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New project to widen access to education


A University of Dundee led initiative aimed at making community-based further and higher education more accessible will be launched in Glasgow on Wednesday 17 May.

The Scottish Community Learning and Development Work-Based and Part-Time Training Consortium brings together four Scottish universities, 10 further education institutions and three community-based training providers from across Scotland.

Chaired by Ian Ball, vice-dean of the University of Dundee’s Faculty of Education and Social Work, the Scottish consortium aims to establish a national strategy designed to open up further and higher education to a wider audience.

“We’re aiming to make community-based, further and higher education more accessible through flexible, work-based and part-time training,” said Mr Ball.

“It is all about extending educational opportunities, particularly to people who would never normally consider going to university or into further education.

“There have already been a number of innovative projects in Scotland which have pioneered work-based and part-time education and training. This project provides the opportunity to build on past successes and create a national model to advance this type of training across the country.

“It ties in with the Scottish Executive’s social justice, social inclusion and community planning initiatives as it will improve opportunity in disadvantaged and isolated communities.”

Funded by a Scottish Funding Council for Further and Higher Education Strategic Change Grant and a Communities Scotland Learning Connections grant totalling almost £1 million, the project is managed by Dr Geoffrey Wallace, a sociologist recruited from the University of California.

The initiative also includes three project workers who will be tasked with gathering evidence of the value of this approach to individual participants, communities and neighbourhoods.

Their findings and the resulting strategic network of learning opportunities will be presented at a nationwide conference next Spring.

Hilary McNally | alfa
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