The University of Nottingham support for care leavers accessing university provision is divided in to three areas;
1. General Outreach
- campus visit days specifically for pre-16 and post-16 care experienced students
- care professionals’ day to help those involved in supporting looked after children to understand more about university and the support available for students
Outreach for care professionals is particularly important as student feedback indicates a knowledge gap. “My Personal Adviser hadn’t worked with someone going into Higher Education before me and didn’t know what support I could get from the university.”
2. Pre-Entry support
- contextual offer for care experienced students
- optional pre-entry meeting with a widening participation team member and subject academic or financial services representative, if requested
- access to 51 week accommodation, postponement of first payment deadline until student finance payments are received and the need for a guarantor is waived
- practical help is offered with moving into accommodation and completing a first shopping trip
- welcome pack provided to help students settle in
- invitation to Kickstart (transitional support sessions during welcome week)
Students who have received the pre-entry support say;
“I think the pre entry meeting is an amazing idea and something I didn’t receive at my previous institution. It’s amazing that you get flagged up as a care leaver or mature student and signposted to the relevant sources of help.”
“I’d got a pre entry meeting set up with [staff member] who was amazing. They convinced me to take the maximum student finance as I was eligible. The WP staff also helped me apply for student finance and introduced me to the extra bursaries which of course continue to help take some pressure away and were really good to know about.”
“It was amazing to have so many people at the university approach and email me knowing what they were talking about and following through on their advice!”
3. Post-Entry Support
- financial support: the Nottingham Potential Bursary of £1000 per year and potentially the University Core Bursary of up to £1000 per year (for 2020 entry)
- invitation to coffee and cake sessions throughout the year to maintain regular contact with widening participation staff
- follow up emails to ensure that students are receiving eligible bursaries
- dedicated care leavers’ mentor who offers ongoing support throughout the year
Students who have received the support say;
“With regards to the university so many people have been of use and I’ve never felt like I’ve got to go it alone – I’m now proud to say I receive help and I put it to good use, such as now mentoring care leavers myself and convincing them to take and ask for all the help they can while they can.”
“[Staff] have all provided me and others with a safe space and network I can go to.”
The University of Nottingham are a pilot institution in the development and testing of the NNECL Quality Mark framework to improve support for care experienced people in colleges and universities. We will be using this framework to further focus our work so that it follows the best practice identified and is effectively evaluated.
2. A Robust Employment Offer
The University of Nottingham is a diverse employer that welcomes applications from all walks of life. The University has a wide range of opportunities for those looking to join a workplace with a commitment to an inclusive culture.
All of our job opportunities can be found at www.nottingham.ac.uk/jobs/currentvacancies/index.aspx
The University of Nottingham provides a programme of support for all new apprentices with the aim of developing skills needed to be successful in the workplace. Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of areas including business administration, accountancy and engineering.
If you have any queries regarding apprenticeships at the University of Nottingham, please contact Claire Cawthorne – . Claire is available to provide advice regarding the application process for any care leavers wishing to apply for an apprenticeship at the University.
To support you when you begin employment at the University of Nottingham, you will be invited to a Welcome Event where you can meet other new starters, find out about many of the University’s departments and meet staff you will be working with later. We will also provide you with relevant training and development to help you to understand the university via a dedicated online portal for new staff.
As an employee who is a care leaver, you are also able to access advice and support via a dedicated Care Leaver’s mentor. A mentor will be able to support you as you find your feet and settle into your role at the University, from pointing you to the best lunch spots, to giving you space to share your learning on the job and to ask questions about the university environment.
As part of our ongoing commitment to the Care Leaver Covenant, the University will review and develop its support for care leavers.