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Choice Housing announces new prize programme at Queen’s University Belfast

Choice Housing has launched an exciting new prize in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast to help transform the lives of people across Northern Ireland.

The prizes, one in each faculty, will provide financial support to students who have participated in either the Pathway Opportunity Programme or Senior Academy Programme, key Queen’s initiatives delivered by the University’s Widening Participation Unit.

Established in 2013, the Widening Participation Unit at Queen’s comprises the Junior Academy, the Senior Academy and, more recently, the Pathway Opportunity Programme.  Widening Participation students at Queen’s include young people who are in secondary education and colleges, students who have disabilities, care leavers or adult learners. Programmes such as the Senior Academy and the Pathway Opportunity Programme target young people who have the ability to attend university but who are least likely to progress to higher education, and provides support to enable them to fulfil their potential.

The Choice Housing Prizes have been established to support and motivate students from Widening Participation backgrounds to achieve academic excellence and to complete their studies.  The prizes will be awarded to the Pathway Opportunity Programme or Senior Academy students, one from each of the University’s faculties, who achieve the highest overall mark in Level 1, and who will be continuing to Level 2.

Michael McDonnell, Group Chief Executive of Choice said: “We are very pleased to announce this partnership with Queen’s who are leading the way in providing opportunities to study for those who may find prospects not as readily available.

“Encouragement and confidence play a big part in academic achievement and everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, should have the same foundation on which to grow and develop.

“The Widening Participation Unit at Queen’s has worked with a wide range of young people, teachers, schools, colleges and parents to raise the profile of opportunities open to those who want to achieve academic success. We hope that through these prizes, we can help recipients to succeed in the future and create stronger inclusive communities.”

The Pathway Opportunity Programme aims to increase the number of students from under-represented groups who will go on to study at Queen’s. The Programme is for talented young people from Northern Ireland who have the academic ability to study at Queen’s but who may require additional support and encouragement to reach their full potential.

The Senior Academy Programme raises awareness of higher education in primary and post-primary pupils by developing their academic skills and supporting attainment. Specifically targeting pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, these programmes are open to all and provide insights into university life.