Napier welcomed two senior politicians to Craiglockhart to hear about
our widening access work.
Somerville MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, met students from
various universities across the country at a Universities Scotland event on the
also took part in a Q & A hosted by Peter Tormey from our Widening
Participation team which shone a spotlight on the students’ experience
throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and the support they have received from their
respective widening access teams.
Leo Docherty MP, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, also paid a visit to
the campus yesterday to hear about how the University provides higher education
and employment opportunities to armed forces veterans.
higher education sector is currently celebrating its achievement of the interim
widening access target set by the Scottish Government.
Somerville hosted a group discussion with students whose routes into university
are considered non-traditional as a way of recognising the sector’s progress on
included students with experience of care, students who progressed into
university through college, and students who attended summer schools. The
Cabinet Secretary listened to the students’ experiences of university and
learned about the support they have received from their institutions throughout
is a significant milestone in universities’ commitment to widening access as
it’s the year that the Commission on Widening Access (CoWA) recommended that
16% of university entrants should be from SIMD20 backgrounds with an overall
aim to reach 20% by 2030. With the latest figures showing that 16.4% of
students were from SIMD20 backgrounds in the academic year 2019/20,
universities have hit the interim target two years ahead of schedule.
Somerville said, “There’s real enthusiasm in the university sector for the
widening access agenda and that’s been demonstrated by the fact that this
interim target has been met. It’s a real demonstration that the sector is
committed to working with government and others to make sure that we deliver
for young people.”
added, “I think the important thing I learnt from the students today is that
their experiences within Covid have been difficult and challenging, and we need
to also take into account how we come out of Covid and continue to support
experiences that they have had within Widening Access have been really really
good to listen to because it shows if you can give personalised support at the
time that’s right for that person then they can see the real opportunities
ahead of them at university and beyond. It’s been really heartening to hear the
really positive experiences that these young people have had over the most
difficult couple of years that we could all have imagined.”
Docherty discussed all our military-related work, including research projects
and transitioning into the sector from armed forces life, with Edinburgh
Napier’s Dr Gerri Matthews-Smith, Claire Biggar and Fiona Forrest-Anderson.
Napier was the first university in Scotland to receive a gold award from the
Ministry of Defence that recognises its commitment to the armed forces
Defence Employer Recognition Scheme showcases employers who have signed the
Armed Forces Covenant and are actively supporting the armed forces community,
including ex-service personnel and their families.
Docherty hailed the University’s “amazing work in promoting education in the
serving community and also in the veteran community.”
added, “We’re really keen that people see an armed forces career as a way of
gaining skills and getting a brilliant career in the civilian world afterwards.
I’m really impressed by the research and studies they are doing here in
Edinburgh Napier. It’s been a fascinating time.”