Lancaster University announces new focus on lifelong learning and widening participation
Lancaster University is placing increasing importance on recruiting students from a wide range of backgrounds and on offering more flexible ways to study university-level courses. The University has just announced the launch of a new School of Lifelong Learning and Widening Participation, which came into being on 1 August 2005. The School will provide a range of opportunities that complement traditional degree courses and are open to all sectors of the community such as adults returning to learning, people wanting to further their career through higher level qualifications, and bright young people who are thinking about entering higher education. The main units of the School are the Department of Continuing Education (DCE) and the Centre for Training and Development (CETAD).
Keith Percy, Director of the School of Lifelong Learning and Widening Participation, explains: “This is an important development as it underlines how seriously Lancaster University takes its commitment to offering relevant, high quality learning opportunities in part-time and flexible formats. The School will be a main driver in the deliver of the University’s Fair Access Policy. The units of the new School already offer new Foundation Degree qualifications, a wide range of professional development opportunities at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and a very large programme of short courses around the region. Young people are offered the chance to experience university life through school visits and summer schools on campus, which encourage them to aim higher and to consider university as an option for their future.”
Professor Percy continues: “The School has considerable expertise in developing programmes that support and encourage people, whatever their age or background, to continue their learning and develop their full potential. We look forward to working in conjunction with other Lancaster University departments and partners across the region to continue to develop and enhance the opportunities that Lancaster University offers.”
The School has two Associate Members: the University’s Community Access Programme which is involved in research and development, and seeks to inform policy and enhance learning opportunities for groups of learners experiencing exclusion; and the Office of the Associated Institutions (OAI), which plays an important role in the region. The OAI validates and assures the quality of the higher education courses offered by Lancaster University’s associated colleges, which include Blackpool and The Fylde, Blackburn, Edge Hill and St. Martin’s Colleges.
Professor Percy says, “This is an exciting development both for the University and the region, and I believe the new School of Lifelong Learning and Widening Participation will make a real difference in developing increased opportunities for access to higher education.”