Access and Participation Statement
KLC is a small, specialist, career-focused and industry-led school. We are committed to widening participation in the School and recognise that different people bring different perspectives, ideas, knowledge and culture to teaching and learning and that this difference brings great strength. We seek to empower individuals through design education, regardless of ethnicity or background. We aim to encourage groups that would not traditionally consider going on to higher education – ethnic minorities, people from low-income backgrounds or low participation neighbourhoods, people with specific learning difficulties, mature learners or those whose parents did not go to university - and to reach out to those potential students in a number of different ways.
We believe that excellence will be achieved through recognising the value of every individual, whatever their background, and focus on giving all our students exceptional levels of support to help them to achieve their real potential, contribute fully and derive maximum benefit and enjoyment from their involvement with the School.
Our applicants are at the heart of what we do and KLC:
- Participates in educational fairs • Offers careers talks at schools
- Runs regular open days at the School where all are welcome to attend talks and speak to tutors and graduates.
- Takes a very personalised approach to applications • Interviews all students for validated courses at the School or via telephone
- Offers a one-day taster course (free of charge for those applicants who have had an interview) at the School to experience the teaching and learning methods and the environment, before students make the decision to enrol.
- Provides part-time, online and summer introductory courses that can be taken in their own right or as a taster before enrolling on a longer course
- Offers an annual means-tested scholarship for an applicant with outstanding ability who would not otherwise be able to study at the School. This is in addition to the bursaries offered through the KLC Design Changes Lives Bursary.
KLC has a Recognised Prior Learning Policy where skills and knowledge gained by individuals outside formal learning processes are assessed and given formal recognition which:
- Allows for a more flexible and inclusive admissions systems.
- Provides a tool for building CVs with a combination of skills and work-based and course-based learning ideal for enhancing employability.
KLC is unusual in that historically it has targeted an older demographic of student and in the academic year 2016/2017, 95% of KLC Students were mature learners (students over the age of 21). For the Diploma course, which is specifically designed for career changers, a Preparatory Course helps students return to full study mode. Course inductions are designed with great thought and care to help national and international students adjust to their studies and surroundings and to integrate with their cohort.
To widen access to and participation in our courses we offer different study modes and have invested extensively in a custom built online platform. Several of our courses can now be studied online and in the academic year 2016/2017, 49% of KLC Students were studying by flexible study methods.
- These are not only more affordable than the onsite counterparts and means that students do not have to travel to London to study.
- This also allows a student to manage other commitments such as family or work, which means that they can earn as they learn.
- Our virtual learning environment, which is also available to onsite courses, allows students the opportunity to review course material before or after teaching and learning sessions.
- The range of different study methods includes full, part time and online courses and our accelerated courses meet the growing demand for learning to prepare students for the workplace as quickly as possible.
Two years ago we introduced a Foundation Degree Interior Design, available onsite and online, to reach out to school leavers so that there was equal opportunity for younger students. We are not as yet successfully recruiting white males with low income but believe the online Foundation Degree and the new online Certificate course should allow us to make some progress.
In line with this, through our Design Changes Lives Foundation, KLC is involved in a range of initiatives to encourage students from schools where higher education and particularly careers such as design and architecture would not normally be considered. These include:
- Inspirational schools talks.
- An annual Young “Design Changes Lives” competition.
- The Foundation also provides a limited number of means-tested bursaries for students who meet the admissions criteria but would not otherwise be able to study at the School. The bursaries can also be used to facilitate progression.
The student who was awarded a bursary for the academic year 2017/2018 has just won a project competition run in conjunction with Andrew Martin, a prestigious design practice and manufacturer, who are at the forefront of global design.
SUPPORT FOR SUCCESS
Part of the ethos of the school is the development of individual ability and once students are enrolled with us tutors will make every effort to support students experiencing difficulties with additional material, extra lectures and one to one help where needed.
We find that our extensive links with industry and the local community enrich the learning and teaching experience for all and that promoting good relationships and advancing equality of opportunity makes KLC a diverse, vibrant and friendly place to study. We believe that producing employable and enterprising graduates should be a natural part of the process of educating which is embedded within all our validated courses. KLC recognises the importance employers place on employability skills and, to prepare them for this:
- Students are encouraged to think critically, analyse and communicate information and reflect upon aspects of their work.
- Tutors promote the importance of professionalism encouraging students to develop their academic, personal and professional potential with employment in mind.
It is part of KLC’s strategy to involve employers and graduates in the educational experience of students as much as possible and they contribute through:
- The provision of work experience.
- Inspirational lectures.
- Presenting case studies at careers workshops.
- Contributing to project workshops.
- Providing feedback that informs new and current programmes and helps the school keep up to date with current design practice.
- Encouraging students to become natural networkers.
Course programmes are:
- Specifically designed to improve career prospects for our students and include sessions to help students present their work to potential clients and successfully put their ideas across.
- Regularly reviewed to try and improve retention and the success of the course outcomes in terms of graduation and employment.
- Designed to be relevant to all and to engage rather than alienate.
- Designed to encourage entrepreneurship and enterprise and to facilitate this, a community based project is included as part of our validated courses. This helps students to recognise that while many new businesses are driven by and highly dependent on design, there are also many important social issues which designers are well equipped to address and they have an important role to play in finding solutions to manage an increasingly culturally diverse society.
Our Careers Service works with all students to find the best career path on graduation and to help them find employment.
- Students appreciate the opportunity to undertake work experience organised by the Careers Service which enhances their studies and provides a valuable addition to a CV.
- For students unable to participate in live work experience, KLC has launched the option of virtual work experience via Studio K which allows students to immerse themselves in realistic professional practice.
- Students can expect ongoing support and guidance from the Careers team after graduation and can continue to access the Student Support System and Job Forum. They are also encouraged to join KLC’s active Alumni Association which plays a vital role in supporting the Careers service and supporting future graduates.
To facilitate progression:
- We have invested in new course development and now offer higher education from Level 4 to Level 6.
- Students are encouraged to progress from their Foundation Degree or Higher Education Diploma to the Top Up BA (Hons) Interior Design. This course will be offered as an online option from September 2018 to further widen access.
- For students who perhaps wish to progress their studies at another institution tutors provide portfolio guidance and are happy to support the application process with references as required.
- Bursaries provided by the Design Changes Lives Foundation can be used to facilitate progression.
We make our students aware that lifelong learning is part of a professional career and that part of their professional requirements will demand involvement in continual professional development.
As a small independent, niche educational provider KLC is limited in viable ways to widen access and participation. However with the introduction of flexible study methods and the work of the Foundation with the “Inspiring Young Designers” campaign in schools and provision of bursaries, together with the very personalised and supportive approach to access including RPL, we have considerably broadened the awareness of our courses and access to the school.
The career focused programmes and exceptionally high level of tutor and careers support with the focus on individual attainment help to ensure a high level of retention and graduate completion while our effective careers department are managing increasingly high employment statistics.
This excerpt from, as she described it, a “Letter of Appreciation” from a Nigerian graduate who had gone on from the KLC Diploma to do a Masters in Architecture at Lincoln University where she graduated with a First and had just won the Young Designer of the Year Award at the Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) in Nigeria, is a good example of how all students are made to feel welcome and supported at KLC and are fully prepared to achieve progression and success:
“I came to the UK 3 years ago to achieve a career in Interior Design and I am glad I chose KLC to fulfil that dream. From the full on design course work, to inspiration and encouragement from tutors and industry partners, I have always felt welcome and a part of the KLC family….I genuinely owe my success to the hardworking and dedicated team at KLC and the immeasurable experience at KLC School of Design.”