A student, who started college with no qualifications and worked through several courses to land a spot at university, has been awarded a bursary from the renowned Helena Kennedy Foundation.
Simon Blackstock, from Chelsea, left school without any GCSEs, but returned to education five years later at Kensington and Chelsea College to achieve his dream of getting into university.
Despite hurdles to overcome in his personal life, including two major operations, Simon completed several courses at the college, including GCSE Math and English, before successfully completing the Access to Business Course, which finally enabled him to apply to university.
The determined 21-year-old is now waiting to start a Banking and International Finance Degree at City University.
Simon’s commitment and drive earned him a nomination from the college for the prestigious Helena Kennedy Foundation Awards 2010.
The Helena Kennedy Foundation was set in the late eighties with the aim of encouraging and helping disadvantaged students from further education colleges to access university.
The Awards in particular offer students a range of bursaries to support them financially whilst attending university.
Despite being pitted against 400 other entries from across the country, Simon left an outstanding impression on the judges and was awarded a £1500 bursary towards the cost of completing a university degree. He will also receive mentoring and work shadowing support as part of the bursary package.
‘I’ve always been good with numbers but didn’t pursue this at school, and only found my motivation to get into education when I was slightly older. Now I can’t wait to get to university. The first year I returned to education was the hardest as I had to take time out for an operation. It left me a slightly behind on the course but I was encouraged by my mum and tutors not to give up, and I’m glad I didn’t.’
‘It’s a real honour to be given the award from the Helena Kennedy Foundation. I feel like it’s recognition for my achievements. My tutor must have really believed in me to nominate me in the first place, which is a big confidence booster.’
‘I really want to do well at university, for both myself and those supporting me. I’d love to eventually become a financial advisor or management accountant and feel like the bursary has given me a head start at university as well as reduce the financial stress of going to university.’
Simon was nominated by his tutor Hilary Steele, who described him as one of the most deserving candidates she has ever come across throughout her career at the college.
Date published: 11 August 2010