An asset-based approach to widening participation for young people in Cumbria

Grabrovaz, Meaghan ORCID logo ORCID: , Goodwin, Victoria ORCID logo ORCID: and Grimwood, Tom ORCID logo ORCID: (2020) An asset-based approach to widening participation for young people in Cumbria. Health and Society Knowledge Exchange (HASKE).

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Hello Future forms part of Uni Connect (previously known as National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) until January 2020) funded by the Office for Students. The programme aims to drive rapid progress towards achieving the Government’s goals to double the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in Higher Education (HE) by 2020, increase by 20 per cent the number of students in HE from ethnic minority groups and address the under-representation of young men from disadvantaged backgrounds. Hello Future is a partnership of local universities, colleges and employers who are committed to improving access to higher education for young people in Cumbria.

The work of Uni Connect programmes and others has shown a growing awareness of a number of hidden perspectives and assumptions about cultural capital in much ‘mainstream’ Widening Participation (WP)1 outreach work. For example, there has often been an assumption that whilst WP students may have plenty of social capital, what they are missing is the cultural capital that more ‘traditional’ HE students may have access to, and as such conventional WP seeks to remedy this. However this reflects a ‘deficit’ model of outreach, whereby capital is identified in terms of what the student lacks, almost exclusively from the perspective of the HE institution. Such a model risks overlooking a number of already-existing skills, traits and characteristics which may benefit a student at University. The cultural capital of HE entrants is, on this view, socially formed predispositions, predilections and forms of knowledge that equip individuals, in turn, with competence in deciphering new cultural practices.

Yet students may also hold a range of different social and cultural capital, which provides the capability for success at HE and beyond. Rather than assuming a deficit model amongst WP students and potential students, work should be done to identify existing tools and predilections for engaging in cultural practice.
These are the ‘assets’ available to the young people targeted by outreach programmes. As such, an asset-based approach aims at mapping and engaging with the resources – institutions, persons, activities and so on – that provide such capital; as well as understanding how young people interface with such assets, and possible enablers and obstacles for this.

This report documents the research commissioned by Hello Future to investigate the role of assets in the provision of social and cultural capital for young people in Cumbria. The aims of the project were to:
- Identify the critical facets of an asset-based approach to Widening Participation for young people from Cumbria.
- Using these facets, and other information, to create an asset-based approach (to WP) for young people from Cumbria.

The research consisted of three stages:
1. a literature review of a range of academic and policy literature together with evidence gathered in HASKE’s previous work in this area;
2. primary data collection from interviews with key stakeholders: namely, individuals who bridged both the current landscapes in target learner communities (i.e. HELLO FUTURE wards) and level 4-6 settings ie FE/HE and degree apprenticeships; and
3. collection of feedback and analysis on the draft map of assets by strategic-level stakeholders in Hello Future, in order to link the data from practice to policy and management-level contexts and mechanisms.

Item Type: Report
Publisher: Health and Society Knowledge Exchange (HASKE)
Departments: Health and Society Knowledge Exchange (HASKE)
Additional Information: This research was commissioned by Hello Future and conducted by Health and Social Knowledge Exchange (HASKE) at the University of Cumbria.
Depositing User: Laura Snell
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2021 09:27
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 10:47


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