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Speaker Biography

Jo Wiggans

Jo Wiggans is Director of Aimhigher Greater Manchester, a partnership of ten local authorities, 150+ high schools, 22 colleges, 7 higher education institutions plus workbased learning providers, Connexions services and others. The initiative has a budget of more than £5million per annum, some of which is devolved to partners to deliver targeted programmes of activities to encourage young people from underrepresented groups to progress to higher education.

The Aimhigher Greater Manchester IAG strand brings HE, FE, local authority and Connexions staff together to lead a programme of staff development and information and resources for progression to HE, alongside in-school and college delivery of IAG and aspiration-raising sessions for young people. The Aimhigher Associates scheme places 250 trained undergraduates in 65 Aimhigher target schools and colleges, and the IAG strand has appointed a team of Aimhigher Graduate Officers who are locally based to deliver the STARS programme and experiential sessions to young people, referring to professional guidance staff as appropriate. Please see our website for more information about the Aimhigher IAG programme: www.aimhighergreatermanchester.co.uk

Jo was formerly Assistant Director for the Open University in the North West where she worked for ten years on student support and retention, outreach and marketing and tutor development, and taught OU courses in the Social Science and Education faculties.

Her first job after graduation was as secretary to a private art dealer in Mayfair, selling Impressionist art to wealthy internationalists. Jo says that seeing how the other half live continues to fire her belief in widening participation in higher education.


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