GHWY’s Manager reflects on the last academic year

As we come to the end of the academic year, I can say without a doubt that this has been the strangest and most challenging of my almost twenty-year career in HE – and at the same time one of the most gratifying.  

The past 12 months in particular have demonstrated the importance of people: 

  • Our colleagues and the benefit we get from working within a team, listening to and supporting each other. We have made it through the past year by being there for each other with empathy and understanding. 
  • Our wider networks and how staying in touch and keeping conversations going can lead to further opportunities. We’ve seen our highest rates of meeting attendance over this past academic year, however are aware that online and digital communication cannot fully replace seeing each other in person. 

The above activities can’t be carried out individually; they continue to demonstrate to me the value of collaboration. Some of the ways we have successfully worked together over the past year include:

  • Consolidating information from across the partnership in the collaborative consultation responses, adding weight to the key messages from across member institutions. 
  • Increasing the reach of our Care to Go Higher CPD programme for foster carers, children’s home staff and personal advisers, by moving it online and working with an increased number of local authorities. 
  • In exploring graduate outcomes and progression barriers we have reviewed learning from member led projects and supplemented our knowledge through extended conversations with key partners including the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Yorkshire Universities. 
  • Our engagement in the Let’s Talk Real Skill ESF programme has enabled us to better understand regional employer skills needs and to catalyse new opportunities for members to enhance the regional training offer. 

Our embedded collaborative approach which values a range of HE providers and qualification types has also meant we are ahead of the curve in already meeting many of the OfS’s asks for Uni Connect 2021 onwards. 

As a partnership, we really couldn’t achieve what we do without the support and input from the staff across our member and partner institutions – so from all of us at GHWY, a big thank you for all that you do and we look forward to continuing to work with you. 


Helen Sykes, GHWY Manager