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Next Steps South West: OfS Extend Funding for Outreach Partnership

Next Steps South West’s work at Exeter College is set to continue as the National Collaborative Outreach Programme has been extended for a further two academic years, with a new completion date of 31 July 2021.

Established in January 2017, Next Steps South West (NSSW) operates out of 14 partner universities and colleges throughout Cornwall, Devon and Somerset with the aim of providing impartial advice to young people who are trying to navigate their journey to higher education.

At present the collaborative project has reached 81 schools/colleges and over 13,000 students in the South West and has now passed its mid-way review. The NSSW team at Exeter College delivered 50 activities during the last academic year and engaged with over 1,000 students in the local area.

Funded by the Office for Students, the project is designed to improve higher education progression from high-achieving students in areas of historically low engagement.

As the project moves in to Phase Two, the NSSW team at Exeter College will be able to continue their work in running a variety of tutorial sessions, events and additional support with both Exeter College students and other pupils in the local area. In addition, the extension in funding for Phase Two will mean NSSW can develop support and guidance for local schools so that teachers and careers advisers have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to outreach available in schools.

The University of Plymouth is the lead institution for NSSW and has been awarded an additional £5.5million to support the implementation of Phase Two. As lead institute, the University of Plymouth acts as a centre point for all regional outreach work, ensuring all schools and colleges can access transparent and impartial education outreach from a variety of providers.

University of Plymouth Deputy Vice-Chancellor for International & Planning Simon Payne said,

“We cannot underestimate the critical importance of outreach in a region known for low HE participation.

“As the partnership’s lead institution, we encourage diversity and proudly welcome students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Building upon the impact made in Phase One, our collaborative efforts will continue to transform the life chances of young learners throughout the South West.”

The NSSW team at Exeter College are gearing up for another year of outreach, with activities planned on women in STEM, business management and careers in medicine.

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