Competing in a global market place
As institutions continue to compete for, and recruit, staff and students globally, and some launch campuses and partnerships overseas, their student and staff communities are becoming increasingly diverse in terms of race, nationality, religious and cultural backgrounds.
Additionally, UK-domiciled students when they finish their studies need to work effectively in a global context. This requires institutions to embed E&D into their strategies, practices and cultures in order that all staff and students feel included and supported to succeed – as well as providing the best preparation for the future careers of students.
Increasing student diversity
Widening access to groups of students, under-represented in HE, including certain equality groups, is a strategic priority across the UK. Retention, attainment and employability of equality groups is also important. Nationally, certain groups achieve lower attainment or are less likely to go into graduate level employment. This has the potential to adversely impact on the HEI’s overall success rates. See the 'Student inequalities section' for further details of the challenges for student access, retention and success.
In England, the Government announced in its 2016 higher education white paper that it expects HEIs to:
In Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has asked institutions to:
In Northern Ireland, the Department for the Economy launched Access to Success, the strategy for widening participation in higher education in 2012. This acknowledges the under-representation of the following equality groups:
Institutions set widening access targets within Office of Fair Access (OFFA) access agreements in England, SFC outcome agreements in Scotland, HEFCW fee and access plans in Wales and widening access and participation plans in Northern Ireland. Many include equality within these agreements. Delivering effectively on equality is therefore paramount to meeting these targets.