What is Uni Connect?

The Office for Student's Uni Connect Programme (previously known as NCOP) brings together 29 partnerships of universities, colleges and other local partners to deliver outreach programmes to young people in years 9 to 13


Their work is focused on local areas where higher education participation is lower than might be expected, given the GCSE results of the young people who live there.

Uni Connect is currently focused on providing targeted higher education outreach to young people in years 9 to 13 living in particular geographic areas.

    • reduce the gap in higher education participation between the most and least represented groups
    • support young people to make well-informed decisions about their future education
    • support effective and impactful local collaboration by higher education providers working together with schools, colleges, employers and other partners
    • contribute to a stronger evidence base around ‘what works’ in higher education outreach and strengthen evaluation practice in the sector

During 2017-18 OfS Uni Connect partnerships worked with around 1,500 schools and colleges to deliver sustained and progressive programmes of targeted higher education outreach with 102,000 young people.

The programme is intended to complement and add value to the work that higher education providers undertake through their access and participation plans, in particular work that is best delivered in collaboration.

During the second phase of the programme, the 29 local partnerships will establish outreach hubs that between them will provide coverage for every local authority in England.

    • the provision of impartial, sustained and progressive higher education outreach by a range of institutions tailored to the needs of young people within target areas
    • open, transparent and impartial routes for schools and colleges to access outreach activity from a range of higher education providers avoiding duplication and eliminating gaps in outreach provision
    • support for a local partnership infrastructure now and in the future which can act as a vehicle for activity on a range of agendas relating to access and participation, including activity set out in institutional access and participation plans
    • robust evaluation at both a local and national level, including capacity building support.



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