The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and City of Bristol College have signed a partnership agreement that looks to help South Bristol residents get into university. Last year, South Bristol featured at the bottom of UCAS's university take-up league table for the whole of the United Kingdom in terms of young people's progression to higher education.
This partnership is seen as a new opportunity for the city's communities to access university level education through a local further education college. It sets out to support the local economy growth and create a positive long-term impact on plans to regenerate the area of South Bristol.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by UWE Bristol Vice-Chancellor Steve West and Principal and Chief Executive at City of Bristol College Lee Probert on Tuesday set out the establishment of a joint University Centre at the College's Hengrove campus.
School leavers and the College's existing students will be able to access the Centre to receive advice on how to plan for university admission and take advantage of the progression opportunities arising from this partnership. They will also be able to learn about industry-focused opportunities such as apprenticeships through UWE Bristol, City of Bristol College and Bottle Yard Studios, a TV studio facility that hosts a range of productions.
Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of England commented: “We are extremely happy to be partnering with City of Bristol College. Our focus will be on South Bristol, which currently has among the lowest take-up rates for higher education in the country. By working with the college, we hope to make the path to University a far smoother one for school leavers and show them that getting into university is a goal that everyone can reach.”
Lee Probert, Principal and Chief Executive at City of Bristol College said: “This is a truly wonderful opportunity to make a real difference to the communities of our city. The collaboration will create wider opportunities for engagement with higher education in South Bristol and signifies an important step in our partnership with the city's biggest university.
“It is our hope that this partnership will make a real difference to people of South Bristol, and provide a chance to study a higher education programme validated by UWE Bristol at the college's state-of-the-art South Bristol Skills Academy in Hengrove.”
Karin Smyth, South Bristol MP commented: “I've worked closely with City of Bristol College over the years, and it's clear to see the crucial role the college plays in post-16 education in Bristol South. This partnership working with UWE Bristol is a brilliant opportunity to help ensure that more young people in Bristol South are able to benefit from a university level education and the subsequent job opportunities it provides.”