Burnley UCLan aims to 'level up' opportunities in town
UCLan is one of a pioneering group of UK businesses and universities aiming to set a new and higher standard of boosting social mobility in Britain.
With a focus on its work in Burnley, the plan shares how the university will open up opportunities for the local people it serves, whatever their background or circumstances.
UCLan signed the Social Mobility Pledge in September 2020, which was co-founded by Justine Greening in 2018 after she left the Government, with entrepreneur David Harrison.
Professor Graham Baldwin, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire, added: “We are really proud to be part of Justine Greening’s national campaign. Our action plan further demonstrates our continued commitment and long-standing expertise in addressing social mobility.
‘‘We are delighted to share our experience from many years of pioneering outreach programmes and widening participation initiatives among communities across the North West and beyond.
“At UCLan we have always prided ourselves on being an open and accessible institution for people of all ages and all backgrounds helping people to seize every opportunity to flourish in education, at work and for life.”
The launch of UCLan’s Opportunity Action Plan is the culmination of months of work with the Social Mobility Pledge team, who identified UCLan as a pioneer in social mobility.
Thanks to its new health and social care facilities on its Burnley campus, the university is in a prime position to provide graduates for the jobs that will arise in its local community post-Covid-19.
UCLan works especially hard with groups such as care leavers, people with disabilities, those from Pupil Referral Units and former members of the military services.
UCLan’s ambitions in the action plan include continuing widening access and participation in higher education and ensuring that those with talent have equal access to opportunities. The plan also highlights how the University will continue to develop its work across Lancashire, focussing on the public sector and particularly the NHS.
Justine Greening said: “There is no doubt that progressing the levelling up agenda is fundamental to Britain’s future and a far wider effort is needed to combat Britain’s weak social mobility. But many of those solutions will need to be locally tailored and owned if they are to succeed.
"The work that UCLan is pioneering in Burnley and beyond can provide a template for others to look at how to tackle inequality, fill crucial key worker vacancies in the NHS and other public services and encourage genuine diversity in the organisations that underpin this country.”
"I hope many more universities will follow UCLan’s lead and consider how they can go further, faster to make Britain a high skilled, high knowledge economy."