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Widening Access

The Widening Access team works to increase the number of young people and adults from underrepresented backgrounds who progress to higher education.  Through different activities, we work with young people and adults, parents and teachers to raise awareness of higher education, to provide information and debunk myths, to address barriers and to increase knowledge of university and the application process.

Access is one of the three lifecycle stages at Brunel and works to meet the aims and targets set in our Access and Participation Plan.

Areas we cover: We work in the west London boroughs of Hillingdon, Hounslow, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Harrow.  We also work with schools in the Thames Valley, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire.

Who we work with

We work with young people from primary school through secondary school and into sixth form as well as mature students.  We aim our activities at students who demonstrate the potential to achieve the entry requirements for higher education and who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Are from a low participation neighbourhood  
  • Attend a school or college where students may not traditionally progress to university 
  • Are eligible for free school meals or Pupil Premium funding 
  • Have a disability 
  • Are from a military family 
  • Are or have been looked-after by a local authority 
  • Are estranged from their family 
  • Are a young carer 
  • Are from a Gypsy, Roma or Traveller community 
  • Are a mature student who will be studying for their first degree aged 21 or over How can we help?

What we do

We work with targeted primary, secondary and post-16 education providers and deliver a range of one-off activities and events, as well as long-term programmes to support the groups listed above.

We have currently moved our activity online and are able to deliver presentations and support virtually.  Our presentations are designed to build knowledge and increase awareness of higher education, and cover a range of topics, including:

  • Why go to university
  • Researching courses and universities
  • UCAS and applying to Higher Education
  • Personal statements
  • Student finance
  • Student life
  • Preparing for/transitioning to university – advice and tips (Year 13)

Our face to face activity is currently on hold, but includes:

Activities on campus

  • Primary, secondary and post-16 campus visits, made up of a range of talks, workshops and a campus tour
  • Summer schools and residentials
  • An annual Disability Awareness Day
  • Bespoke events for particular groups

Activities off campus

  • Talks and presentations for students, parents and community groups
  • Attendance at parents and options evenings
  • Attendance at careers fairs and events
  • Workshops in school

You can get in touch with the Widening Access team by emailing widening-access@brunel.ac.uk.

Supporting success

We support students throughout their time at Brunel:

To help students from particular backgrounds develop essential employability skills and progress to graduate level jobs:

  • A student ambassador programme, providing training and part-time employment for students from widening access backgrounds to support our widening access activities.
  • Brunel Summer Internship Programme for eligible first year undergraduates.
  • Brunel Professional Mentoring Programme is a career focussed mentoring scheme which connects students from underrepresented backgrounds with experienced professionals to develop their planning and interpersonal skills.