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Access All Areas: Truro and Penwith College Introduces Exciting Opportunities for Access to Higher Education Students

Truro and Penwith College has partnered with Falmouth and Exeter University to provide new opportunities for Access students in Cornwall.

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Published Tuesday 14 May 2024

Truro and Penwith College has introduced two new opportunities for its Access to Higher Education students.

The initiatives, designed to empower aspiring creatives and break down barriers to learning, include enrichment sessions for creatives and a pathway to Higher Education designed exclusively for mature students.

Truro and Penwith College is working in partnership with Falmouth University to offer the series of engaging online enrichment sessions, facilitated by Andrew Wallis, Head of School and College Partnerships at Falmouth University.

The sessions, tailored specifically for Access students in Creative Arts and Industry, provide invaluable insights into university life and a glimpse into the dynamic world of creative education and industry practices.

Conducted during current student’s tutor time, they included a personal statement workshop, a tour of Falmouth University with an opportunity to meet previous Access students, an online talk about opportunities in the sector with Falmouth University, a portfolio workshop and more.

Reflecting on their experience, students shared their enthusiasm for the programme.

“It gave a good insight into what university is like,” remarked one student, while another commended the supportive environment fostered during the sessions, stating: “everyone was very friendly and helpful in answering any questions we had.”

The practical workshops also received praise, with a participant noting: “Very useful feedback and discussion from the practical workshops,” praising the hands-on approach that enriched their learning journey.

Andrew expressed satisfaction in witnessing students’ growth and enthusiasm throughout the sessions. He emphasized the importance of such initiatives in empowering aspiring creatives and preparing them for the challenges and opportunities in the creative industry.

“It has been a real pleasure to be working with the Access students at Truro College over the last few months,” he said. “Not everyone has had a straightforward educational journey, so this Access course is a great way to continue that journey or look to re-skill themselves.

“During the programme, students got the chance to visit a university campus, many for the first time, to see how universities work. This was followed up with a series of on campus workshops giving an insight to Falmouth University’s courses. There were also workshops around preparing a portfolio, personal statement master classes and helping to de-myth how student finance works.

For me, it is great to see the journey these students have been on. This just shows how college Access courses and universities can work together to really make a difference. I am looking forward to working with Truro and Penwith College, the tutors, and students again on the next programme”.

In addition to the creative enrichment sessions, Truro and Penwith College, in partnership with Exeter University, has recently introduced the pioneering Mature Access Pathway. This pathway is designed to widen participation in Higher Education by offering a supportive environment for mature students. Through a blend of workshops, talks, and on-campus activities, students can experience a glimpse of university life firsthand, polish their study skills, and navigate the transition to Higher Education with confidence.

The Mature Access Pathway, which was launched in Truro and Penwith College this academic year, also includes social events and opportunities for students to access advice about finances, living matters and how to choose the right course at university. It forms part of the timetable of all Access to Higher Education students at the University Centre.

The first cohort of Mature Access Pathway students at Truro and Penwith college

Rey, who studies Access to Medicine, previously had to drop out of A Levels for health reasons. She now holds offers to study medicine at university.

Rey said: “I thought that was the end of my aspirations to become a physician, something I’d always wanted to do. Then I found out about Access courses, and I love being back in education. I definitely think I try a lot harder now I’m an adult. Being an adult, having that life experience, coming back into education is so much more rewarding to me. I feel like I’m going to do a lot better than I would have done even if things had gone perfectly during my A Levels.”

Jolene Hogan, Access to Higher Education Co-ordinator at Truro and Penwith College, said: “We are committed to widening participation, breaking down barriers to learning, creating better outcomes for students, and having a meaningful impact on social mobility.

“The Mature Access Pathway demonstrates the University of Exeter’s commitment to inclusivity and creating equality of opportunity for all. Our Access students found the workshops to be a valuable source of information and they now feel more confident and less apprehensive about progressing to university. They also have a better understanding of the financial and learning support that is available.”

So far this year, 17 students from Truro and Penwith College who took part in the Mature Access Pathway and applied to the University of Exeter have been given a guaranteed contextual level offer.

To find out more about Access to Higher Education at Truro and Penwith college, visit truro-penwith.ac.uk/access


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