Farry encourages potential learners to ‘Reach Higher’
Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry has launched a new awareness raising campaign entitled ‘Reach Higher’ to promote widening participation in Higher Education.
The Minister said: “At almost 50%, Northern Ireland has the highest participation rate of any area of the United Kingdom in higher education. We also have the best record in the UK in attracting students from low-income backgrounds. Whilst we can be proud of this, much more works needs to be done to raise awareness of the potential value and accessibility of higher education to all who can benefit from it.
“The advertising campaign will target schools, communities and those in the workplace to raise awareness of the educational opportunities within higher education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“I am committed to ensuring that the people who are most able, but least likely to participate, are given every encouragement, opportunity and support to achieve the necessary qualifications to apply to, benefit from and succeed in higher education regardless of background, age, ethnicity, disability or gender. I would encourage those wanting further information to visit http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/skills or call .”
The Reach Higher campaign highlights additional support measures for disadvantaged students to sustain access for continuing participation in higher education. It also highlights inspiring stories of people who have successfully accessed higher education, overcoming barriers to enrich their own careers.
Caroline Birch, from East Belfast, is a mature student who left school with no qualifications. Caroline returned to study via the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) route and is now studying for a BSc Honours in Community Development at the University of Ulster. As well as studying for her Degree, Caroline works for Charter NI and helps out various organisations on a voluntary basis.
Caroline Birch said: “I wanted to develop my education and was determined to gain a higher education qualification to further my career, skills and knowledge. The level of support and mentoring I received from the university was excellent enabling me to overcome my barriers to learning. I would encourage anyone who wants to take the leap and Reach Higher as it has been a rewarding and positive experience for me.”