LJMU has long prided itself on offering access to higher education to underrepresented and harder-to-reach sections of our community.
Gypsy, Traveller, Roma, Showmen and Boater (GTRSB) people have the lowest progression to university, something LJMU is determined to reverse with a number of initiatives, including a special training session for staff on April 7, a day before International Romani Day.
The day will provide staff with information on how to support these students at University and offers the opportunity to hear the lived experiences of GTRSB people and the challenges they face getting an education.
Data from the Department of Education shows of all White groups the trend in HE participation is upwards, except for Travellers of Irish Heritage and Gypsy and Roma groups. Indeed, just 3-4% of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller populations aged 18-30 years access higher education.
Research also indicates that even when they reach post-compulsory education, students feel invisible or unwelcomed in and are concerned about unconscious bias and fear exposure to racist stereotypes about their communities.
The online sessions on April 7:
12.00 - 12.05 : Learning from the GTRSB Community
12.05 - 12.15 : LJMU Plan - GTRSB into Education
12.20 - 12.33 : Alexandra Bahor, Liverpool Roma Support Officer - Granby Toxteth Development Trust
12.33 - 12.46 : Sherrie Smith, Gypsy Roma Travellers Lead - Buckinghamshire New University
12.46 - 13.00 : Sheldon Chadwick, Showmen's Mental Health Awareness Charity
13.00 - 13.25 : Q&A Session
13.25 - 13.30 : Close
This training is part of a wider LJMU ambition to be a pioneer in GTRSB education; with plans afoot for us to be an early adopter of the GTRSB Pledge, a Uni-wide commitment to actively recruit and look after students, and a step to date only taken by two UK HEIs.
Liverpool Business School has a long-standing project with the Granby Toxteth Development Trust to create pathways to university for Roma people. Led by Drs Patricia Jolliffe and Helen Collins, the initiative saw us recruit our first Roma undergraduates and earned the university the Innovation Award from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Helen Collins said: “The GTRSB pledge represents a significant step towards supporting more young people from these backgrounds to access higher education and reap the benefits that a degree provides. By signing the pledge LJMU is offering genuine support to GTRSB, not only to gain access to a degree programme, but bespoke support throughout their study too.”
The training day is organised by the GTRSB Academic and Professional Support Team. To attend, please complete the Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/supporting-our-gypsy-traveller-roma-boater-and-showmen-students-into-he-tickets-277639696807. For more information please email: firstname.lastname@example.org