Employer Blog: An award-winning outreach collaboration combatting socio-economic cultural bias in universities
May 25, 2023 | Social Mobility Commission
Following on from last week’s Employer Masterclass: Outreach and Social Mobility, Enterprise shares with us how the award-winning outreach programme they have developed with a partner has impacted the lives of many young students at university.
Enterprise formed a partnership with TG Consulting, an educational and employability consultancy whose focus is on diversity and inclusion. Together, we co-delivered TG Consulting’s RE:ACTION 24/7 programme for seven British universities to deliver a unique training programme creating provision for over 3,000 students from lower socio-economic backgrounds to instill in them confidence, belief and acceptance of who they are and what they can achieve. And the programme happened to win an award, too!
The group of universities involved had a higher-than-average percentage of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, forming a cross-section of the country from London, Wales, the North-East, North-West and the Midlands.
The RE:ACTION 24/7 programme was tailored by TG Consulting for the needs of the diverse student population within the partner institutions. Themes and topics were crafted with input from over 40 young people to ensure that they met the bespoke needs of students and their ambitions.
The inspirational outreach initiative included a mix of talks from aspirational and representative speakers, workshops and reflection sessions and each week culminated with virtual panel sessions from Enterprise employees, each discussing how their diverse backgrounds have impacted their employment choices and opportunities in life.
To measure the programme’s impact, Enterprise and TG Consulting collected data via online questionnaires before and after the students’ participation. This was critical to establishing a safe, trusting, and open environment where students could participate fully and use the questionnaire as part of a self-reflective toolkit, to observe their own attitudes, opinions, or perceptions about themselves. The respondents’ data recorded increases of 258% in overall feelings of belonging, 143% in overall feelings of confidence and 171% feeling confident in their career aspirations.
Student involvement in the programme’s development resulted in participants’ affinity with the themes covered and helped to ensure that students benefited as much as possible. This co-creation has been cited as a reason for strong registrations for the course.
The RE:ACTION 24/7 programme has been a huge success. It was recognised with an Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Award from the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) and its achievements have led to the programme’s renewal for the next academic year with the aim to inspire 8,000 more university students.
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