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Universities urged to target primary school children

11 February 2013

Last month the Office for Fair Access (OFFA), an independent public body that helps safeguard and promote fair access to higher education, called on universities and colleges to step up their long-term work reaching out to schools and communities where few students progress to higher education.

Professor Les Ebdon, director of OFFA, who is also the Government's university access tsar, said children, particularly those from disadvantaged areas, should be targeted from the age of seven.

He pointed towards a burgeoning body of research that shows how "Long term sustained outreach work is one of the keys to widening participation and fair access." and "Well-targeted outreach such as summer schools, master classes and mentoring can be very effective and we want to see more of it."

These comments are welcomed by Prospects in the City (PitC) which has provided specialist opportunities for young people to gain direct insight into a multitude of careers in the City of London for more than five years. PitC delivers the primary school component of City Careers Open House (CCOH), which is open to Year 6 students and their parents/carers, on behalf of the City of London Corporation. The CCOH initiative aims to encourage more young people from the City's surrounding boroughs, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Islington, Camden, Southwark and Lambeth, to pursue careers in the prestigious Square Mile.

The appeal from OFFA is particularly relevant to CCOH, as most opportunities in the City of London, especially those in Law and Finance, require a university degree.

Since its launch in autumn 2012, a number of successful CCOH sessions have been held at prominent firms including solicitors, Withers and Latham & Watkins, and global equity investment management company, AXA Rosenberg.

PitC manager, Katie Mawhinney, says, "Raising aspirations is at the heart of Prospects in the City. From our experience of working with young people to raise awareness of careers they may not have previously considered, we have found that the younger we reach them, the better chance we have of changing perceptions. The Year 6 pupils we target through CCOH have the opportunity to sample careers available in the City and receive advice to help them make educational choices which will allow them to pursue their chosen careers."

For more information about CCOH, contact Katie Mawhinney,

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