Study Higher annual access conference: Working with further education colleges and adult learners.

Friday 8th October 2021


(Please note the conference will be delivered entirely virtually)

Following the publication of the government’s white paper, Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity and Growth’, and the subsequentSkills and Post-16 Education Bill’ outlining a lifetime skills guarantee, we consider how access and participation work supports different learner journeys into and through further and higher education. 

Study Higher’s 4th annual conference aims to offer a platform to share research and widening participation practice with adult learners, learners studying in further education settings, and/or effective collaborations between FE and HE. 

More information about keynote speakers, presenters and the final agenda will be updated on an on-going basis.

*Please note, the call for papers has now closed. 


10:00     Welcome

Professor Gavin Brooks

Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Buckinghamshire New University


Chris Millward

 Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students


Sally Dicketts

Chief Executive of Activate Learning

11-11:15 BREAK

Please choose from the following options (links to be made available closer to the event):

11:15-12pm -EITHER workstream 1 or workstream 2

12-12:45pm -EITHER workstream 3 or workstream 4



Workstream 1: Uni Connect and FEC collaboration

Collaboration with FE colleges

Amy WilsonProject Manager, Go Higher West Yorkshire

“Case study of how Cirencester College have worked with Uni Connect and what has been most effective”

Dr Jane Fern – Strategic Development Manager, Cirencester College


Workstream 2: Adult learner insights and support

“What does an analysis of the Uni Connect Annual Survey 2020 tell us about the future plans and attitudes towards higher education of adult learners in East Anglia?”

Rebecca Middleton – Data and Evaluation Analyst, Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach (neaco) – University of Cambridge

“FEC access partnerships to support adults into HE”

Gemma Standen – Widening Participation Officer for mature students, UEA


Workstream 3: Supporting FE students with additional needs

Supporting ESOL students at FE colleges”

Emma Semi – Aspire Higher Project Officer, University of Bedfordshire

“Transitioning students effectively: a student-led approach to mental health support”

Zoe Mills – Project Manager, University of Lincoln


Workstream 4: Supporting adult learners in community and FECs

“Realising opportunities; sustainable approaches to supporting adult progression”

Olivia Garvey – Development Officer, Lifelong Learning Centre, University of Leeds

“The Jumpstart taster course, an example of university supporting adult learners.”

Fiona Chapel – Development Officer, Lifelong Learning Centre, University of Leeds

12:45- 1:45pm LUNCH

1:45pm Andy Forbes

HE and FE Practitioner, former head of three colleges: Hertford Regional, College of North East London and City & Islington College


Adult learner panel (speakers tbc)



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