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Measuring the social good through a widening access approach: An analysis of BeWEHL Suzannah Evans BeWEHL Initiative at The University of Wales, Newport.

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Presentation on theme: "Measuring the social good through a widening access approach: An analysis of BeWEHL Suzannah Evans BeWEHL Initiative at The University of Wales, Newport."— Presentation transcript:

1 Measuring the social good through a widening access approach: An analysis of BeWEHL Suzannah Evans BeWEHL Initiative at The University of Wales, Newport

2 An analysis of BeWEHL Bettering Wellbeing, Education, Health and Lifestyle Widening Access Overview of BeWEHL Initiative BeWEHLs approach and curriculum Progression pathways Increased wellbeing Ripple effect on children

3 The Universitys mission is to: Inspire and enable individuals, organisations, and communities to succeed through innovation in high quality learning, research and enterprise

4 University of Wales, Newport Widening Access Aims 1. To provide accessible and appropriate engagement and progression opportunities in communities, workplaces and on campus, prioritising Community First areas, under-represented groups and those with protected characteristics 2. To provide flexible responsive curriculum offers grounded in identified need 3. To achieve clear progression pathways to and within Higher Education, ensuring that our offer is accessible and focused on meeting Welsh Government and Institutional Equality and Diversity objectives

5 BeWEHL Overview Developed from social action research in 2000 Students are co-researchers Empowering goal of enhancing self-esteem and confidence To take active roles within own communities Its like this whole massive world has opened up that I didnt even know existed – someone let me out of my box

6 BeWEHL Approach and support Informal feel to sessions, particularly within the community Support and guidance relating to, for example, finances, housing, depression, disability, childcare, Social Services and information on careers and courses Students receive personal tutorial support tailored to meet their needs Range of support needs, for example. Dyslexia, lack of IT experience, study skills, lack of confidence Its like this whole massive world has opened up that I didnt even know existed – someone let me out of my box

7 BeWEHL - Curriculum Group Research Skills Developed to provide non-traditional students with preparatory research, group and communication skills that are essential for successfully conducting small scale group research projects Research an issue of importance to them Learners control the pace and direction Research gathered is presented to relevant authority so action can be taken Its like this whole massive world has opened up that I didnt even know existed – someone let me out of my box

8 BeWEHL - Curriculum Research Skills The Research skills model encourages students to discuss what they feel is important to their own research by being encouraged to: identify an area of interest and aims of the work to apply appropriate research methods plan and carry out a small scale research project evaluate and reflect on the research approach analyse the data collected disseminate their findings as appropriate Examples of topic areas: Post natal depression, gender equality, domestic violence, Communities First Its like this whole massive world has opened up that I didnt even know existed – someone let me out of my box

9 BeWEHL - Curriculum Community Development Familiarise with policy, principles and practice of community development Identify an area if community interest Organise and conduct a community event Evaluate and reflect on practice Present results of the effectiveness of their community engagements Examples of topic areas: Healthy eating, debt advice, awareness of substance misuse, young peoples sexual health, improving education achievement Some of the subject areas undertaken: Its like this whole massive world has opened up that I didnt even know existed – someone let me out of my box

10 BeWEHL Progression: HE study Community Work, English and Creative Writing, Early Years, Psychology and Counselling, Criminal Justice, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Sports Studies, Medicine, Nursing FE study CACHE Childcare, Midwifery Several students are now studying at Masters level The project gives you a better perspective on life; it gives you the opportunity to reflect and encourages you to do what you want to do

11 BeWEHL Progression: Voluntary roles and community engagement Setting up of support groups Active role at Local Partnership Boards and community organisations Employment Development officers and workers, community support workers, parent advisor at local county voluntary council, working within schools, researchers, voluntary support [I have gained] motivation, friends. I wouldnt go back to being at home now if the project finished. I have been empowered, and now have enough motivation to continue

12 BeWEHL Wellbeing: Reducing isolation Empowerment through collective action Improving confidence and self-esteem Increased sense of wellbeing Raising aspirations Engaging in education and training Volunteering and community involvement Career development Children: Ripple effect Breaking down perceptions of HE Viewing HE as an option and the norm BeWEHL made me realise how important the community is where we are…… and getting involved. Theres more I want to do for it now

13 BeWEHL Students and educators are part of a learning journey that contributes significantly to an intergenerational concept of the social good We undertake personal statements at the start, during and end of their journey with BeWEHL Annual focus groups Quantitative research is on-going but provisional results show that participation has broken down the perceptions and barriers to HE with children having aspirations to study at degree level In fact, of the students, who was with the initiative from the start, is now studying Medicine at University The project gave me the opportunities to see myself in a different light, to see that I could do other things

14 Outcomes BeWEHL learners have without doubt benefited from the academic skills training as well as work experience built in to much of its delivery On leaving the project many take up work for the first time 92% of Research Skills Training participants achieve 20 credits at level four More than half of the students continue to further education at either HE or FE Former BeWEHL researchers have obtained BA degrees 20% of BeWEHL learners remain active in their local community 5 years after participation with the project Each learner will conduct a community based research project on a subject within their community. Many of these have provided data for bidding proposals and community development The BeWEHL project increases your self-awareness about what you want for yourself as an individual

15 BeWEHL Ongoing support once have moved on, such as: Professional development support Welfare advice Social Events: Annual family summer trips Christmas and Summer social evenings Attending International Women Day dinners Support, encouragement, friendship, understanding…theyre all things the project has given me, definitely

16 BeWEHL How are these experiences useful in terms of informing other strategies towards a widening access agenda? It is about the whole experience and not just the qualifications Gaining self confidence to undertake the study Bite size learning supports progression towards HE and employability

17 How does your institution support widening access? Within an output driven environment how can we support the softer outcomes? Suzannah Evans BeWEHL Initiative The University of Wales, Newport

18 Thank you Questions? Suzannah Evans BeWEHL Initiative The University of Wales, Newport


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