Reporter 423, 21 September 1998

Optimum support for single parents

Sue Townsley is one of 4,950 students starting their courses at the University this week. The single mother of two has enrolled on a new, ground-breaking programme of free study aimed at carers. She is planning a career in community work.

The Office of Part-Time Education’s OPTIMISE scheme is being launched with the help of a £50,000 grant from the European Social Fund – the University’s first funding from this source.

OPTIMISE offers two years of free study and paid expenses to a previously overlooked group of people – unemployed or under-employed lone parents and other carers who have a good education or training but have been unable to capitalise on it fully because of family commitments. It will help them back onto career paths in the professional or business sectors by providing a linked programme of study, work experience and personal guidance.

There are still places available on the scheme and applications can be accepted until teaching begins at the end of this month.

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