UEL shortlisted for two Times Higher Education Awards
The University of East London (UEL) has been shortlisted for two prestigious Times Higher Education Awards in recognition of its outstanding community work and its role in widening participation in higher education.
The University has been nominated for the 2015 awards in the ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community’ category after impressing judges with its ground-breaking ‘Money Mentors and Money Champions’ programme.
Under the scheme, UEL students are trained to become money mentors to local school children – visiting schools, colleges and community centres to offer advice on budgeting, avoiding debt and how to be financially wise.
UEL has also made the shortlist in the ‘Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year’ category for the quality of its Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) service.
The IAG team provides one-to-one advice, taster sessions and preparatory courses for people interested in studying for a university degree, including mature students, those without formal educational qualifications and people in need of support with issues such as financial hardship or disability.
UEL Vice-Chancellor Professor John Joughin said: “I’m very proud of the commitment that our staff and students have demonstrated in securing the recognition that they so richly deserve.
“Each of the two shortlisted projects exemplify precisely the type of innovative and pioneering activity for which UEL is so well known.
“Money Mentors is a project which enhances financial awareness among pre-university students and, as such, reaches out to our local community in collaboration with our partner organisations.
“Our Information, Advice and Guidance team also offers a fantastic service in providing access to HE for those who live locally and beyond.
“This work forms part of our mission. As London’s leading university for civic engagement, we have always been proactive on the issue of financial exclusion – for our students, staff, and the local community – for a number of years.
“We are also committed to continue in reaching out to diverse groups in society, encouraging them to take their education to the next level with UEL.”
The IAG service is run by UEL’s Education and Community Partnerships department in collaboration with Birkbeck, University of London, who share UEL’s University Square Stratford building in east London.
Gail May, Head of Education and Community Partnerships, said, ‘We are delighted to be shortlisted for this award. The small team delivering the Information, Advice and Guidance service provide outstanding support to widening participation students, particularly mature students, to help make their ambition to progress to university a reality.
This is a unique collaboration between two institutions and we have worked together over a number of years to develop the foundations from which to offer this holistic and accessible service on behalf of the University of East London and Birkbeck, University of London.”
The Money Mentors and Money Champions programme is overseen by Dr Tim Hall, Head of Global Studies at UEL, who said: “Being shortlisted is humbling but also much appreciated recognition for everyone involved.
“I think it also helps to highlight the scourge of debt affecting the poorest communities, and the potential that universities and community groups have to address the problem and provide real solutions.”
The programme is provided in partnership with Money A+E and Citizens UK, with funding support from the National Lottery and Plaistow South Big Local.
The awards dinner and ceremony will take place on 26 November at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.