Breaking down barriers to education

With the help of his donor-funded scholarship, Callum was able to study at Manchester and fulfil his potential.

Scholarships like mine give people the opportunity to change their lives Share on X

Callum was able to overcome all barriers to higher education thanks to his donor-funded scholarship Share on X Discover how the University’s MAP programme helped make higher education a viable option for students like Callum Share on X

At a time when attending university is a natural next step for many young people as part of their higher education, it is easy to forget that there are many deprived areas in Manchester and the UK where this is not such a common choice.

Where Callum grew up, in Moston, for example, the idea of furthering one’s education seems a distant and sometimes unrealistic goal.

“Where I’m from, almost no one goes to university”, says Callum. “There aren’t many opportunities and most people are just trying to get by each month.

“I didn’t want to get stuck in that cycle and I saw education and university as the main route out of that situation.”

Manchester Access Programme

It was during Callum’s second year of college when he found out about the Manchester Access Programme (MAP). MAP is The University of Manchester’s flagship widening participation scheme and aims to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds enhance their skills in areas like interviews and research so that they are better prepared for higher education.

“MAP was really useful because the workshops such as delivering a presentation or essay-writing gave me a sense of the step up in what would be required. We also learnt how to communicate better, at a level expected at university, so we were developing a good set of transferable skills.

“Even developing skills as simple as referencing made it much easier when I arrived at The University of Manchester. MAP is almost like a foundation year condensed into a couple of months.

Receiving a donor-funded scholarship

For those who successfully complete MAP and choose to study at Manchester, they are awarded an Undergraduate Access Scholarship to help relieve some of the financial pressure and so that they can make the most of their time at university.

These scholarships are generously funded by alumni and donors. Callum received his scholarship once he chose to study Psychology at Manchester. It has allowed him to make the most of his time at Manchester and set a foundation from which he can forge a successful career.

“The scholarship has helped pay for a bus pass, and books for my course which can be expensive. But it has also allowed me to have time to do other things which will hopefully help me with job applications and interviews.

“For example, I’m coordinating a team of fifty-five peer mentors and delivering social, academic support for first years. I’ve completed the Manchester Leadership Programme, I’m coaching athletics, and I’m heavily involved in the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends Initiative here.

Making the most of university

“If I was worrying about the finances, I’d have to be working and if I was working a lot of the time then I wouldn’t be able to get involved in all this.”

“If I get invited to an interview for example I’ve got more to talk about now, more experience behind me than just stacking shelves or sitting at a checkout like I used to do.

As Callum enters the final stages of his course, he hopes to graduate this summer with a first-class degree.

“I’m looking at doing a master’s in Occupational Organisational Psychology or Health Psychology. And then, following that, I’m most likely going to do a PhD because I’ve always wanted to go into teaching, and it would allow me to conduct further research into an area in which I am interested.”

“It shows that no matter where people are, people care.”

Thanks to his NAFUM Scholarship, Callum has been able to maximise his potential and aim as high as possible instead of being limited by his background or financial status.

“To those who donate and have helped fund my scholarship, I just want to say thank you. The fact that I’ve had university opened to me is thanks to the scholarship. It’s allowed me to develop personally, professionally, and academically. I’ve been able to push myself.

“It shows that no matter where people are, people care. I feel that it’s really important that people across the world are helping people from backgrounds like my own to say ‘look you can do this, you can go into employment’.

Scholarships like mine give people the opportunity to change their lives, which they otherwise wouldn’t have; to broaden their horizons, to go out and discover.”

4 thoughts on “Breaking down barriers to education

  1. I’m so pleased to read Callum’s story. I reached Manchester University from a council estate in Lincolnshire back in 1960 (on a full grant). I feel my small contribution is a way of passing on some of my own good fortune to a later generation.

    I now live just along the railway line from Moston, in Rochdale, so know where he is coming from.

    All good wishes to Callum and the other beneficiaries for the future.

  2. Our generation were so lucky to have grants to help pay for their education. We still had to work in the vacations,and the JMBproved a good employer in those days!But at least we didn’t have a huge debt to service

  3. I graduated in physics in 1966. The student who graduated top of the class of nearly 100 came from a very ordinary Moston! We all had a big advantage. Fees had not been invented, at least for students to pay or borrow for.

  4. Many thanks for sharing your story Callum! As a member of the BSc (Hons) Psychology programme and University of Manchester’s Academic Lead for Equality, Diversity & Inclusion; I have been privileged to have first-hand experience of how you have grasped every opportunity to enhance your personal and professional development and to support others. You are truly inspirational! I’m sure other Alumni and donors will join me in expressing their delight in seeing that our contributions are making a real difference in the lives of people like you. Look forward to following your career with interest. All the very best Dx

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