Date of release: Monday, December 9, 2013

Greenwich Fast Forward Masters ProgrammeMasters students at the University of Greenwich are to benefit from an innovative package of mentoring, work placements and financial support, starting in September 2014.

The £1.5 million Greenwich Fast Forward Masters Programme is backed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) which is contributing over £563,000 in cash funding as part of a national initiative announced today.

The aim is to increase the number of Masters students from groups, including those from lower-income households, that have been under-represented in higher education. The programme will also help these students to develop the workplace skills that are sought by employers and to get ahead in their careers.

One hundred and fifty high-calibre postgraduates at Greenwich will benefit from a 60% fee waiver and £500 towards the cost of books and other study essentials. They will study for Masters degrees in disciplines relevant to the government’s growth sectors, such as business, computing and engineering.

At the heart of the programme is a close partnership between the university and employers in the region, which means that every participating student will benefit from guaranteed work experience and ongoing mentoring. This will tie in closely with the university’s wider priority to enhance the job prospects of its students, through its graduate destinations project.

A wide range of multinationals, SMEs, social enterprises, public sector organisations and charities will be taking part, building on the university’s strong links with an extensive network of businesses and employers. It is anticipated that the regional economy will benefit from the scheme, as more highly qualified individuals join the workforce, improving the skill base and contributing to greater innovation and competitiveness. Detailed research will be carried out, with students and employers, to test the impact and effectiveness of the initiative.

“Ambitious and talented graduates will get the chance to ‘fast forward’ their careers, thanks to this new scheme,” says the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor David Maguire. “It builds on many of the university’s strengths including our track record of attracting highly-qualified applicants and widening participation in HE, along with our excellent relationships with industry. I am delighted that these achievements have been recognised in this award of government funding.”

Able graduates with First Class and 2:1 degrees, from the UK and EU only, will be eligible to apply for support. The selection process will also take into account an assessment of means, among other criteria; full terms and conditions will be published in the first part of 2014.

Commenting on the £25 million publicly-funded programme, David Willetts, the Universities and Science Minister, says: “Postgraduate study is good for students, good for universities, and good for the economy. We want talented graduates from all backgrounds to feel inspired and able to continue their education.

“This investment will help develop partnerships, explore different ways of financing postgraduate study, and attract students from less advantaged backgrounds to postgraduate education. It will also provide a big boost to our internationally renowned postgraduate sector.”

To register to find out more about the University of Greenwich Fast Forward Masters Programme: fastforwardmastersprogramme@gre.ac.uk

To find out more about the HEFCE Postgraduate Support Scheme: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/news/newsarchive/2013/news85254.html

Story by Public Relations