The University of Wolverhampton is a partner in the Lifelong Learning Network (LLN), which covers Staffordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Stoke-on-Trent and focuses on vocational courses.
The scheme is aimed at people from backgrounds that have not traditionally pursued higher education, and Staffordshire, Keele, Harper Adams, the Open University and local further education colleges are also partners in the scheme.
As of September, 807 students have enrolled on courses run by the network and more than 100 projects focused on curriculum development had been launched. The courses are aimed at anyone over the age of 18 and are based around vocational learning, continuous professional development and employer engagement.
At the University of Wolverhampton, the curriculum innovations include a Foundation degree in Small Business (Salon) Management, a Foundation degree in Environmental Health and a Masters ‘bridging’ course in Art and Design, which allows adult learners without traditional qualifications, but with equivalent artistic experience, the possibility of joining an MA course in Art and Design
Two members of staff co-ordinate the scheme from the University of Wolverhampton. Tim Crossfield, from the School of Health and Well-being, said: “The Lifelong Learning Network has benefitted non-traditional vocational learners in the region by offering new and innovative opportunities to progress into higher education that they may not ordinarily have had.”
Nigel Beer, from the School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, said: “The Lifelong Learning Network has enabled previously competitive further education institutions and higher education institutions to form partnerships to the benefit of non-traditional learners in the region.”
Lifelong Learning Networks are a Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) initiative to raise opportunities into and through higher education for non-traditional/vocational learners. There are 28 such projects nationally, and the Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin network started in October 2007. It is funded until January 2011.
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