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University Education For The Creative Industries

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) – Silver

Access and Participation

At Futureworks we endeavour to create a warm and friendly learning environment that welcomes and is accepting of students of all backgrounds and capabilities. Promotion of diversity in our student culture is an important part of our ethos: we consider a rich and diverse student body a privilege and benefit to the learning environment of our organisation. As part of this commitment, we perform an Annual Diversity Report to identify where we can enhance our provision, and to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

 

Access and Participation Plan

Futureworks’ full Access and Participation plan can be downloaded here.

 

Access and Participation Statement [Updated July 2019]

At Futureworks we endeavour to create a warm and friendly learning environment that welcomes, and is accepting of, students of all backgrounds and capabilities and we are committed to developing and maintaining a community in which everyone is treated fairly.

As a small specialist institution we have a strong whole institutional approach to supporting the whole student lifecycle.  We endeavour to provide all applicants with a fair admissions process which admits students on merit and potential, irrespective of their background. Promotion of diversity in our student culture is an important part of our ethos: we consider a rich and diverse student body a privilege and benefit to the learning environment of our organisation.

A recent survey of how our students feel about Futureworks and diversity found that 86% agreed or strongly agreed that Futureworks takes equality & diversity seriously.  Through the Student Experience Surveys our students have consistently expressed that they are extremely satisfied with the experience of being a student at Futureworks.

Inclusive Community

A central focus as part of our remit as a Higher Education Provider is to build an inclusive community for all our staff and students. We believe that our existing culture celebrates, supports and promotes inclusivity.

Below are some of the ways we are currently trying to achieve this:

  • Our Students as Partners scheme was set up to demonstrate our commitment to the Student Voice. Our students are invested in the enhancement of their education and, as such, the status and opinions of our partners is held in the same regard as those of our colleagues. Elected representatives from the Student Partners express the viewpoint of other members of the student body by acting through formal communication channels, committees, forums and working groups.
  • Student Feedback is greatly encouraged and regularly received, which gives students a clear voice in the organisation. In addition to the views of the student representatives, feedback is received from all students via Module Evaluation Questionnaires, the Student Experience Survey and our suggestion box. The results of this feedback provide us with valuable insight, which in turn enables us to make any necessary adjustments to both programmes and learning resources, and also to helps with the dissemination of Best Practice.
  • Student Feedback is greatly encouraged and regularly received, which gives students a clear voice in the organisation. In addition to the views of the student representatives, feedback is received from all students via Module Evaluation Questionnaires, the Student Experience Survey and our suggestion box. The results of this feedback provide us with valuable insight, which in turn enables us to make any necessary adjustments to both programmes and learning resources, and also to helps with the dissemination of Best Practice.
  • We promote engagement and interaction between students not just in class but also through the MyFutureworks virtual learning environment, to help to promote an inclusive and accessible student community.
  • Futureworks heavily endorses Multi-Mode Learning. As the courses we offer are typically creative in nature, so are the forms of learning offered. Students have the opportunity to learn by both observation and participation in studio sessions. Depending on the subject being studied, many student activities can range from anything from using our motion-capture facilities at our Media City studio to real-world filming projects and participating in large scale gaming competitions. These activities help promote the engagement of all our students and can help encourage those students who benefit from practical and visual learning.
  • Statistics show that women working in the creative industries are under-represented when compared against the number of male employees. The Futureworks Annual Diversity Report has identified that this imbalance is mirrored in our recruitment and enrolment, and has affected our overall intake of female students. As a result, we are currently working to increase our outreach activities to promote to more female students in order to help us provide a more enriched and inclusive Student Community and to support the diversity of the Creative Media Industries.
  • We offer several Pathway Courses that enable students to progress through Higher Education. These courses include: *Diploma in Audio Engineering and Production – pathway to BSc (Hons) Audio Engineering & Production, BSc (Hons) Game Audio and BA (Hons) Music Production, *Diploma in TV & Film Production – pathway to BA (Hons) Post Production for Film & TV, BA (Hons) Independent Filmmaking, BA (Hons) Visual Effects *Diploma in 3D Modelling and Animation, Foundation in Game Art – pathway to BA (Hons) Game Art, BA (Hons) Games Design and BA (Hons) Digital Animation with Illustration.

Equal Opportunities

As outlined in our Equal Opportunities Statement (http://futureworks.ac.uk/equal-opportunities/), “Futureworks is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to a proactive and inclusive approach to equality. We aim to foster a culture which supports and encourages all under-represented groups, promotes inclusion, and values diversity.” We uphold this ideal regarding both staff and students throughout the education process and to the employment of individuals who attend our organisation. Futureworks follows both statutory provisions and organisational policy to uphold and protect that ideal.

In addition to the protected groups as defined by the Equality Act 2010, Futureworks follows the practice of Greater Manchester Police and includes alternative sub-cultures as a category to be recognised alongside those protected by the Equality Act 2010. Any discrimination based on these factors will be treated in the same manner as those defined as protected groups.

In an attempt to support all groups and foster a supportive and inclusive culture, we actively discourage the use of language used for negative connotations. This includes language used within classrooms, studios and common areas.

