A collective effort is needed to help people realise their potential

I’m delighted that we’re publishing Working to Widen Access.

I believe passionately that higher education should be open to everyone who has the talent to benefit.  I also believe that talent is distributed across the population, regardless of privilege. As a society, I believe we can and must be committed to achieving equality of opportunity, and to making sure each individual can realise their full potential.

I know that Universities Scotland members share these values.

Higher education can’t solve the whole problem, but we will pull our full weight in a collective effort across education.

Personally, increasing access to education is one of the main reasons why I want to do this job.  It’s something I’ve carried with me from early in my career.  One of my earliest jobs was teaching a programme to help adults who’d missed out on higher education as young people. It was a lasting inspiration to see people realise their potential and succeed at university, which has seemed unattainable earlier in their lives.

So it’s been deeply satisfying to see university leaders stepping up to the plate and showing that they are committed to ambitious action that’s fully in line with their values. Universities are a force for good and for social mobility, and we’re restless to keep finding new ways in which we can promote the common good.

Let’s get on with it.

Alastair Sim is Director of Universities Scotland