Widening Participation Officer (Schools Partnerships)
The Edinburgh University Press
Edinburgh, GB
1d ago

Job Details

Job title : Widening Participation Officer (Schools Partnerships)

Support Department : Student Recruitment & Admissions (SRA)

Line Manager : Widening Participation Manager

UoE Grade 6 : £28,331 - £32,816

Full-time permanent post

2. Job Summary

Widening Participation (WP) recognises that not everyone has the same start in life nor the same opportunities to flourish and succeed educationally.

The University of Edinburgh has a long-standing commitment to WP from the most under-represented groups in our community : we aim to address these educational inequalities through our projects and outreach work.

Working to raise aspiration towards Higher Education and offer support, where possible, to remove those obstacles, so that individuals, regardless of their background, can make informed choices about their future built on their own ambitions and potential and fully pursue them.

YourEd, our schools partnership scheme, is of fundamental importance in tackling educational inequality. Designed for school and pupils who feel Edinburgh is not for them .

We take the university to them : sharing our resources and expertise to broaden a sense of belonging to Edinburgh. We work with 10 partner schools over 8 local authorities within a 50mile radius of Edinburgh.

Providing a 6 year programme of activities and support to engage WP pupils and the staff that support them : raising pupil attainment and aspiration (towards Edinburgh).

In this way, perceptions of our University will change, not only for students but their families and school staff, and with it our applicant pool and ultimately student body.

As a part of the WP schools team, you will be the main lead and public face of YourEd to prospective students and their teachers, parents and advisers and will be responsible for the day-to-day co-ordination, organisation and administration of YourEd.

You will be expected to plan all aspects of the YourEd project, and often in collaboration with other practitioners but sometimes alone, deliver activities.

As part of the University’s WP team, you will also be involved in our other schools projects, our general WP work, and wider Student Recruitment & Admissions core events such as Open Days.

3. Main Responsibilities

Organise, continually develop and review a high quality annual programme of on and off campus activities / events for schools (pupils, parents, staff).

These activities will include university-type experiences (sample lectures, campus tours, UCAS info sessions, student panels) and will aim to raise aspirations of under-represented young people, raise attainment, and ultimately increase participation in HE and Edinburgh specifically.

Create and maintain partnerships with relevant internal and external contacts establishing a co-ordinated approach to meeting the aims of the YourEd project and WP Schools team, ensuring that high quality activities are developed and delivered via these partnerships.

These will include academic staff, University Admissions colleagues, Student Association, University Students, University Professional Services colleagues (room booking, catering, IT), WP colleagues in other institutions and Scottish Schools and Colleges.

Undertake quantitative and qualitative monitoring and data analysis to inform evaluation and reporting on the delivery and impact of YourEd and other WP projects.

Provide specialist advice and support on applying to university including the UCAS and Admissions process.

Provide training, advice and support to University staff on WP issues. To respond to general enquiries on WP activities and strategy from both internal and external colleagues.

Contribute to our communications work with various stakeholders via social media, publications, presentations and website.

Overseeing the work of SRA interns and student ambassador when working n WP projects.

Contribute to wider WP / SRA activities to enhance recruitment and support in general, and from under-represented groups in particular.

4. Planning and Organisation

Leading the WP team’s YourEd project, alongside your other duties, requires the planning and management of an extensive annual programme of events (e.

g. school workshops, campus visit days, one-day conference, summer schools, teachers CPD, schools careers evenings) both on and off campus - and thereafter the monitoring, evaluation, development and improvement of the project.

This will involve (and will not necessarily be limited to) :

  • Developing an annual timeline with line manager;
  • Organising updates / planning meetings / timelines & tasks with members of staff and external agencies for collaborative events;
  • Ongoing communication with academic Colleges and Schools within the University around the WP agenda regarding opportunities to work with us and ways we can support them;
  • Attending and contributing to regular team meetings and other relevant meetings and committees.
  • 5. Problem Solving

    With limited resources, the delivery of effective and high quality outreach programmes responsive to the individual needs of students and their families requires prioritisation and planning.

    The activities must also aid the University in progress towards both internal targets and external benchmarks.

    An example would be developing appropriate information, advice and guidance tailored to the needs of students and their parents / family members from non-traditional groups on accessing higher education, combating negative perceptions, enhancing knowledge, and addressing skills gaps.

    A second example would be persuading staff from across the University of the importance of WP to HE, using qualitative and quantitative evidence to support these arguments, encouraging their involvement in activity that supports the University’s strategic aims and objectives.

    6. Decision Making

  • Devise effective ways of delivering events in a way that facilitates buy-in from and partnership with stakeholders meeting defined aims and objectives of the events.
  • Managing and prioritising competing priorities at busy times of the year.
  • Be the main point of contact for specified WP projects.
  • Represent WP / SRA at relevant meetings as requested by line manager.
  • 7. Key contacts / Relationships

  • Target school pupils; their teachers, schools senior management, advisers and parents
  • University students, including Student Ambassadors
  • University staff including academic and support staff (admissions, rooms booking, catering)
  • EUSA (student union) and EUSAS (sports union)
  • University central support services
  • Donors and funding bodies
  • WP colleagues in other institutions (universities, colleges) and organisations (LEAPS, Social Mobility Foundation, The Brilliant Club)
  • 8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience needed for the Job

    Essentials :

  • A University degree
  • Sound knowledge and understanding of the Scottish education system
  • An understanding and experience of supporting young people within an educational setting (University, College or other educational setting)
  • An understanding and empathy for the student groups targeted within widening participation programmes
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills (including presentation skills) including confident presenting workshops and facilitating sessions with pupils (in a group and one to one)
  • Excellent interpersonal skills : ability to work in a team environment, to build networks and promote good working relationships;
  • to communicate with a wide range of people, including school students aged 9-19 year olds, teachers / schools senior management, WP practitioners across institutions, University academics, local council officials and professional bodies.

  • Excellent organizational and planning skills; ability to develop plans and deliver on multiple projects simultaneously
  • Pro-active, demonstrate initiative, as well as the ability to self-motivate and work independently
  • The ability to travel (to schools / events / meetings) and work flexibly outside usual office hours (including occasional evenings and weekends) is essential
  • Able to work under pressure with a creative approach to problem-solving
  • Good IT skills; experience in the use of social media and the working environment
  • Desirable :

  • Full, clean driving licence
  • Qualification or experience of working within a guidance or Information, Advice and Guidance role / project
  • 9. Dimensions

    SRA engages with in excess of 50,000 prospective students, their families and advisers each year. The University is highly devolved and communication or articulation of planning can present challenges.

    10. Job Context and other relevant information

  • The job is carried out in the context of both the University’s Widening Participation Strategy and the national agenda as set by the Scottish Funding Council.
  • Need to be flexible to adapt to work commitments e.g. covering out of hours events (evenings and occasional weekends)
  • Will require to be PVG checked once in role
  • SRA’s mission is to lead the design, development and implementation of the University of Edinburgh’s strategy for student recruitment, admissions, widening participation and orientation.

    We do this by making effective use of research and market intelligence and providing both internal and external stakeholders with expert information, advice and guidance, empowering them to make good decisions.

    The department’s values are :

  • Professional : we are experts and skilled practitioners : adept communicators, analysts and strategic thinkers.
  • Collaborative : we work in partnership with colleagues within and beyond the University, forming valuable networks and teams.
  • Constructive : we are helpful, supportive, reliable and trustworthy.
  • Creative : we are innovative, inspiring, proactive and flexible.
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