Access Programme and Adult Learner Award Winners

Four outstanding University of Leeds students have been recognised during this year’s Access Programme and Adult Learner Awards.

Shaun Barker-Newton is currently in the placement year of a Fashion Design degree and was nominated by School of Design staff Ms. Lynne Webster and Mr. David Backhouse. Circumstances meant that when leaving college, Shaun was unable to follow a university career and so instead got a job to support himself; however he held a passion for fashion design. Now at university, Shaun has worked long hours throughout his studies and it is his tenacity, coupled with his excellent grades despite feeling he struggles with the more academic side of things, which mean we are delighted to have him as this year's Access Programme Award Winner.

Joshua Quarrie is a level one Economics student who was nominated by Ms. Cathy Dolan. Joshua entered through the Access to Leeds programme after a difficult and traumatic time during the first year of his A-levels sadly significantly affected his first year results. Since starting in September, Joshua has really made the most of the opportunity and has set up his own business through University funding, participates as a University Ambassador, and is working towards his Gold Duke of Edinburgh award. He has been recognised with the panel's 'Special Commendation' in the Access Programme Award category.

Rebecca Richardson is in the final year of an English Law with American Legal Studies and was nominated by Dr. David Pearce. Rebecca left school at 16 with extremely limited prospects. After experiencing some very harrowing times, at 20 she decided to seek help and, following her marriage in 2004, began studying for her A-levels. Despite giving birth to her two children during this period, she did sufficiently well to gain a place to study here at Leeds. Rebecca's academic career has been characterised by not only excellent academic results but also a devotion to helping others through her voluntary work. We are proud to name her as the 2010 Adult Learner Award Winner.

Phillip Mars is coming to the end of the Interdisciplinary Science Foundation Programme and was nominated by Ms. Brigid O'Donnell. Phillip joined the RAF after A-levels and was set for a long career with them when a serious back injury shattered his ambitions. Following five years of recuperation and employment in various unfulfilling roles, Phillip was selected to join the CFG0 course. Juggling family responsibilities with his baby daughter and a very active role as a Voluntary Community Responder, Phillip is excelling on his course and really rebuilding his life and career in a positive way. He was recognised with the panel's 'Special Commendation' in the Adult Learner Award category.

The awards were presented by Professor Vivien Jones, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching, at a lunchtime ceremony in May. Professor Jones said "This is one of my favourite annual events because it gives proper recognition to those students who have overcome all kinds of difficulties to be here. Their courage and determination is a fantastic example to all of us, as well as a great testimony to Leeds's commitment to providing world class education to students from every background." The winners and Special Commendation awardees all received a cheque and a certificate. Certificates have also been given to the short-listed nominees, to mark their significant personal achievements.

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