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Widening Participation Programmes

Widening Participation Programmes aim to address the discrepancies in the take-up of higher education opportunities between different social groups.

The programmes are a strategic priority for the UK government and the higher education sector in general. We follow two Widening Participation Programmes.


MAP is a structured scheme for local post-16 students who meet specific academic and background criteria. The aim of the programme is to support entry to the University of Manchester, or to another research-intensive university, through the completion of a portfolio of work demonstrating specific knowledge and skills.

The scheme gives students the opportunity to show their potential through a varied programme of activities, including:

  • A series of personal development/skills workshops.
  • A two-day University Life Conference.
  • One-to-one UCAS application guidance interviews with university staff.

Students also complete an academic assignment under the guidance of a university academic tutor. This helps to develop the skills required for university study and provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the potential for success in higher education.

All students who successfully complete the Manchester Access Programme benefit from:

  • Individual support through the UCAS application process.
  • Up to two A Level or equivalent grade reduction towards their University of Manchester offer.
  • An Undergraduate Access Scholarship depending on their household income if they go on to study at the University of Manchester.

We target students using criteria related to academic potential and measures of under-representation in higher education.


Sutton Trust supports young people from less advantaged backgrounds to access leading universities and careers. They work in partnership with universities and employers. They run engaging programmes that give students practical advice to inspire and build their confidence about their future.


We promote Next Step Newcastle, Next Step York and any Russell Group university who offers a widening participation scheme. We support Manchester Metropolitan University’s First Generation programme and the Social Mobility Foundation’s Aspiring Professionals

We promote the Amazing Apprenticeships programme and support Speakers for Schools events. We support students to attend exclusive apprenticeship events across Greater Manchester, with companies such as PwC, Amazon, Microsoft, and AJ Bell.  

We are an integral part of the Manchester Post-16 Skills for Life partnership and the North Manchester Education & Social Benefits Network.

We provide regular 121 destination and next steps meetings with our Destinations Manager so that all students get to explore careers opportunities and pathways.

We try to access the We Love Manchester – Rising Stars Fund and we partner with READ Manchester (National Literacy Trust) for Eco Literacy Champions 2023.

We celebrate and promote National Apprenticeship Week and National Careers Week, by inviting employers and higher education providers into college to speak with our students.