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2019 Innovation and Best Practice Awards

HELOA is pleased to continue the ‘Innovation and Best Practice Awards’. We would like to recognise some of the excellent work that is taking place every day amongst our membership. Voting for a winner took place during the 2019 conference.

If you have any questions, please contact training@heloa.ac.uk

Thank you to all of those who entered – we saw a number of really great initiatives and as always it is inspiring to see the breadth and quality of best practice which our members are involved in at their institutions.

Innovation and Best Practice Award: Recruitment and Outreach Award Sponsored by UK University Search

Congratulations to the 2019 winner, Sheffield Hallam University!

SHUBIZ Challenge – Build Your Brand!

Sheffield Hallam University’s School and College Engagement Team (SCET) are responsible for leading the development and delivery of aspiration, awareness-raising, and transition to Higher Education related activity. Alongside dedicated Widening Participation and Outreach and Student Recruitment Operations teams based within the Admissions and UK Recruitment, SCET provides a collective offer of activities and content for a range or year groups, mature learners, subject disciplines, levels of attainment and widening participation student cohorts.

These activities focus on developing students’ skills and knowledge around higher education, apprenticeships and the world of work and are tailored to meet the needs of the audience and/or that of the school/college.

In December 2016, SCET began to create a new “flagship” resource to specifically support large groups of post-16 school and college students, with a particular focus on developing the skills that are pertinent to a student irrespective of the direction of their intended or potential learner journey.

Wanted to also align with Sheffield Hallam’s corporate strategy primary objective of ‘Transforming Lives’ the team identify a gap in its current offer and sought to provide school/college students with the opportunity to reflect on their position in their learner journey; learn or enhance valuable ‘life’ skills; and gain information to help them make more informed choices and potentially key life decisions as they progressed through Key Stage 5.

Conscious of the pressures within the school/college setting to balance curriculum teaching with progression activity, the project team set about developing activity that would engage large groups within the school/college setting, and could be delivered at a time that would have most benefit to the students and their institution.

The team also considered the then-relatively-recent emphasis on rounded careers provision and helping students build essential skills, in essence anticipating the subsequently introduced Gatsby Eight Benchmarks, which include “encounters with higher education” and “linking curriculum learning to careers”.

The team wanted the activity to be distinct from more straightforward information and recruitment messages that many school and college students regularly receive from the HE sector.

Underpinning the premise of the project was ensuring the activity would resonate with the target audience, providing a range of learner outcomes. To ensure this activity would be relevant to the learner, it was developed almost exclusively by three graduate interns to keep it relevant and would include a recent student voice.

2019 shortlist

King’s College London – Hospital Heroes

Hospital Heroes was developed by the Outreach for Medicine team at King’s as part of its broader package of healthcare access programmes. Hospital Heroes was created to replace an hour-long workshop on clinical skills that was delivered to KS3 students as one-off workshops of this type are known to have limited impact.

Hospital Heroes is a multi-intervention programme that was designed in response to the Medical Schools Council’s guidance that universities provide regular and sustained student-facing interventions from a young age and the Office for Students’ emphasis on targeted and consistent widening participation programmes.

Additionally, the programme meets Government statutory guidance on in-school careers advice. By providing free and accurate information about a range of careers within the healthcare sector, Hospital Heroes helps schools give KS3 pupils the opportunity to explore connections between STEM subjects and a wide range of careers as well as a meaningful encounter with an employer.

York St. John university – Addressing the needs of our Military Service Children Population – A North Yorkshire Approach

There are 12 military bases within the North Yorkshire area with 3155 school aged children, 4% of the school role. Research conducted as part of the National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) in North Yorkshire identified that a good proportion of young people from a military service background live within NCOP target wards, most notably Colburn in Catterick Garrison, the largest British Army garrison in Europe. With the planned expansion of this base a further 1200 school aged Service children could be expected in to the Garrison by 2030.

North Yorkshire County Council has long recognised Military Service Children as a cohort and was one of the first counties to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant (2011), a promise to the nation to support the families of serving military personnel. They have also appointed a strategic lead for service children within the Children and Young People’s service, and gained an Education Support Fund grant for two service pupil champions who work within schools to support Service Children and their families.

The Office for Students identified military service children as a target group after research from University of Winchester suggested that this cohort have particular experiences that may affect access to higher education. This research also suggested that military service children are less likely than their peers to go on to higher education despite achieving well academically.

York St John University is strongly committed to supporting military personnel. They are the only HEI in North Yorkshire to have signed the Armed Forces Covenant (2014), and have already undertaken extensive research in this field, including the award winning ‘Military Human’ CPD initiative.

University of Oxford

Oxplore is a new project from the University of Oxford. It forms a key part of our ongoing outreach strategy, and responds to both our widening access and participation targets (for example in reaching geographical target regions and demystifying Oxford) and our student recruitment aims (for example in promoting lower application subjects).

The project was made possible due to a benefactor’s generous donation with the encouragement to investigate a new model for digital outreach with young people and schools. Oxford did not have experience in this field, but we did have a growing awareness (based on our own admissions statistics and wider literature on access and participation) that sustained contact initiatives, super- curricular support and reaching young people in the spaces they frequent (in this case, their devices) would be key in reaching our aims. We also felt that done right, a digital outreach portal could help us achieve interventions on a scale not possible in our other programmes (residential academic programmes, school visits, study days, mentoring and other conventional interventions).

In order to make this a success, we invested a great deal of time and effort in a consultative development model. We consulted with over 220 young people from our target groups during a year long iterative technical development from August 2016-August 2017, including a consultative group, a North East pilot, and a ‘national slice’ pilot. This meant that over the course of this year, young people effectively choose our name, concept, visual identity, site structure, content types, and user features including voting and registration benefits. This ‘co-production’ model was also totally new for Oxford’s outreach and recruitment.

Marketing and Communications Spotlight Award

In 2019 HELOA launched the Marketing and Communications Spotlight Award Sponsored by Data Harvesting. We received two nominations for this award.

Congratulations to the winners Solent University

52 Things To Do (www.solent.ac.uk/52-things)

52 Things To Do aims to provide prospective learners – year 12 and 13 students in the UK and beyond – with invaluable, timely information throughout the UCAS recruitment cycle in a style that’s different from the usual university communications they receive.

This means 52 weeks of user-generated videos, information, quizzes, polls and tasks, all designed to help people make better-informed decisions, whatever stage they’re at. We offer a broad range of topics that go beyond the application process to look at things like decorating your room, articles focused on mental health and wellbeing and even National Pie Week.

The project was created within the Digital Team at Solent University but has been widely supported by the organisation, ensuring that the areas with the best level of knowledge help to curate the content, whilst also providing links to existing, high quality content provided outside of Solent.

Loughborough university

Good Luck from Loughborough

Conversion is the ‘holy grail’ of student recruitment. As competition intensifies, Loughborough developed a uniquely personalised campaign, designed to remind potential students of our absolute interest in them as individuals at a crunch point in the cycle.

This campaign delivered both in a way that was ground- breaking in the sector for the sheer level of personalisation used, as well as the distinctive approach to reaching out to students, and stressing our commitment to their experience and their personal development in a totally unique way.

The idea was simple – a ‘good luck with your exams’ card, timed to hit at decision-making time once students had received and firmed up their offers. The innovative twist was a personalised, handwritten message linking each student to a club, society or support strand of relevance to them at the University based on the information they supplied on their UCAS Personal Statement.