Dr Felicity Dunworth, the Chair and former Director of the Kent and Medway Progression Federation (KMPF), has been awarded an Honorary Degree from Brunel University London.
The honour was awarded in recognition of Felicity’s contribution to improving support for disadvantaged young people throughout her career and in particular her work in establishing collaborative partnerships such as KMPF and later the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL).
It has long been understood by institutions in our area that collaboration is the best way to ensure that every organisation contributing to a young person’s journey through their education is working as part of a concerted endeavour to offer the most opportunities and the most consistent support. This model of collaborative partnership has informed the establishment of other organisations, both local and national, such as NNECL.
Felicity, who retired from her role as Director of KMPF in September 2020 and now serves as its independent Chair, said the Honorary Degree came as a complete surprise, but one she was extremely honoured to receive.
“This award is a testament to the tireless efforts of partners locally and nationally who are driven by a shared passion to improve access to education and enable social mobility,” she said.
She added, “I have been privileged to be able to work with so many dedicated and committed professionals across several different organisations for so many years and look forward to seeing their work together continue locally and across the UK in future.”
Felicity has led collaborative working in higher education at a local, regional and national level, both professionally and as a volunteer, for over two decades. In 2003, she became the first Director of what is now the Kent and Medway Progression Federation (KMPF), a collaborative partnership of higher education providers, colleges, schools and community organisations. The partnership continues to ensure that every young person who has the potential to benefit from higher education can see and reach their potential.
In 2008, she co-established the Kent and Medway Care Leaver Progression Partnership, which brought schools, colleges and universities together with social services, foster parents, local employers and others to create consistent support across Kent and Medway for care leavers.
In 2013, she co-founded the National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNCEL) to address the many challenges faced by young people who have been in care, as they progress through education. In late 2019, she was honoured to be appointed Co-Chair of the NNECL Board and most recently has overseen the development of the NNECL Quality Mark, designed to ensure that universities and colleges are consistent in offering the highest possible level of support to young people who have been in care.
Felicity was also a founding member of the National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) and until 2017 was a member of the NEON steering group.
The Honorary Doctorate was awarded during Brunel University London’s summer graduation ceremonies.
The university awards Honorary Doctorates in recognition of outstanding scholarly achievement, usually recognised internationally; outstanding service to the national or international community; outstanding service to the University; or outstanding service to the local community.