25 November 2021
Alongside Skills and Education Group Access, another main branch of the Skills and Education Group is the Skills and Education Group Foundation. This Foundation provides grant funding to enable disadvantaged learners to overcome social barriers and achieve their potential.
The Sheffield College, one of our Access Centres, is also a member of the Skills and Education Group. Recently, a learner who studied the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Business at the College was awarded a grant from the Foundation. This student (who would prefer to remain anonymous) has an inspiring story to tell.
He is a refugee who has come to the UK via Germany in the hope of studying management at university. After successfully completing his Diploma, he has now progressed to a degree course at the College.
However, due to his asylum status, he is not currently eligible for funding to support him at college. The money he has received from the Foundation will therefore support him as he completes his higher education and pursues his career ambitions.
The student got in touch with us to tell us more about his learning journey and aims for the future.
Can you tell us about your learning journey so far?
Before I came to the UK, I was living in Germany and had B2 in German language proficiency, but I did not have the opportunity to attend university due to the German government's strict policies regarding asylum seekers. So I came to the UK via Belgium.
I believe that education is a key factor for success and I am passionate to expand and advance my knowledge, skills, and experiences in my professional career. However, without professional skills or a degree, I know that I could struggle in the job market and face obstacles preventing me becoming self-employed and improving my economic situation.
Why did you choose to study an Access course?
As an asylum seeker, I am determined to work hard at my education to improve my prospects. I therefore applied to study at the Sheffield College and have completed an Access to HE Diploma in Business.
I chose an Access course primarily to gain a roadmap towards an academic qualification, which will be equivalent to tertiary studies in my home country. I knew that the Access course would not only boost my academic skills for university but also develop my English language proficiency.
What did you gain from the Access course?
I developed relevant skills such as report writing, business planning, essay writing, accounting, research, and presentation skills. I also gained knowledge of the business environment, economics, international trading, business communications and employability. I had no clue about any of these skills in my previous lifetime. This multi-dimensional course made me open-minded and introduced me to a multitude of different business ideas and new perspectives, which had a big impact on my life, experience, thoughts, and knowledge.
How will the grant from the Skills and Education Group Foundation support your education?
Due to my status, my access to loans and support from the government, as well as my ability to apply for jobs, is restricted. The grant from the Skills and Education Group Foundation is therefore crucial in allowing me to overcome financial barriers and continue my education through undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Receiving the grant encourages me to work harder on my education and enables me to focus without the stress caused by financial worries. I am also motivated to give something back, both voluntarily and financially, to the local community in the future.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I am highly motivated to work to become an academic, professional person despite tremendous setbacks since childhood. I am pursuing my passion of an undergraduate course in management, so that I gain the skills to manage personal, private, and public resources. In addition, economics and marketing are other major interests that I would like to explore through postgraduate studies. I would like to become competitive in the job market, boost my employability and gain the skills to solve social and economic issues. Finally, I am determined to become a highly professional manager, economist and entrepreneur within ten years.
Are there any learners at your organisation who would also benefit from financial support to help them reach their potential? Grant applications for the Skills and Education Group Foundation are currently open. To find out more and submit applications, click here.
Do you know an Access to HE student who has an inspiring story to tell? If so, we would love to hear from you and share their story. You can fill in our learner case study form here or get in touch.