Linking London | News | 26 January 2023: Linking London Improving Access to HE for Adults Event

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Linking London Improving Access to HE for Adults Event

On the 26th January, Linking London held an event exploring the challenges and opportunities in reaching out to adults in formal and informal settings, to raise awareness of, and support the transition onto, higher level learning.

After introductions and an opening welcome from our Director Andrew Jones, we then heard from several partners engaged in working in further education and the community, on their work with adults. We heard first from Laura Bradnam from Birkbeck, University of London, who gave an overview of Birkbeck’s Adult and Community Learning Outreach Work. Laura shared some useful ways to help engage adults and highlighted two projects at Birkbeck, the first one being ‘Fake or Real News’ a 2-hour workshop that helps increase critical thinking and link it to Higher Education. Secondly their Pathways Workshop (funded by Uni Connect), a person-centred workshop that lets people reflect on their future and increase their self-awareness. Laura shared some of the lessons learnt from both these projects and a blog post about bringing education and learning opportunities to groups underrepresented in higher education.  

We then heard from Dr Caroline McGlynn at the University of East London who presented an overview of the programme New Beginnings. Caroline firstly highlighted mature learners intrinsic concerns such as confidence, negative experiences with education and being the first in family to go to university and also extrinsic concerns such as housing, health, finance etc. New Beginnings was made to help reduce the impact of these concerns helping with personal and academic skills and skills for work. The course includes group and one on one tutorials, pastoral support and assignment and class guidance and university wide support from UEL. Lastly Caroline shared the impact and feedback from the programme. 

We then welcomed Steve Mepsted and Sara Robertson Jonas at Morley College London who gave an overview of learning from delivering a Pilot Transition Support Course for Adults. Firstly they presented on why they introduced this course of wanting to address the gap between working at level 3 and level 4. The course was originally delivered in July 2022 and the four sessions focussed on Digital Design, Fashion and Fine Art which all had excellent feedback. The presentation then looked at the lessons learnt and proposed some key changes in recruitment, structure, coordination and delivery and how they have planned their new course. 

After a comfort break, we heard from Linessa Acheampong at WAES who gave a perspective on supporting Adult Learners to Access HE, firstly giving an overview of WAES including their achievements, about their learners and how they support them. Linessa shared some of the ways they support their learners accessing HE such as a progression week, higher education fairs, higher education support workshops, drop in sessions etc. Linessa also showcased some successful case studies. 

Lastly, attendees got together in three breakout groups focusing on addressing challenges, what works, and what partners can do individually and in collaboration to improve progression opportunities to HE for adults. You can find the full write up of the discussion on our Partner Area. 

The event closed with thanking everyone for their contributions throughout the afternoon. 

Presentations, recording and discussion notes 

To view the recording, presentations and the notes from the day please click here. This link will take you to the Linking London SharePoint Partners' Area. You must be a Linking London member to access this section of the website. If you do not have access, please email  


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