Taster sessions break down barriers to higher education
The sessions were organised by academics in the School of Health and Community Studies and CommUNIty, an initiative that builds sustainable partnerships between voluntary/community organisations and Leeds Beckett with an emphasis on projects focused on health and wellbeing.
A group of 12 participants from groups who are under-represented at university attended five taster sessions in Health and Social Science subjects, followed by a practical session providing information on admissions and finance.
The sessions, which ran between June and August, were delivered by academics from Youth Work and Community Development, Psychology, Sociology, Playwork and Politics.
Following the sessions, feedback from the participants was extremely positive with two participants successfully applying to Leeds Beckett and beginning the Youth Work and Community Development course in September and two further participants enrolled on foundation courses with a view to starting university courses in September 2017.
Speaking about the success of the project, Susan Coan from the CommUNIty team said: “Opening up the physical space of our university is a key factor in breaking down barriers about higher education and dealing with misconceptions. We were delighted at how the sessions were received and how they created a supportive, inclusive environment to talk to the participants about higher education opportunities.
“From speaking with the tutors it is clear that the participants were engaged and enthusiastic about the sessions and gained confidence, knowledge and new friends as a result of attending. They learnt about different university subjects, how courses are structured and what is expected of students alongside practical knowledge relating to finances and how to apply. As a result of attending the courses the participants were able to make informed decisions about their future and also share their university experience with their communities.”