Manchester Metropolitan University has launched a unique scheme aimed at ensuring the opportunity of a university education is available to as many people as possible.
Their ambitious First Generation campaign will identify gifted and talented children from families with no university experience.
Targeting Manchester sixth form college students who have excelled in their GCSE examinations, First Generation will help the brightest young people to secure an undergraduate place at university and then, for those who choose Manchester Metropolitan, provide them with continued professional and personal support throughout their studies, to graduation and into employment.
Participants will also receive a £1,000 First Generation Scholarship. The goal is to ensure that young people from all socio-economic backgrounds are represented on campus. The first cohort of 50 First Generation students will be selected in March 2017 and granted a free summer school place. They will be supported in completing their university application and mentored. If successful in meeting the requirements of the scheme, they will start their undergraduate degrees in September 2018.
It is hoped that the First Generation campaign will raise the funds to support 500 young people by 2020. First Generation’s success is a personal goal for the Vice-Chancellor Professor Malcolm Press, a First Generation founder donor, and the first member of his own family to attend university. In his first major fundraising initiative as Vice-Chancellor, he is urging financial support from individuals, businesses and groups who have a stake in the future of young people in Greater Manchester.
He said: “I firmly believe that universities transform people’s lives. They allow them to discover who they are, to be who they want to be, and achieve their ambitions.
“I think it’s very important to encourage people with an ability, at an early age, to be ambitious, to be confident, and to think about how going to university can change their lives,” he says.
“First Generation is a really exciting campaign. It’s about getting people who have had no familial experience of university into university. We need more people who can benefit from a university education because it’s good for them, it’s good for society, and it’s good for Manchester.”
Every pound raised through First Generation will go directly towards supporting students, with the University covering its own costs. A £10,000 donation will provide funding for five young First Generation students and the campaign has already attracted strong support from individual and corporate donors alike.
Another First Generation founder donor is Vanda Murray OBE. As well as serving as Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Governors at Manchester Metropolitan University, she holds a portfolio of Non-Executive Directorships and is a member of the Manchester Growth Company board.
She said: “I was the first person to go to university in my family and though I knew it was an important step for me, I underestimated how much higher education would transform my life. My career has opened up new worlds and new experiences for me – opportunities I would never have had were it not for the education, work experience and belief in lifetime learning, which I obtained during my degree.
“The First Generation programme will reach out to young people at a critical point in their lives, raising their ambitions and encouraging and supporting them to fulfil their potential. It is a hugely important initiative and will be life-changing for so many young people. I am immensely proud to be a First Generation campaign founder donor.”