Students Staff

09 December 2013

University awarded nearly £900,000 to boost postgraduate education

Postgraduate students

Extra support is now available at Essex for postgraduate students

Two hundred students will benefit from new financial support and employment skills development next year as the University of Essex tests two novel approaches to postgraduate education.

The University has won funding of nearly £900,000 to boost progression to postgraduate study among students from under-represented groups, by seeking to shift the balance between the costs and the benefits.

The first innovative scheme will provide £5,000 scholarships to students who act as mentors for third-year undergraduates, with their mentoring skills gaining national accreditation. The second model will combine the academic rigour of taught postgraduate study with an extended, paid work placement.

Funding of £878,000 has been awarded to Essex as part of the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) Postgraduate Support Scheme (PSS). This £25 million pot has been allocated to pilot projects which test options for finance and activity aimed at stimulating progression into taught postgraduate education, particularly among currently under-represented groups and in areas that support the Government’s ambitions for economic growth.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jules Pretty, said: “We are re-thinking postgraduate education to meet the current and future needs of students and employers. We aim to make postgraduate education accessible to the brightest minds, regardless of financial circumstance. This will help develop the entrepreneurs and innovators needed to boost the workforce and the economy, as well as helping to produce the researchers and leaders of the future.”

The £1.3 million Essex scheme will be developed for students starting Masters degree courses in 2014, with the additional funding coming from the University and partner employers.

The Mentoring for Progression project will recruit 100 Masters’ students, who will be awarded scholarships of £5,000 in return for acting as mentor to a group of final-year Essex undergraduates. Each mentor will be trained and supported, and will work towards accreditation as an Associate of the Higher Education Academy and the Institute of Leadership and Management’s Level 3 award in Workplace Coaching. They will gain skills which are highly valued by graduate employers while, at the same time, Essex undergraduates will gain invaluable support to help them obtain better degrees and better employment and further study opportunities.

The second model will create Knowledge Exchange traineeships in which Masters’ students combine six months of intensive teaching with a six month Knowledge Exchange Project which incorporates a three month paid placement with an employer. This will enhance the workplace and entrepreneurial skills of the student, while providing the employer with the opportunity to develop their capability or capacity.

For any further information, please contact the University’s Communications Office on 01206 872400, email:

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