From education to employment

New West Earlham centre to create opportunities for thousands of Norwich’s most underprivileged students

UEA outreach event

The prospects of reaching further education could become three times more likely for thousands of young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in Norwich, thanks to the opening of a new education centre in the city next year.

A new partnership between the University of East Anglia (UEA) and IntoUniversity, the UK’s largest university-access charity, has been announced and will see West Earlham Community Centre become the new venue for a learning centre for students aged 7-18.

Over half the funding for the centre will be provided by UEA, with five full-time members of staff being recruited to deliver after-school Academic Support sessions to Primary and Secondary school children, aspiration-building workshops in partnership with local schools and a mentoring programme with current university students and professionals.

The centre will be IntoUniversity’s first centre in Norfolk and aims to build on existing partnerships developed between local schools and UEA’s Outreach team.

Students will be able to access the centre for Academic Support after school Monday to Thursday during term time, and workshops with partner schools will run during the daytime throughout the week, with all daytime and evening sessions being appropriately socially distanced. The centre’s ‘pop-up’ facilities mean that West Earlham Community Centre will be available for use by the rest of the community during the remainder of the week.

In 2018-19, IntoUniversity supported more than 42,000 students across 31 centres and projects in 13 towns and cities. 71% of students who attend IntoUniversity centres go on to progress to university, compared with 26% of students from similar backgrounds nationally. Once established, the centre will benefit over 1,000 students a year.

IntoUniversity centres are based in the heart of local communities and support young people from 7 to 18, working closely with schools and families to sow the seeds of aspiration at a young age.

Charlotte Wheatland, Assistant Head of Outreach at UEA, said:

“UEA is a great believer in social mobility and giving every student the opportunity of reaching and achieving their goals in higher education. IntoUniversity’s record in providing the most disadvantaged young people in the country with this chance is as good as it gets and the centre is right on the doorstep of our campus, meaning we can continue to provide close support and resource to the project.

“So this partnership is great news for UEA because it reinforces what we stand for as an institution but also for Norwich because the many thousands of young people from the city who will use the centre in the coming years will benefit from a greater chance of achieving higher grades and expanding their career and life options.”

Dr Rachel Carr, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of IntoUniversity, said:

“We’re delighted to be partnering with UEA to open an IntoUniversity centre in Earlham next spring. The centre will be our first in Norfolk as the charity continues to reach out to new communities and support the young people who need us most. We are looking forward to building partnerships with schools and families in the local community to support students in Earlham to achieve their ambitions.”

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