Students of the future on the agenda at Wood Foundation workshop

Students of the future on the agenda at Wood Foundation workshop

The University has strengthened its relationship with leading philanthropic organisation The Wood Foundation.

Colleagues across a range of disciplines welcomed a delegation of school-based staff from the philanthropic organisation’s Excelerate investment to the Sir Duncan Rice Library on Friday (October 13) for a morning of presentations and knowledge-sharing.

The event sought to inform the delegation of Business and Community Support Officers from schools in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire about the engagement work the University undertakes with local schools, the career opportunities that exist with the institution and to explore opportunities for working in partnership with them in the future.

It included input from Fiona Smith, Head of HR Business Partnering; UK Student Recruitment Manager Helena Ziegler; Access & Articulation Manager Sally Middleton on student recruitment and widening access; Tamsin Ross, Communications and Digital Media Officer at the Rowett Institute; and Dr Karen McArdle, Manager of the National Decommissioning Centre.

Dr Liz Campbell from the School of Biological Sciences and Christoph Scholz from Museums & Special Collections also gave presentations.

In return, University staff heard from Layla Edrich, Programme Coordinator at The Wood Foundation who spoke about the Excelerate investment, an initiative working in partnership with 17 schools in the north-east of Scotland which focuses on the transformation of culture, collaboration and pedagogy through professional learning and network opportunities which inspire new and innovative approaches. The Business and Community Support Officers shared how they support schools to bring the curriculum to life through real-world learning opportunities.

Both groups also heard from Lauren Dunkley, Beach and Marine Litter Project Officer at the East Grampian Coastal Partnership – a not for profit organisation which looks after the coastline from Fraserburgh to St Cyrus; and Anna Fraser and Megan McKenna from the Aberdeen Medic Outreach Society, a group widening access to medicine for people of all backgrounds.

The visit ended with a tour of campus, taking in the Zoology and Engineering buildings, as well as Cruickshank Botanical Gardens.

School Engagement Officer Pam Cumming, who coordinated the event, said: “The Excelerate investment focusses on the development of key skills and experiences which enhances the school experience and better prepare young people for life beyond school.

“Its mission and ambitions are closely aligned with the University’s in relation to providing access to all and our commitment to engaging with the next generation of students. Today’s event has been hugely beneficial in helping all involved understand a number of ways we can work together to increase education opportunities for young people in the region.”

The Wood Foundation was established in 2007 by Sir Ian Wood and his family to address societal and economic inequity locally, nationally and internationally.

Layla Edrich, Programme Coordinator at The Wood Foundation, said: “This was an informative and inspiring visit which was an amazing opportunity for our Business and Community Support Officers to realise the plethora of potential engagements with the University. Thank you to Pam and everyone who took time to share their areas of expertise with our team.”

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