Glyndŵr is the best in Wales for getting poorer students into professional jobs
Glyndŵr University is among the top 10 in the UK for helping students from poorer families into professional jobs.
The Wrexham University was joint seventh in the proposed Social Mobility Graduate Index, and number one in Wales.
The index followed a report by its creator Professor Michael Brown, entitled Higher Education as a Tool of Social Mobility.
Only two Russell Group members featured in the top half of the table - Cardiff University at joint 59th and Newcastle University at joint 74th.
In the report for the CentreForum think tank, Prof Brown said universities should be assessed on how many students from less well-off families they send into professional jobs, rather than how many they admit.
The study was welcomed by Glyndŵr’s Widening Access Coordinator, Sarah-Lou Gaffney, who said the Welsh institution prides itself on being “open to all” and giving people who might not have previously considered entering higher education an opportunity to prosper and gain a degree.
“Addressing key issues such as social mobility, child poverty and inequality have always been a strategic priority here at Glyndŵr University, they are embedded in everything we do from initial engagement with potential students to graduate support into employment,” said Sarah-Lou.
“We are currently ranked top in Wales for young, full time undergraduate entrants from lower social classes, for full time mature students and for undergraduates in receipt of Disabled Student Allowance, which illustrates how we are taking the lead in Wales, setting best practice and establishing benchmarks on improving access to higher education for all.”
She added: “We are committed to ensuring that everyone who has the potential to achieve in higher education is given the chance to do so.
“At Glyndŵr, achievement is not classed solely as getting a solid qualification but on the entire student experience and, more importantly, the employment status, and level of that employment status our graduates achieve within six months of leaving us.
“It is for this reason we have been ranked joint seventh in the UK in the Social Mobility Graduate Index.”
In his report, Prof Brown - former Vice Chancellor at Liverpool John Moores University - argued that university recruitment alone is no indicator of having achieved social mobility in a sustainable or meaningful way.
He suggested the index could be used in league tables and felt it would encourage universities to improve their support for disadvantaged students in gaining professional employment.
To incentivise universities to improve social mobility, Prof Brown says that student quotas should be retained, with extra places awarded to universities with strong track records in helping poorer students into work.
Using official student and employment data that already informs universities’ Key Information Sets, the index would reflect the destinations of university leavers six months after they graduate.
Those universities who sent a large number of poorer students into graduate-level jobs would be rewarded for their employability success and their contribution to improving social mobility.
In the proposed index featuring 153 institutions, the School of Pharmacy is top, followed by the University of St Mark and St John in Plymouth, Ravensbourne College in London, University Campus Suffolk and Edge Hill University.
Glyndŵr’s Head of Careers, Karen Lennox, welcomed the index and said the University’s lofty position was testament to the hard work of a dedicated team.
“Building on the recruitment work of our Widening Access department, the University provides a supportive environment in developing confidence in students so that they can go on and achieve their chosen career,” said Karen.
“Students are encouraged to take up unique opportunities to develop personally and professionally through relevant work experience, industry-based projects, and voluntary and community work, which builds up relevant skills and experience to meet the needs of employers.”
She added: “A lot of effort goes into student support here at Glyndŵr University; it’s something we pride ourselves on, which is why we’re pleased to see that effort has been recognised.”