Hello Readers

The last two weeks have featured two key events for us; one of which involved a trip to Kensington Olympia, while the other we held ourselves within Birkbeck, University of London.

Last week Andrew and I ventured out of the office to attend the HE Show at Olympia Central. The venue was packed with advisers and academics from across the country.

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Julia Goodfellow, Universities UK, provided the opening keynote: ‘Brexit’ and the higher education sector. Within her presentation she highlighted the importance of access to the Erasmus scheme, and that 14% of academic staff are from the EU.

Sarah Howls provided HEFCE’s presentation, which covered the young participation goal, widening access funds, and the NCOP – of which we are a part.

Gino Graziano and Andy Howard from Sussex University delivered a presentation entitled: Widening participation through the First-Generation Scholars Scheme. They noted the importance of evaluation, stressed how critical the lifecycle approach is to success, and explained how they try to cultivate a positive attitude with their target cohort (not treating them as a special case). An impressive 79% of their first generation scholars have engaged with the scheme.

Before we headed back to the office we also heard a brilliant presentation on employability from Tim Reed, University of Kent. Kent host a month long employability festival each year, where a third of the events are run by employers. The university boosts engagement with their employability service through social media, and has a strong employability presence at open days.

This week Linking London’s NNCO hosted our event ‘The Learner Journey: supporting progression to HE’. The event was extremely well attended, and included workshops and presentations from our colleague at SOAS, Birkbeck University of London, King’s College London, The Student Loans Company, UCAS and Employers & Education. Many thanks to all who attended and contributed to this event, where practitioners shared best practice and enjoyed many networking opportunities.

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More from myself and the team next week.



As usual this week has been a busy one for the Linking London team. We are thrilled to (quietly) announce that our joint NCOP bid with Access HE and Aimhigher London South has been successful. This means that together we will run one of the new HEFCE funded National Collaborative Outreach Programmes, starting in January next year. Following this good news we met with our neighbouring networks on Monday to discuss more detailed plans for the project.

On Tuesday we held our first IAG Practitioner event of the academic year, which featured speakers from CLC, Goldsmiths University of London, and the Student Loans Company. The event was extremely well attended (there were barely enough seats) and discussions included modes of outreach, degree apprenticeships and unconditional offers.

Wednesday was the date of the ‘Evaluation of the National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCOs)’, which was held by London Metropolitan University.  Emily, our NNCO Project Officer, described the key points raised at the event upon her return:

“Overall all networks have had the focus of working in partnership collaboratively to help learners find out about HE and progress. As a result better relationships have been forged, learners and advisers have had their understanding and knowledge enhanced, and engagement has increased. The additional money from HECFE has enabled lots of innovative activities to take place.”

On Thursday Andrew (Deputy Director) met up with Birkbeck’s Caroline McDonald (Head of Widening Access and Retention) to discuss the university’s work with BTEC learners and their innovative Birkbeck Skills Programme.

On a final note we have been sending out even more copies of Andrew’s Studying Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions guide for Access learners this week. Any Linking London partners who would like copies of the guide should contact our team as soon as possible ( – they are proving rather popular!

More from myself and the team next week.