UNIVERSITY ACADEMY 92 (UA92) is embracing Greater Manchester’s Young Person’s Guarantee with a free package worth £5,000 including laptop, data, lunches, travel pass and a home voucher to support underprivileged students accessing higher education.
UA92, based in Old Trafford, is among the organisations putting Greater Manchester’s Young Person’s Guarantee into practise. The guarantee, which launched in 2020, saw organisations coming together to commit support for young people across the city-region following the devastating impacts of Covid-19.
The guarantee recognised young people suffered significantly from the fallout of the coronavirus crisis and found young people required support with keeping connected, staying well, preparing for transition back into work and/or education as well as reducing economic inequalities.
The package of support on offer from UA92 will help with the concerns raised by the Young Person’s Guarantee and enable social mobility of disadvantaged young people. The £5,000 Make It For Real support package, which is available to young people who were eligible to receive free school meals, is supported by UA92 partners Microsoft, Talk Talk, Co-op and Dunelm.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “I want Greater Manchester to be a place where nobody faces any barriers to higher education, and nobody is prevented from access to the career they want to do. That is why we launched the Young Person’s Guarantee back in December last year. The guarantee recognises the hardships facing young people as a result of the pandemic and saw organisations pledging commitments to tackle the issues head-on, such as economic inequalities and connectivity.
“UA92 is putting the guarantee into practise with this fantastic package of support designed to help young people from underprivileged backgrounds have access to the technology, transport and other essential items, to help them get on in life and thrive. I now urge other organisations to think about what they can offer young people in our city-region to make sure we do not have a lost generation.”
The Young Person’s Guarantee was formed through feedback from young people, aged 11 to 30, who identified priorities to focus on. The Mayor of Greater Manchester appointed Diane Modahl as chair of the Youth Task Force as it became apparent young people were facing difficulties as a result of the pandemic. The group played a central role in forming the guarantee by identifying challenges facing young people and the members worked with Diane to identify solutions to those problems.
Diane Modahl, Chair of Greater Manchester’s Youth Task Force, said: “UA92 have done an amazing job in finding solutions to the barriers holding young people back from applying to higher education. Our Youth Task Force identified connectivity as a major problem with progressing in life, and laptops and data packages will go a long way in helping young people with social mobility.
“UA92 is among the Greater Manchester organisations who have stepped up to the challenge and demonstrated their social values. I encourage other businesses to do the same, rally around our young people and show them we want to make a difference.”
Following his re-election in May 2021, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham announced ambitions for Greater Manchester to become one of the first city-regions in the world to equip all under-25s, over-75s and disabled people with the skills, connectivity and technology to get online.
Ofcom figures suggest as many as 1.2m Greater Manchester residents might be digitally excluded in some way, for example by feeling unable to use online banking or engage with public services online. For some people this is about access to kit and connectivity, but for others it is about skills or confidence. Ensuring residents can get online, access public services and develop their digital skills will drive positive social and economic change for both residents and businesses, helping to position Greater Manchester as the key city-region for businesses seeking a digitally-skilled workforce
Sara Prowse, CEO of UA92, said: “Our Make It For Real initiative underpins UA92’s principles of accessibility, social mobility and inclusivity. Currently only 26% of students eligible for free school meals progress to higher education, compared to 45% of those who don’t receive free school meals. This gap is the highest it’s been since 2006.
“These statistics make it clear that much more can be done to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. For many, continuing education beyond what is compulsory is deemed unaffordable or inaccessible. This package is designed to help these young people think again about higher education by providing them with some of the fundamentals for successful study which are often forgotten costs.”