The 27th Isle of Man Higher Education Conference takes place today (Thursday) and tomorrow at Ballakermeen High School.
The event, which is open to the public, was started by the school to ensure that the Island’s students were not disadvantaged by distance in securing the information their university choices.
Universities and other institutions of higher education are invited to the Island to meet the students and parents. The number of institutions represented has increased substantially over the years. More than 70 organisations will attend this year, including several who are here for the first time. These include the University of Leeds, Swansea Metropolitan University, the University of Strathclyde and the New College of Humanities in London.
Adrienne Burnett, Headteacher at Ballakermeen, said:
‘The event has grown in strength enormously over recent years and we are delighted that we can again offer our young people the chance to access key university staff who work at the cutting edge of the application process. This year the conference will again be well attended, partly as a result of contacts we have established with the colleges and universities.
The main reason, however, is word of mouth, as delegates pass on the benefits of coming to the Isle of Man conference to their colleagues. It is not just local hospitality that attracts them; they see the Island’s students as worthy candidates for admission. They are particularly impressed by how articulate they are, the clarity of their questions and how they have already carried out a substantial amount of focused research into their future options. We are pleased that, in the face of cuts to universities’ budgets, so many delegates have decided to attend our event again this year. As well as advice from individual institutions, we offer general advice during the introductory talks.'
Other bodies attending include theological colleges and Christian gap year opportunities and staff from the Department of Education and Children's student awards team and the Department of Economic Development's Careers Service. Also attending will be Study Options, a firm endorsed by the Department of Education and Children for organising gap year experiences in Australia and New Zealand.
'I would consider the conference to be a “one-stop-shop” to meet all the needs of an aspiring higher education student and one not to be missed,' said the headteacher.
The conference opens tonight at 7pm with presentations by Jane Murphy from the University of Huddersfield and Andrea Bourne from the University of York. They will address parents and students about the application process for higher education. They will also be commenting on the different types of institutions and the variety and types of courses on offer.
From 7.30pm, parents and students will be able to talk individually to the representatives from each university and higher education institution in the school’s Sports Hall to get advice and information.
These sessions are open to Ballakermeen students in Years 10 and above.
Tomorrow, all post-16 students from the Island’s schools will be attending, as will students from the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education. Members of the public interested in applying to university as mature students or recent A-level students who chose not to attend university after their examinations, are all welcome to attend either session.
Friday's sessions take place from 9.15am to 12noon and 1.15pm to 2.45pm
Ian Kay, Head of Sixth Form at Ballakermeen, said:
‘In the face of ever more demanding entry requirements and competition for places on courses, research prior to completing the UCAS application has never been so important. This really is the key to completing a successful application and, in the light of the current economic situation, our young people are becoming increasingly aware of the associated costs of going to university and are eager to make the most informed decisions possible. This is the prime opportunity for parents and students to find out about courses, entry requirements and the style of the different institutions of higher education.
'As well as having the opportunity to talk to the representatives from over seventy universities, there will also be the chance to find out about courses available in Higher Education on the Isle of Man. Representatives from the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education, which offers an ever increasing number of undergraduate degree programmes, will be available to speak to students at the event. Additionally, there will also be a stand representing the Department of Health's nurse training programme at Keyll Darree, which has been offering a nursing degree programme on island, in association with the University of Chester for the last five years.’