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Widening Participation Outreach awards celebrate City’s work to reduce inequality

City’s programme aims to remove barriers to higher education for those in underrepresented groups


City’s ongoing commitment to reducing inequality in Higher Education has been celebrated at the Widening Participation Outreach Awards. Students and staff from City, local schools and external partners picked up awards at the ceremony that took place on Thursday 25th May 2017.

The Widening Participation Outreach team at City work with thousands of young people every year, helping them to discover the opportunities that Higher Education can provide. Through tutoring schemes, workshops, career talks and university visit days and taster weeks, the team aim to support the students’ studies and raise aspirations, helping them to achieve their potential. The scheme was established as part of a national programme to improve social mobility and to remove the barriers young people from underrepresented groups face when considering higher education, allowing them make well-informed decisions about their future.

The Widening Participation Outreach Awards, hosted at City, celebrated the contributions of all the people involved in the scheme who have helped to make it a success over the past year.

The winners

Tutor of the Year

Mohammed Amin

Mohammed has been a tutor at City & Islington College for three years. During this time, his support has enabled many students to pass their courses and exceed their expectations. He is patient with young learners, good at setting targets in class and in informing the learners about university life. This year in particular, Mohammed has worked to support a young learner who was on the verge of leaving the College. The student is now on track to obtain a merit.

Unimentor of the Year

Tania Huda

Tania is a committed, approachable and supportive mentor and a good role model balancing multiple priorities alongside her studies. She has helped the students she mentors to apply for applications, create revision timetables and to understand different career paths and industries.

Best New WP Student Ambassador

Rachel Preston

Rachel was nominated for the award for always going beyond expectations to help students, for being knowledgeable and calm in a crisis. The team describe her as a “great role model for students and even other ambassadors.”

WP Student Ambassador of the Year

Samantha Van-Velzen

Samantha has been recognised for her work at the careers information, advice and guidance sessions held during the university master classes and taster days. During these sessions, she has demonstrated strong behavioural management skills, assertiveness and leadership and always manages to get visiting students engaged in activities.

Outstanding Staff Contribution to Widening Participation

Emma Richards

Emma has been recognised for creating a supportive environment at City in which students can really thrive. Emma organises drop-in advice sessions to help students who need extra support, signposting to professional services who can help. She has dedicated her own time to attend widening participation conferences, and implementing mental health awareness workshops across the university.  Described by colleagues as “The Queen of Calm” and an “unsung hero” she is never too busy to help students who need it. The support she provides has really benefited those students from widening participation backgrounds who may be unfamiliar with the Higher Education environment and unsure of where to turn to for help.

External Service Provider of the Year

Jeremy King

Jeremy is a Chartered Civil Engineer who runs workshops for children and young people to introduce them to engineering. He works with City to run a number of team events, from Taster Weeks and Masterclasses to Spotlight Days and Visit Days. Jeremy’s enthusiasm and knowledge has made engineering fun, engaging and exciting for the students. The team say his fun and interactive approach fits exactly with the message the team aim to give to young people about higher education and future careers.

Student Workshop of the Year

Julian Coquet-Benka

Julian has been recognised for his self-designed Finances and Trading workshop, that he has delivered several times this year during visit days, weekend tutoring sessions and masterclasses. Julian's workshop has inspired students to relate positively to maths, aspire to Higher Education and push themselves to achieve. Julian is also adept at managing behaviour in workshops, allowing participating students to make the most of the activities. Julien’s skilful and polished trading workshop is self-contained, making it a perfect activity and one of the top engagement workshops the team provide.

Widening Participation and Outreach

Widening Participation is an initiative to help people from underrepresented groups  gives young people an insight into what it is like to study at university and where these studies might lead.  It raises students' aspirations, shows them how higher education could help them realise their ambition and supports them in reaching their potential.

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