Closing the UK’s progression gap

Social Mobility Pledge founder, Justine Greening MP, visited Nottingham Trent University (NTU) in April to launch a report setting out recommendations on how to improve access to and participation in higher education.

NTU was the first university to sign the Social Mobility Pledge and is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving.

After signing the pledge, NTU worked with the Social Mobility Pledge’s research team to produce a report giving insights into the successes it has had in improving access to university and raising attainment levels of students from areas where participation in higher education low. The report, called Closing the UK’s progression gap, also sets out recommendations for other universities and businesses to follow. These include using data to identify and target support for students who may be at risk of falling behind or dropping out of university. It also highlights NTU research showing that taking a sandwich year placement enhanced graduate prospects regardless of a student’s background and levelled the playing field between advantaged and less advantaged students. 

The report was launched at the University’s Clifton Campus where the MP also met students and saw an exhibition of photographs submitted by staff and students at NTU, depicting what ‘opportunity’ means for them. 

Professor Eunice Simmons, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at NTU, welcomed Justine Greening to the campus, nearly six months after she last visited to see NTU sign the Social Mobility Pledge. 

Prof Simmons said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Justine back to the university. We are keen to share our experiences with others so we can all work towards helping our students and graduates achieve the best outcomes possible. It is why we were the first university to sign the Social Mobility Pledge and it is why we are proud to have been able to work with the team to produce the Closing the UK’s progression gap report which we hope will allow others to benefit from the successes we have achieved in this area.”

Lewis Grice