• First students graduate from ground-breaking WBS Foundation Year
  • Students from deprived backgrounds gain access to leading business school
  • Places offered to students with lower A-level grades
  • Students progress from Foundation Year to undergraduate degree

The first cohort from Warwick Business School’s ground-breaking Foundation Year, which helps bright and ambitious students from groups under-represented in universities, have graduated.

The Foundation Year has been set up to help teenagers from groups under-represented in Higher Education and from deprived backgrounds receive a first-class education at a Russell Group University and one of the world’s leading business schools.

It opens the door to the school’s top-ranked BSc degrees in Accounting & Finance or Management for young people who, through circumstances beyond their control, lack the academic qualifications for direct entry.

Related course: Foundation Year

The Foundation Year gives students the opportunity to build their knowledge about business, improve key academic skills and spend a year building their confidence to succeed in the University environment before starting a degree course.

Jake Howard, BSc Management graduate from Northampton, said: “Without the Foundation Year I don’t think I would have gone to University so my life would have been massively different. I would most likely be working on a building site.

“My life has been completely changed by coming to Warwick and I now realise how lucky I was to be given a chance.

“Having not done A Level maths at school, studying Business Maths and Stats was probably my biggest task in the Foundation Year. However, the numerical skills I picked up from there have been used throughout my degree and I wouldn’t have been able to progress without that extra learning.”

Najee Hackett, who will be graduating in BSc Management, said: “The Foundation Year allowed me to ask a million and one questions on what makes a great essay. The feedback was even better!

“At the beginning of the Foundation Year I got 48 per cent in my essays. Now completing my degree my average essay mark is 70 per cent - this is definitely thanks to the help I received during the Foundation Year. All the staff were amazing and helped me so much.

“Now a graduate I plan to go into teaching for a few years before going corporate. This summer I’ll be teaching in Tanzania for six weeks thanks to Warwick in Africa. After this I’ll start a two-year course with Teach First, gaining teaching qualifications and helping those from disadvantaged backgrounds like myself, before moving on to entering the corporate world.”

Related course: BSc Management

Students applying for the year don’t need high A Level grades, but must meet certain criteria, such as having spent time in local-authority care, attended a school with below average performance, have been eligible for ‘free school meals’ or lived in an area with a high level of social deprivation.

Andy Lockett, Dean and Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, said: “The Foundation Year has been a huge success and really opened our eyes to the wealth of talent that lies hidden in this country due to difficult backgrounds and deprivation.

“It is well known that students from disadvantaged backgrounds do not gain access to higher education at the same rate as other students – not because they cannot succeed, but because of barriers that make it difficult to prove they can. We believe strongly in facilitating access to these students.

“I am very proud to welcome these young men and women into the Warwick Alumni and congratulate them on their hard work, perseverance and determination in graduating with us and I know they will go on to be great ambassadors for the business school in their new careers.”


Tina Kiefer, Assistant Dean for Widening Participation, said: “I am extremely proud of our first Foundation Year cohort, they have worked so hard and shown so much ability and resilience.

“The Foundation Year is designed as an integrated part of the Undergraduate programme and not a stand-alone programme. This means students who pass the Foundation Year are guaranteed their place and progress automatically to BSc Management or BSc Accounting & Finance, without having to re-apply to these very competitive programmes.

“We have taken the bold decision to offer places to students with A Level grades well below our competitive target as well as more vocational qualifications, such as a BTEC, which we do not accept for direct entry.

“As a Business School, we understand that future leaders and innovators come from all different walks of life. We believe that in order to enhance the diversity of our student base and offer real opportunities to students from under-represented groups, we need to look beyond those who nearly missed the target and encourage bright, dedicated and driven students to consider higher education who typically would not.”