Regional disparities in widening access and higher education’s contribution to levelling up

NEON Summit

  • Date


  • Time

    10:00 am - 4:00 pm

The recent publication of the Government’s white paper, “Levelling Up the United Kingdom” highlighted the extent of regional disparities across the UK. It is vital that higher education  fully understands the contribution it can make, and clear that, with the government’s ambition for more people, especially those from disadvantaged areas to successfully complete high quality skills training, widening access will need to play a key role. 

This event will bring together key policy makers, sector leaders and practitioners to discuss these disparities, find solutions and strategies to address them, and consider the implications for their current work.  

Delegates will: 

  • Hear from experts in higher education and levelling up as to the current regional disparities across the UK.  
  • Gain an understanding of the key role widening access needs to play in reducing regional disparities. 
  • Learn about the practical steps that are being taken by both higher education institutions and Uni Connect partnerships across the UK. 
  • Discuss how widening access practitioners can work effectively to maximise its contribution to the levelling up agenda. 

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Lord Johnson of Marylebone
  • Sarah Howls, Head of Access and Participation, Office for Students
  • Chris Millward, Professor of Practice in Education Policy, University of Birmingham
  • Mandy Crawford-Lee, Chief Executive of the University Vocational Awards Council
  • Hannah Davies, Health Inequalities Lead, Head of External and Public Affairs, Northern Health Science Alliance Ltd
  • Professor Graeme Atherton, Head of the Centre for Levelling Up, University of West London and Director of NEON
  • Mary Coles, Higher Education Officer, Next Steps South West at City College Plymouth
  • Stephen Pomfret, Head of Make Happen
  • Karen Shaw, Careers Mentoring and Widening Participation Manager, University of Leeds
  • Julian True, Access and Participation Manager, University of Plymouth


Time: 10am start until 4pm

Location: This event is taking place online


Membership organisation rate: £99
Non-member organisation rate: £159
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