Students on a pioneering programme to help support young people with learning disabilities into higher education have graduated from Edinburgh Napier University for the first time.
Breaking Barriers is a partnership between the charity ENABLE, ENU, and professional services firm EY, offering participants the opportunity to gain an accredited qualification.
Run by The Business School at the University, it helps support young people with learning disabilities make the transition to university and higher education through a combination of supportive study and work placements.
The latest cohort collected their qualification during Edinburgh Napier’s autumn graduations, crossing the stage during a ceremony at this city’s Usher Hall with friends and family watching on.
“It’s really important for our Breaking Barriers students to be a part of our graduations where we celebrate achievements from across the University,” said Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal & Vice Chancellor.
“For these young people, their achievements have been fantastic. I feel proud of them. I’ve met them all and listened to their stories and it brought a tear to my eye.
“Programmes like Breaking Barriers show people what’s possible. They provide opportunity. It really brings to life what we mean by an inclusive community. One of our values at Edinburgh Napier University is inclusion and so I hope that others will see the types of programmes that we offer, the success of the students that come and the opportunities that are open to them in the future.”
Seven students took part in the 2022-23 programme, where they learned skills in accounting and finance, marketing, hospitality, customer service, and human resource management.
The programme, which ENABLE began running in 2018 at the University of Strathclyde, has seen 90% of graduates go on to secure employment or further education and training opportunities in recent years.