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Widening Access and Participation practitioners in Scotland discuss Universities of Sanctuary

Widening Access and Participation professionals from 11 Scottish Universities and several third sector organisations met online on the 7th of July, to discuss refugees’ access to higher education in Scotland.

The meeting was hosted by Muriel Alexander of SCAPP (Scotland’s Community of Access and Participation Practitioners), in collaboration with Universities of Sanctuary.

We aimed to explore with attendees the particular role widening access and participation colleagues could play in making higher education institutions actively welcoming of people seeking sanctuary.

After a presentation on the minimum criteria for becoming a Universities of Sanctuary, and an overview of UoS engagement in Scotland, the following questions were posed for discussion, echoing two of the principles from the City of sanctuary LEARN-EMBED-SHARE process:

1. SHARE: Does your institution already engage with refugees and people seeking asylum?

    • Tell us what you do – case studies and good practice examples
    • What are the challenges in getting started and in making it work?

2. LEARN: What do you need to learn to enable your organisation to support better access to higher education for refugees and people seeking asylum?

The response was fantastic with questions ranging from funding eligibility and pathways to recognition of qualifications. There were also suggestions to share good practice at future events, offers to take part in a working group and a clear desire to keep this conversation going.

We look forward to working closely with SCAPP in the coming months to develop learning and networking opportunities for Widening Access and Participation colleagues.