Students receive training during the first few weeks of teaching to ensure that they are aware of the protected groups as defined by the Equality Act 2010 and the standards to which they, as part of the Futureworks community, are expected to adhere to.

Accessibility and Support

As part of the learning experience here at Futureworks, we have integrated a number of measures and services to support students of all capabilities. The following is a selection of just some of these provisions made as part of the Futureworks learning experience:

  • Running Start – from the beginning of the learning experience, students who would prefer a quieter environment with increased support can begin the induction process at a more relaxed pace earlier than our set day for induction as part of our Running Start provision.
  • Personal Tutors – all students have access to Personal Tutors where they are able to book individual meetings for academic and pastoral support. There is close collaboration between Personal Tutors and our Student Welfare Officer to ensure the continuity of support.
  • Applicants are offered skype/phone interviews if they are unable to travel to Futureworks due to a variety of reasons, such as financial, caring responsibilities or disability restrictions.
  • Personalised one-to-one tours are available to those who are unable to attend a scheduled open day event due to caring responsibilities or disability restrictions or those who would feel more comfortable in a quieter environment for a variety of reasons.
  • Assistive software has been installed in our Learning Resource Centre for use by all students.
  • Reasonable adjustments are made to the learning experience for any student who requires extra support.
  • Students who have declared any disabilities, health conditions or mental health issues on their UCAS application are offered support from our Student Welfare Officer before enrolment. This enables us to ensure support is in place for when students begin their course and encourages students to feel confident about studying at Futureworks.
  • Student support is not done on a “one size fits all” basis, we tailor our support to meet the needs of each individual student.
  • We provide an in house counselling service which is available, free of charge, to any student in need.
  • Course learning materials are published on our virtual learning environment “MyFutureworks”; this is beneficial to all students, not only those with learning and support needs.
  • When submitting coursework, students with specific learning difficulties are able to request stickers to be attached to their coursework in order to ensure the work submitted is marked in accordance with SPLD guidelines to ensure that all appropriate consideration is taken in the marking process and to enable equity of assessment marking.
  • Where the individual circumstances of the student require it, adjusted submission deadlines for coursework can be granted for the duration of that student’s education at Futureworks.
  • A Hardship Bursary is maintained to help students in extreme circumstances. If issued to a student, help can be provided regarding travel, accommodation and SpLD tests.
  • Emergency loans are also available to all students when warranted.

Disabled Access

As part of our commitment to improving the accessibility of our facilities to disabled students, the following are examples of some of the measures we have taken so far in order to meet this objective:

  • As part of the re-fit of the building, a larger lift has been fitted nearby the main access point to the facility.
  • There is a staff point of contact for all individual with disabilities via our Student Advice Centre.
  • Reasonable adjustments can be made to for individual students upon request.

Employability

We are committed to ensuring that our students receive support and opportunities to help increase their chances of employment in their desired sector following completion of their education at Futureworks. Some examples of activities include:

  • Continuing Development Education is embedded as part of all courses as standard.
  • Continuing Development weeks are held each semester to help develop the employability skills of our students.
  • Futureworks, as an institution, holds a range of industry connections and our staff have years of industry experience. Introduction via Futureworks can help promote relationships between students and representatives of their desired industry.
  • An exciting way we help connect students to the industry is our very own Futureworks Music In-House Record Label. Established back in 2011, the label has since been helping Futureworks Students and Alumni distribute their music productions to the worldwide marketplace. Details of the programme can be found on our website http://futureworks.ac.uk/about/futureworks-music/ the label website itself can be found at http://futureworks.ac.uk/about/futureworks-music/
  • An Industry Newsletter is published monthly to keep all are students and alumni up to date with industry information and employment opportunities to help promote their industry awareness.
  • Our Industry Advisory Group engages with the creative industries and provides a unique opportunity for networking and building relationships within the creative community. We believe participation in this group will ensure students receive the most industry relevant education we can provide and will help develop lifetime industry contacts.
  • Guest Lecturers by our industry contacts provide insight into good practices and developments in the industry. Guest Lecturers are also sourced from Futureworks Alumni which help to showcase the opportunities available following completion of an education through Futureworks.
  • We are very proud of our Alumni and are always keen to remain in contact with them once they leave Futureworks and assist them throughout their career and in outside projects. We maintain a Futureworks Alumni Linkedin page to promote Alumni communication and to provide a place where students can regularly find recently posted job opportunities and career guidance resources.

Staff Training

Ensuring our staff members are aware of our students needs and know how to help them is an ever developing part of our staff training. Below are some of the key programmes our staff members recently completed:

  • Mental Health awareness
  • Autism awareness
  • Diversity awareness
  • Mental Health 1st Aid England
  • Autism & Mental Health
  • Women & girls with Autism
  • Identifying and talking about suicide
  • Trans awareness & equality
  • Stress, anxiety & anxiety based depression
  • Assessment marking using SpLD & Mental Health guidelines
  • Prevent Duty

We feel this training helps staff members gain a better understanding of the needs of our students and helps them to provide support to all of the members of our student community. Additionally, students can be safe in the knowledge that are staff are equip to support their needs.