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Opportunity, access and skills

The civic universities of the later 19th century were established to educate and skill the local aspiring professional classes – to expand opportunity for the people of their city. In 2024, universities still aim to transform lives, but gaps remain in the sector’s educational provision. 

In this chapter, we learn from a range of commentators how to expand opportunities to local people from impoverished or excluded backgrounds and to those who have experienced homelessness or have been in the care system. We learn about creating better and more integrated tertiary systems, ensuring that individuals and employers have the skills to prepare them for future challenges. 

This chapter also includes essays that look at fostering a better relationship with schools, using university students to raise the attainment of school pupils. Finally, this chapter includes contributions on the role of higher education in stimulating adult education and lifelong learning – again a key theme for civic universities since they were first established, and one that is highly relevant in an age of automation and generative AI.

The Kerslake Collection Essays