Below are some examples of how providers are supporting outcomes for local and commuter students which you may find helpful when developing your own approaches. Some of these approaches may not yet be fully evaluated.
We will update this page with more examples of effective practice as we identify them. If you have, or are aware of, examples of effective practice in this area please contact [email protected].
Middlesex University: Research and interventions
In its 2020-21 access and participation plan, Middlesex states that as part of London Higher (a body representing nearly 50 universities and colleges in London) it has undertaken an investigation into outcomes for commuter students.
The analysis highlighted a strong correlation between higher commuting time and lower continuation and attainment rates, and intersections with other underrepresented groups. It found that students commuting furthest are more likely to be black, Asian or minority ethnic and from lower Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) quintiles.
The university states that supporting commuter students is an organisational priority. It is piloting interventions to support commuter students, such as adding data fields to the student record system and working with its students’ union on the commuter student experience.
Evaluation of these interventions will inform more comprehensive work in 2020-21.
Establishment of the Civic Universities Network
The Civic Universities Network has been established to strengthen the connections between universities and their ‘place’. A strand of the work is to support and encourage students to remain local to their university and contribute to the local economy.
As part of this, research will be undertaken into the experiences of graduates who choose to remain local. The aim of the research will be to determine if, and how, ‘staying local’ contributes to graduates’ success.
Examples from our Challenge Competition projects
Our Industrial strategy and skills – support for local graduates Challenge Competition is funding 16 projects that aim to identify and support effective practice approaches for students with low mobility into highly skilled employment.
These projects are trialling innovative activities focusing on different regional and employment sector contexts. Practice emerging to date includes:
- Developing a graduate employment agency. This involves developing an online platform matching local graduates with vacancies at local small and medium enterprises. Careers support and help with applications is provided.
- Short work placements and projects for local students. This involves local students working on consultancy projects designed by local employers, aiming to increase engagement between providers and local employers and students. This is particularly important with The Shadbolt Review finding that students who undertook work placements had better employment outcomes than their peers. Local and commuter students are often less likely to undertake work placements due to their lower mobility.
- Curriculum development linked to local employment and skills needs. This involves developing provision with local employers to increase the number of local students progressing into sectors where there are skills needs. Increased tailored employability and careers support is offered.
See case studies from our Challenge Competition projects to support local graduates