AccessHE Team Spotlight – May 2020

June 5, 2020

How are we in June?! 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 learn about the AccessHE team and what we’ve been up to over the past month. Throughout May, our Spotlight shone to reveal…

Tanyel (London Programmes Coordinator): “After a tricky start adjusting to new routines and way of working, we’re now in full swing with the AccessHE Action Forums. It’s been quite a big project transitioning our services online and carving out the virtual “AccessHE Communities” of practice. I’m pleased to say that across the board, they’re growing quite steadily. We’re engaging across the Forums via Microsoft Teams and have met with almost all the Forums via Zoom, with no real tech issues – touch wood! The focus for our first set of meetings across the board has, understandably, been responding to new ways of working and providing an open platform for colleagues to ask questions, share practice and approaches to the challenges in supporting underrepresented learner groups in light of the covid-19 crisis. It’s certainly a challenging period for both staff and students. We’re seeing a huge willingness to engage now more than ever across the membership and I hope to ride this momentum with the membership through the production of co-created e-Briefing / resources with each Forum over the coming weeks.”

Gerry (Uni Connect Outreach Coordinator – NW London): “Over the past few weeks the Outreach Hub have been looking forward to delivering online outreach to learners. We successfully held an event on degree apprenticeships working with amazing apprenticeships and Pearson College London. Our first step into the virtual outreach delivery was exciting and allowed us to not only explore new platforms and modes of delivery but how we can ensure we safeguard young people online! We are looking to continue supporting careers leaders with collaborative events before the end of the academic year. Additionally we are looking at how to support parents in an online world. I held a focus group with parents and mature learners to understand their needs and wants around higher education information advice and guidance. Now more than ever may be a time of uncertainty but also a opportunity for adults to return to education. Knowing the support available is an important role widening participation can play to increase confidence in applications to higher education for all.”

Uni Connect Schools: (Naz & Mair): “On Wednesday this week Naz and I started interviewing for the AccessHE Student Advocate Programme. The programme will involve a cohort of student ambassadors delivering outreach activity to young people in London as part of the Uni Connect Programme. As a result of covid-19, the initial focus will be on pre-recorded and live online content delivery, with the intention to expand to face to face delivery when we are allowed back in to schools/colleges. This is a great opportunity to utilise our member universities’ student ambassadors, drawing on their subject specialisms and knowledge of university life. So far, we have enjoyed talking to the ambassadors about their experience delivering online outreach and out of the six online interviews we conducted, we only had one technological blip – not bad!

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