, so the work of enabling them to access and make the most of opportunities such as HE study absolutely cannot stop. If anything, it must adapt to and grow under changed external circumstances.

That is exactly what we have been trying to achieve in the past few weeks with a switch to delivering outreach activity, our action forums, and our support for HE outreach teams online. For me that has involved lots of conversations with the team, with AccessHE members (see you all at our webinar on 21st April), with web developers and with delivery partners to establish a strategy.

The work has been challenging but also a real reminder of why we do what we do. Astonishingly I’m also yet to make any real howlers when it comes to using video conferencing software, though I’ve probably jinxed it now. I hope you’re all keeping safe and healthy, and finding ways of turning lockdown to your advantage. I’m being well-served by episodes of Tiger King and Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries, fwiw.”

Uni Connect Outreach Hub Coordinators: (Tayler, Michelle, Beth and Gerry): “Despite the disruption that we have all faced over the last month, the UniConnect Outreach Hub remains active and more vital than ever in providing information and guidance to learners during this turbulent time. Our members, as well as the local authorities and schools covered by the programme, have rallied hard to meet the demand place upon them. In a series of virtual events, from our first Virtual Coffee Morning to our new #AccessHEhour on Twitter, we have adapted and thrived in these difficult conditions. With new resources created everyday, we are building short term relief for the many parents, carers, and teachers who have been put under immense strain during this crisis.”

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