The University is taking a national lead in safeguarding access to a university education with the launch of a pioneering regional scheme to inspire young people to aim higher.

The Birmingham and Solihull Aimhigher regional partnership, which was launched on Wednesday 19th October, brings together four of Birmingham’s universities - University of Birmingham, Aston University, Birmingham City University and University College Birmingham, with the aim of giving young people from disadvantaged backgrounds access to exciting activities to motivate them to achieve their potential.

The partnership was set up after the national, Government-funded Aimhigher programme came to an end in July 2011. This loss galvanised local universities, schools, academies and colleges to work together to ensure young people from less well-off backgrounds are not deterred from a considering university education and the opportunities that brings.

Professor Karen O’Brien, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education) comments: “The new AimHigher scheme is part of Birmingham’s ambitious plans to build on our successful record in promoting fair access to University. Working with partners across the city the new partnership will help significant numbers of young people progress to University from families and communities who have little or no experience of higher education.

Birmingham was a university founded for the city and we hope that the new partnership will provide exciting and challenging activities to motivate and inspire a new generation of young people from Birmingham to experience higher education.”

Simon Hughes, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, who launched the partnership, applauded Birmingham’s commitment to supporting a regional Aimhigher partnership.

“Similar projects have been set up - but I believe the Birmingham model is significant in that it has proudly retained the Aimhigher brand. With this come the values and legacy of the hard work which has inspired a generation of young people to believe that a university education was the right option for them.

“I look forward to seeing the results of Birmingham and Solihull Aimhigher. I am really confident that this scheme will support people across the West Midlands in their aspirations in the years ahead and I congratulate all the partners on the way they have pulled together to make this project a reality.”

Case Study

Nazmul, a year 12 student at a large co-educational comprehensive school comes from an exceptionally large Bangladeshi family of limited means. His parents have been supportive throughout his education and are keen to see him progress to university. They have no experience of higher education themselves, and so have encouraged Nazmul to participate in the full range of Aimhigher activities to extend and deepen his knowledge of the sector. At the beginning of year 10, Nazmul was quite keen to move into higher education to study for a degree in finance or business management. This interest had been stimulated a few years earlier by campus visits to several prestigious universities, including Birmingham, as well as involvement in the Aimhigher roadshow. As a result of further campus visits, together with participation in masterclasses and guidance sessions, his focus turned to medicine. In the knowledge that this would require a first-class performance in his examinations, he attended the full range of after-school revision classes and study skills sessions. At the end of year 11, Nazmul achieved one of the best set of GCSE results in the school, gaining six A* and six A-grades.