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Unconditional Uni Offers Damage Workplace Diversity

Becs Roycroft, senior director of global emerging talent and reskill operations at mthree
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Reform is needed in the way in which students are allocated university places, as the current model, which gives unconditional offers to a lucky and often privileged few, further deepens the diversity gap in sectors like IT.

Because there is steep competition for what are seen to be the best students, universities unsurprisingly will do all they can to lure them in, and as a result diversity suffers. Currently, the ‘best’ candidates are deemed to be those with the highest predicted grades, however this isn’t necessarily the case. It is well documented that disadvantaged students at lower performing schools are, and continue to be, given lower predicted grades than they actually achieve, resulting in them missing out on offers to those at more prestigious schools.

After the exam chaos this year, reform of the current system to improve the fairness and diversity of future university graduates is long over-due. Awarding places on actual exam results rather than predicted grades will go some way to correcting current failures and disadvantages that Black or Minority Ethnic students face. A person should not be judged on the establishment they attend but rather their own personal performance.

As an example, 17 per cent of Cambridge undergraduates identify as Black or Minority Ethnic, 11 per cent at Oxford, and just 8 per cent at Exeter, illustrating the Russell Group’s struggle with diversity.

This is currently one of the key causes in lack of diversity in the workplace. Whilst universities are making some progress in efforts to promote diversity, scrapping unconditional offers and instead, promoting wider future career paths involving higher education, implementing financial incentives or even offering free technology, are just a few ways that those from ethnic minorities could be further welcomed and included within our higher education institutions.

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Businesses should also get behind this move, as promoting the option of university to those from a broad range of backgrounds will only benefit the future of their own diverse workforces. Sponsoring students and running internship or mentor programmes will increase the resources that students have access to.

Businesses themselves can also demonstrate what is required from future applicants at a much earlier stage, while school-aged students have the opportunity to impact their exam results and ultimately decide their own future.

Becs Roycroft, senior director of global emerging talent and reskill operations at mthree

mthree, a leading global technology training academy and talent provider, has recently announced the opening of its new Aspire 1000 Scholarship, that will launch the careers of 1,000 young people drawn from diverse backgrounds over the next 18 months. 

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