Three Bradford College students have won prestigious awards courtesy of the Helena Kennedy Foundation (HKF). The Helena Kennedy Foundation awards annual bursaries to students who have overcome significant personal and financial hardship to complete a further education course and progress into higher education.
This year the foundation awarded £1500 bursaries to deserving students to assist with higher education studies.
Asif Qadir, Victoria Lester and Wasim Ahmed fought off stiff competition to win Helena Kennedy Awards. The students will be presented with their awards at a ceremony at the House of Lords in Autumn. The Helena Kennedy Foundation sent a confirmation letter to the College this week that commended the extremely high standard of applications and congratulated Asif, Victoria, Wasim and the College.
The students won the awards in recognition of their commitment to their studies despite facing difficulties and having personal issues to overcome.
Victoria studied a Humanities and Social Science Access to Higher Education course. Victoria returned to education aged thirty having left school at fifteen as a ‘drop out’ who was brought up by a mother who at the time suffered with drug dependency. Relocating to Bradford, Victoria was routinely bullied and was written off by the education system. Victoria spent ten years working in dead end jobs to pay the bills and look after her children. As a single parent Victoria worried about helping her children with their homework and started reading their text books when they were in bed. Finding herself interested in subjects that scared her at school and urged by her son to enrol on a college course, Victoria made the brave step to become an adult learner. With a new passion for learning Victoria overcame many obstacles to complete her studies and has accepted a place on an English and History course at Leeds at Leeds Trinity University. Victoria’s nomination was supported by her Tutor, Stephen Jones.
Asif also completed a Humanities and Social Science Access to Higher Education course. Having left school with no qualifications and experienced many personal difficulties through his teenage years, Asif nursed his mother through a long and painful terminal illness; during the illness and after her death he became sole carer for his family. In a life changing decision to make a new start he enrolled as a full time student and threw himself into his studies whilst holding down a job to support his family. Asif plans to study a degree in Marketing at the University of Bradford, making him the first generation of his family to study at University level. Colin Halstead, Access Course Tutor supported Asif’s nomination.
Wasim completed his A Level studies in Government and Politics, Sociology, Business Studies and Geography at Bradford College Sixth Form Centre. Having made the difficult decision to leave home aged seventeen, Wasim has had to overcome significant emotional and financial challenges. Whilst studying full time and working part-time to support himself; Wasim was elected as Student Council Chairperson and juggled his priorities to complete his A Level studies. Wasim hopes to progress to Dundee University to study Geography and Politics. Wasim’s application was supported by Veronique Leygue, Sixth Form Centre Course Team Leader.
Earlier this year the College promoted the Helena Kennedy Foundation Awards and invited students to submit an application form with the chance of winning a £100 College prize and the chance to be selected to be put forward for one of the HKF awards. Having received numerous applications the College selected the 10 best applicants and rewarded them with £100 each before putting 5 applications forward for a Helena Kennedy Foundation Award.
Nick Byrne, Assistant Director Learner Services said: “The college is very pleased to have received so many excellent applications for the Helena Kennedy Awards. It was a difficult task finding the most deserving cases to submit on our behalf. I think it is a real reward for all involved that three of our students have received such recognition for their efforts. I hope that the bursaries will prove invaluable in their future studies.”
Michele Sutton, OBE, College Principal and Chief Executive added: “We are delighted to learn that three of our students have won awards! This is the second time that we have entered more than one student and the fourth year in a row that we have had winners. The award of bursaries will be of great assistance to the successful students as they progress into higher education. We wish them good luck in the next stage of their careers.”