Brookes Bridges shortlisted for widening participation award

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

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Brookes Bridges, a programme of free short courses for adult learners from a disadvantaged area or background, has been shortlisted for an award from the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON).

The NEON Awards 2016 celebrate success in widening access to higher education, and also recognise the students who have progressed to higher education from disadvantaged backgrounds and their journey.  

Oxford Brookes has been running Brookes Bridges for seven years. In 2013 it was nominated in the Commitment to Widening Participation category of The Guardian University Awards.  

The courses are delivered by Oxford Brookes and partner colleges, in partnership with local community groups. In the past these have included South Oxfordshire Housing Association, Rose Hill Community Centre and The Sunshine Centre in Banbury.

The students doing the courses are inspirational and hardworking and I am always so impressed with their commitment. I enjoy being able to help raise their levels of understanding about higher education and study options and also equip them with skills and greater confidence.

Sobia Afridi, Brookes Bridges Manager, Oxford Brookes University

The courses offered cover varied subjects, such as community journalism, IT skills, English language, study skills, leadership and degree taster courses.  

Sobia Afridi, Brookes Bridges Manager at Oxford Brookes University said: “I am very proud that my Brookes Bridges project has been nominated, it is such a fabulous project that has enabled us to target and raise the aspirations of adult learners from disadvantaged and underrepresented communities in both Oxfordshire and the surrounding area.

“The students doing the courses are inspirational and hardworking and I am always so impressed with their commitment. I enjoy being able to help raise their levels of understanding about higher education and study options and also equip them with skills and greater confidence.

“They really change as their confidence builds and they start to take an important role in their community. It is a pleasure working with them.”

Brookes Bridges has been shortlisted for the NEON Widening Access Initiative (Outreach) Award and the ceremony will take place in London at the Palace of Westminster on 18 May. Gordon Marsden MP, Shadow Minister of Higher Education, Further Education and Skills will be hosting and presenting the awards.

More information about NEON can be found on their website.

Last month Oxford Brookes was one of 12 universities successfully chosen by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) to work on a new widening participation project.