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Outstanding Achievement award for Shakespeare ambassador

He played Romeo in a Shakespeare play and became a youth representative on a national arts organisation less than two years after moving to Bradford through a refugee resettlement programme. 

Now Hareth Alshaban has received the award for Outstanding Achievement for Arts, Science & Creative Industries at the Bradford College FE Student and Apprenticeship Awards.

After receiving the award at a special ceremony, Hareth, a 20-year-old Palestinian who came to Bradford through a UN resettlement programme in 2018, said: “I feel quite thrilled.”

Hareth as Romeo

A great teacher

Hareth joined Bradford College as an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) student. He said: “I initially enrolled on the Level One ESOL course. I was hoping to eventually go on to study psychology.

“I had a great teacher, Esther Wilkey, who gave me so many opportunities to try new things, and said yes to every single one.”

Shakespeare Club

Among those opportunities was Shakespeare Club. Through this,ESOL students engage in a highly immersive way of boosting spoken and written language skills using Shakespeare’s plays. The sessions connect techniques used by Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) actors in their rehearsals to the ways in which teachers can work with children and young people in the classroom. Students work together on reading edited plays such as the Taming of the Shrew and The Merchant of Venice.

Hareth was one of two students who went on to become members of the RSC Youth Advisory Board. He said: “I didn’t know much about Shakespeare but I said yes to the opportunity. I had a very rigid view of Shakespeare. I thought he was just for old people. But then I realised he did a lot of adult jokes!”

Hareth even played Romeo in a stage production of Romeo and Juliet. This was part of his work towards an Arts Award, part of the Start programme run by the Alhambra Theatre. Hareth was one of eight students who received a special mention in the  Trinity Talent Class of 2019, celebrating young artists who developed their practice through Trinity qualifications.

The gallery was created by Trinity College London and Voice magazine. It highlighted young people who achieved a Trinity Music, Rock & Pop, Drama or Arts Award qualification during 2019.

A role model for young people

Continuing in the arts, Hareth went on to study Level 3 Music, Performance and Production. In addition to his studies, he volunteers with Bradford Youth Service and has a paid position as a Young Covid Ambassador. He helps facilitate weekly youth club sessions part time.

Announcing his award, Nathan Kelly, Head of Education, Creative Industries and Arts, said: “In a relatively short space of time (he) has achieved tremendous personal growth and has been inspired to pursue further education and has the skills to seek and make the most of opportunities he finds. 

“Enrichment projects have aided in his personal development, confidence and provided him with opportunities to grow. They have resulted in him wanting to positively contribute to Bradford and the UK as he feels he has found a home here.”

A future in politics

Hareth has been accepted by Liverpool Hope University to study for a Politics degree. He said: “I wanted to do psychology. But through politics, I can help many people, instead of one person at a time.

“I haven’t forged a career path yet but it will definitely be something to do with politics. I just keep saying yes to stuff and I’m optimistic.”

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

This is a comprehensive, language-based programme. It is designed to help with the transition between studying in your home language and studying in Britain. There is a full-time course for speakers of languages other than English aged 16-18, or part-time courses for adults aged 19 and over. You may join this course with any level of English from Beginner to Advanced Level 1.

Music, Performance and Production

Music, Performance and Production courses at Bradford College enable you to develop your talent, skills and theory. We design our courses to prepare you for a career in the music industry – whether you want to perform, write music, or produce it.

You’ll work on projects with students from other courses and get the chance to perform in venues around the city.

Find out more at

Published: 4th August 2021

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