Young people talking while seated at a picnic bench.

Social inclusion

Social inclusion is one of the five priorities in our Social Responsibility and Civic Engagement plan.


The University of Manchester is one of the leading global higher education institutions for social responsibility and one of Greater Manchester’s largest spenders and employers.

This means that we’re well positioned to tackle the social inequalities, prejudices and barriers that continue to affect people’s lives and choices locally, nationally and globally.

We’re engaging with, involving and inspiring people on our campus, in communities and around the world to develop our understanding of social inclusion, and how we can foster inclusive and effective solutions.

These are delivered through a wide variety of key initiatives such as our School Governor Initiative, the Manchester Access Programme, the employment and training initiative The Works and our Equity and Merit Scholarships.

School Governors

As part of our social responsibility strategy, we are working to increase the number of university staff and alumni serving as governors in local schools. The School Governor Initiative enables schools and colleges to benefit from the vast range of skills and experiences that our staff and alumni can bring to a Board of Governors.

Manchester Access Programme

The Manchester Access Programme is our flagship widening participation scheme for local Year 12 students. The programme aims to help students from under-represented backgrounds to secure entry to The University of Manchester or another research-intensive university by completing a portfolio of work demonstrating specific knowledge and skills.

The Works

Skills and employment levels in some of our local communities are some of the lowest in the UK.

We’re helping to address this through The Works – an innovative employment and training initiative at the heart of our local communities. The University of Manchester is one of the region’s largest employers and we want to improve the job opportunities for our local residents.

A key aim for the University is to play a role in transforming life chances in our local community by supporting unemployed people back into work. This is achieved through a partnership with The Growth Company, an award-winning social enterprise with a mission to enable growth, create jobs and improve lives in Greater Manchester.

Local Matters

Local Matters is a participatory research and teaching approach to understanding and responding to poverty and building social justice in place. The programme works alongside staff in the education, cultural and third sector to explore what is known about poverty (locally and nationally), audit their organisations attitudes towards poverty, critically investigate the local poverty context and then apply this new knowledge and research skills, through action research and audit, to make changes to organisational practice and policy. Essentially, we train staff  to be locally embedded social justice researchers.

Equity and Merit Scholarships

The Equity and Merit scholarships provide support for academically excellent students from the Global South who have the potential to make a significant contribution to sustainable development in their home countries. The scholarships cover full tuition fees, and for students who will be studying in Manchester, the award includes return international air fares, living expenses and visas.


Other initiatives

STEM inclusion

As a major provider of STEM subjects at degree level, we recognise their importance to the UK’s skills base. We are passionate about working with teachers and careers advisers to inspire local school pupils with the exciting experiences and advantages of studying science. 

Global inequalities

Our expertise is helping tackle inequalities that people face across the world.

University of Sanctuary

We are working to make the University a safe and welcoming place of refugees and asylum seekers. Read more about our university of sanctuary initiative.

Widening Participation

At The University of Manchester, widening participation is firmly embedded in how we run our institution.