A PARTNERSHIP of 10 further and higher education institutions in North Wales is launching new courses to improve access to lifelong learning.
The Community University of North Wales wants to reach the more isolated members of the community who may have been out of education for some time. A new on-line taster course will encourage them to return to their studies.
Bob Jones, project manager, said: "This development is particularly focused on rural delivery and will allow potential students living some distance from main population centres to get a taste of higher education within their communities."
The free course can be accessed from home, work and public access points in community locations. It concentrates on information, communication and presentation skills. Students will receive on-line support from college staff and their peers through e-mail and chatrooms.
The Community Univesity is also offering new, part-time higher national certificate and degree courses, such as community development studies business with regional development and land-based studies.
It caters for students such as Jane Williams, of Prestatyn, who dropped out of her A-levels and has spent 25 years caring for her children and disabled mother. She then took an access to higher education course. "The course gave me loads more confidence and showed me that I could do much more than I thought. I now want to do an HNC in community development and then go on to complete the degree," she said.
Launched last May, the partnership is committed to widening participation and supporting progression through further to higher education in North Wales. It has identified 32 areas of the region where participation is below average, and aims to target potential students and develop courses to suit them.