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Social inclusion at the University of Bradford 

The University of Bradford is one of the most socially inclusive universities in the UK and celebrates both the differences and similarities in our many communities.

We welcome, support and dedicate ourselves to the success of our students whatever their background, identity, beliefs or challenges.
We see individuals and their potential and work hard to remove the barriers to their success. We ensure our students are able to make a positive impact on the world, equipped to tackle major global challenges through their experiences and education at Bradford.

Opportunity for all is what defines us.

Number one for social mobility

The University of Bradford has recently been ranked 1st in England for impact on social mobility (Higher Education Policy Institute's English Social Mobility Index 2021).

This new league table recognises universities' impact on changing students' social status relative to their current social location and takes into account factors such as income, health outcomes and crime rates for regions within the country.

"Delivering social mobility is a core part of our University strategy and something the University has been working really hard to support. To be recognised as number one in the country for this is really gratifying. It demonstrates the significant commitment we make to this and the fact we really have tried to make a difference to the lives of people in the region.

“This report recognises students who come to Bradford do well in terms of changing their life chances. Most league tables rank universities based on the UCAS entry tariff, which is a reflection of A-level grades. What this new ranking system shows is the impact we’re having on students, many of whom come from socially deprived backgrounds and who might not have had opportunities to show their ability and yet, with the right support, they are able to achieve their full potential."

Nikki Pierce, Academic Registrar at the University of Bradford. 

University of Bradford ranked #1 in country for improving students' life chances

Social mobility pledge

The University of Bradford was one of the early signatories for the Social Mobility Pledge, an initiative co-founded by the Former Education Secretary Justine Greening.

As a signatory, we are committed to working to increase access to higher education and career opportunities, and ensuring that these opportunities are available to people irrespective of their backgound and/or lack of connections.

As part of the pledge, the University was awarded Opportunity Anchor status at a virtual event which took place in November 2020. As an Opportunity Anchor we will be working in partnership with stakeholders including the local authority and local businesses and health organisations, to improve educational and employment opportunites for young people.

"I am delighted that Bradford is at the forefront of this environment, social and corporate governance agenda. Publishing this action plan today sends out a clear signal that The University of Bradford is raising the standard of corporate ESG and I look forward to working closely with them in the important months ahead for our country. 

“I hope many more universities will follow Bradford's lead and consider how they can go further, faster to make Britain a high skilled, high knowledge economy.”

Justine Greening, Former Education Secretary

The Graduate Workforce Bradford Project

Our Graduate Workforce Bradford Project is an initiative designed to tackle the underemployment and unemployment of Black, Asain and minority ethnic (BAME) graduates. It is also focused on combatting the recruitment skills gap and diversity needs across a wide spectrum of industries.

The University is working in partnership with 13 organisations across the city, including Bradford Council Skills House, Bradford Chamber of Commerce and Bradford Opportunity Area, to support students in securing work opportunites and developing their skills. 

Watch this video to find out how our students and alumni are benefiting from the project.

University of the Year for Social Inclusion

The Times and Sunday Times have named the University of Bradford as the UK’s University of the Year for Social Inclusion 2020.

"Bradford is a university for its city and the wider region, and it offers lessons to rest of British higher education on how to effectively embrace social diversity on campus. By recruiting very heavily from its immediate environs, Bradford has one of the largest proportions of students from ethnic minorities of any British university, but its social diversity extends wider and makes the new vice-chancellor's stated desire to put the University of Bradford at the heart of the region's social and economic regeneration no hollow ambition.

"The university provides opportunities for a higher education that are denied to so many elsewhere: two-thirds of the intake come from families where parents did not attend university; 40% are mature students taking degrees many years after leaving school; and more than half are recruited from the four poorest socioeconomic groups. These statistics show that social inclusiveness in the student body is ingrained in Bradford's DNA. And it is all achieved with high levels of professional employment and excellent degree outcomes for students from all backgrounds - a remarkable achievement and one well deserving the award of University of the Year for Social Inclusion."

Alastair McCall, editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide

Read more >>

This is where I

...was the first in my family

I’m the first in my entire family to go to university. I finished college at 19 and worked as a cleaner in schools - I was completely and utterly miserable.

I thought 'I’ve got the qualifications, I’m going to go to university'. My family didn’t want me to because they didn’t understand how student loans work. I showed them I was serious. I got a first in every subject - I completely smashed it. I told them I’d applied to study abroad in Japan for a year; I thought they’d say no, but they didn’t, they were very supportive. 

To see the change in my parents means the world if I’m being perfectly honest.  

Read Xander's story >>

This is where I

...found my voice

I’ve been brought up in a single-parent family so I’ve seen the struggles of my own mother and I’ve also seen other experiences of the women around me and the female students on campus. I was Women's and Campaigns Officer last year, so I really understand the deep issues that women are facing.

I’m pushing for women to actually enter leadership roles. This is by the formation of a committee that I’ve created this year. It's for women to lead and do activities and other events that they’d like to do.  It’s all based around female students participating in leadership roles and empowering themselves.

Read Maria's story >>

This is where I

...took the initiative

A rarely mentioned student is the one who studies whilst living at home - it can be easy for them to feel left out of university life.

It is important to take initiative and seek opportunities at the university, this is a great way to make friends.

In my second year, I signed up to become a Green Impact Ambassador through the Students Union volunteering service. I helped clean up a local fly-tipping spot. At this moment in time, I am a member of the Students’ Council at University, helping to improve the University’s environment for students.

Read Arslaan's blog >>

This is where we

...worked together

When we started we were thinking 'should we do it at the same time?' and we were second guessing it constantly. Some family members said 'maybe you should do it after him, don’t do it at the same time as it’s going to be too hard', but we just stuck with it. And then before you know it, you’re both here graduating with first-class degrees...

It didn’t feel like it was family and university separately, it felt like it was family and university together. It worked really well.

Read Anthony and Pamela's story >>

An image of husband and wife, Anthony and Pamela Richardson, on the day of Anthony's Graduation.

This is where I

...grew

Growing up as an only child and living with my grandparents had been different from conventional family life, but it has given me experience that I may not have found elsewhere.

At University I have learned many things and met different people, which has really helped me grow into the person I am today and helped me choose certain pathways.

I volunteered to be a care leaver mentor to use the experience I have to help students from traditional and non-traditional backgrounds overcome obstacles - to give a helping hand.

Read Asim's story >>

Care leaver mentor Asim Hussain profile image, with green bushes in background

Supporting our people