Report hails success of University Centre Telford in helping boost opportunities for mature students

The work of University Centre Telford in boosting opportunities for mature students has been hailed in a report from the English universities’ regulator, the Office for Students.

Report hails success of University Centre Telford in helping boost opportunities for mature students

The university centre is the first of the University of Wolverhampton’s regional learning centres, based above Telford’s Southwater library, and was set up in a joint project with Telford & Wrekin Council.

University Centre Telford has recently been showcased as a success case study in an Office for Students (OfS) Insight brief that looks at the current surge of mature applicants to further and higher education following a decade of decline and the type of support needed to ensure their success.

Councillor Shirley Reynolds, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People, Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “We have built a strong partnership with the University of Wolverhampton and it is great to see our successes acknowledged.

“The council and university both recognise we have a unique opportunity, right now, to help improve the skills of a new generation of adult learners and enable them to study full time.

“This centre provides many opportunities for our residents to make use of the university’s educational offer. It is based right at the heart of Telford and is helping increase the number of people going on to higher skills and Higher Education in the Telford and Wrekin area.”

The OfS report, ‘Improving opportunity and choice for mature students’, highlights the success of the University Centre Telford: “It is based on a model of collaboration using a whole-community integrated approach aligned with local economic and social needs, including higher skills to drive the local economy. It aims to increase awareness of higher education for all, enable progression routes and offer relevant courses locally.”

The report adds: “The centre plays a key role in community engagement, working to engage and nurture prospective and current learners through bespoke information, advice and guidance, tasters, lectures and participation in community and Telford-wide events. 

Paula Harrison, University Centre Telford Coordinator said: “During the pandemic, learning has been essential in addressing the wellbeing of the communities who make up Telford, and the centre has played a key role.”

University of Wolverhampton Vice-Chancellor, and Professor of Lifelong Learning, Geoff Layer, said: “It’s great for the University’s hard work in lifelong learning to be recognised in such a positive way by the OfS. We are proud to be working in partnership with Telford & Wrekin Council to provide higher education and skills to residents in the area, right in the heart of Telford.”

He said mature students now make up around 40 per cent of the University of Wolverhampton’s student community. 

After a decade of decline, national data from UCAS shows that full-time undergraduate mature applicants from the UK rose by 24 per cent this year to 96,390, with applications for nursing from students aged 35 and over increasing by 39 per cent.

It is thought to be due to people looking to improve or change their skills following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

To find out about the opportunities available for mature students at the University of Wolverhampton’s University Centre Telford, visit

The Centre offers a range of part-time University courses as well as bespoke Information, Advice and Guidance for people wanting to progress to HE and progression programmes to help students on their journey.