Picture caption: Careers & Employability Manager Ben Cocks
Bath College is recruiting for two new posts as part of a programme to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds access higher education.
Four full-time jobs for widening participation officers are being created in Bath and North East Somerset and Wiltshire as part of the Wessex Inspiration Network (WIN).
Local colleges, the University of Bath and Bath Spa University have joined together to form the network and secure funding for the new programme.
The new officers will work with specific community groups, including ethnic minority groups and young men from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Nationally, the government wants to improve social mobility and double the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in higher education by 2020.
Funding for the posts will come from the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) financed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
WIN has identified 13 wards in the region where progression to higher education can be improved. In Bath, this includes Southdown and Twerton.
Officers will work with groups to support them with activities, such as residentials, homework clubs and careers advice, as well as employer and university visits.
At Bath College, funding for a full-time widening participation officer will be split between two part-time roles.
The new officers will be part of the college’s futures team, which works to provide careers advice and increase employability opportunities.
Ben Cocks, who will be managing both roles at Bath College, said: “It is fantastic that we have secured this resource to aid us in further raising the awareness of higher education to people in Bath and the surrounding area.
“I strongly believe that we have a duty to make sure all young people should be made aware and encouraged to access all available types of learning and training.
“This two-year project will no doubt have a real impact on the local community and enhance the prospects of the young people involved.”
Annette Hayton, who is leading the project from the University of Bath, said: “We are proud to have been recognised by HEFCE as one of the successful consortia for this new programme.
“I have always been passionate about supporting young people to be able to take part and reap all the benefits higher education provides.”