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Universities unite to help disabled students.

Byline: Richard Warburton Education Correspondent

Birmingham's three universities have joined forces to create a scheme to improve support for disabled students in higher education.

The Birmingham Universities Personal Assistance Scheme Project (BUPAS), which began at the University of Central England, is being extended to Aston and Birmingham universities.

The project provides training for support workers who are employed by the scheme and for students who are in need of assistance.

Training encompasses disability awareness, communication and professional development when supporting students who are dyslexic, deaf, blind, physically disabled or who have mental health problems.

Links are also being forged with mainstream and specialist further education colleges to support transition programmes to assist students who make the move into higher education. BUPAS is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council of England.

Sue Green, Birmingham University's disability co-ordinator, said: 'We are pleased to be part of this project, which has strengthened our disability provision and forged better links between the three universities.'

Ash Talwar, from Aston University said: 'Last year saw an increase in the number of supported students at Aston from previous years and the scheme's inception proved to be timely. It allowed us to provide the best possible assistance for students with disabilities.

'The potential of this scheme to assist students who require it is very good indeed and we feel justifiably proud of the way it has begun.'

Liz Collins, project manager at UCE, said: 'Sharing commitment with Aston and Birmingham staff has been interesting and rewarding.

'UCE's Personal Assistance Scheme has benefited from the project and support workers have found the qualification they can gain from the training a useful addition to their CVs.'
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 30, 2001
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