Building Bridges to Birkbeck
Students from Tottenham celebrated the completion of the Higher Education Introductory Studies, at an event held at Tottenham Town Hall. Of the 13 students on the programme, none had a formal qualification prior to the course, but all had the desire and ambition to try something new and challenging in order to improve their life prospects.
Thirteen students from Tottenham celebrated the completion of the Higher Education Introductory Studies (HEIS) Business Pathway, at an event held at Tottenham Town Hall at the end of July.
Students and their families came together at the event to celebrate the completion of their course, to recognise this considerable achievement and share their aspirations for their future. Faith Williams, Outreach Officer for the project, presented the awards to students alongside Kerry Harman, Programme Director of HEIS, and Vicky Clark Assistant Director, Economic Development and Growth at Haringey Council.
Of the 13 students on the programme, none had a formal qualification prior to the course, but all had the desire and ambition to try something new and challenging in order to improve their life prospects. “Seeing the how much confidence these students have a gained and their thirst for knowledge has been so rewarding,” says Faith Williams. “One of the most satisfying outcomes is that all 13 have gone on or plan to apply for a degree at Birkbeck.”
The HEIS Business Pathway, delivered in Tottenham at the 639 Enterprise Centre during the academic year 16/17, is part of Bridges to Birkbeck - an initiative in partnership with Haringey Council which aims to meet the educational and careers aspirations of residents in Tottenham by running workshops, lectures, drop-ins and career planning opportunities.
Haringey Council and Birkbeck have heralded this project as an excellent example of collaboration and community-based learning. As a result of this success, the HEIS programme will continue in Tottenham for the academic year 2017/18, this time with a focus on social sciences. The course will offer a starting point for a degree in the social sciences or in social policy with the opportunity to progress into the second year of a Birkbeck degree. It will also allow students to develop valuable skills which can be applied to a range of careers. Thanks to Haringey Council, students from Tottenham starting this course in October will also be able to apply for a £1500 fee waiver to help towards the cost of their studies.
Patricia Bonifaz: “My family are even happier than me that I have returned to study! They are so proud of me. My grandchildren are in their twenties and they are really proud that their grandmother has returned to study. It is something I would recommend to everyone: please do it!
"I have had a fantastic experience with Birkbeck. My first contact was with Faith [from Birkbeck’s Widening Access team] and she was so warm, so open and so friendly – she greeted me like an old friend and I immediately felt that Birkbeck was something I wanted to be part of.”
Nancy Badu: “My experience has been very interesting. When I started, I had very little confidence – I had been out of education for a long time and felt as if it was too late for me! But with the progress I have made and the encouragement that I am receiving, being on this course has boosted my confidence.
"The extra support [from the Haringey partnership] has been so good, giving us the necessary skills we need to succeed in our studies – how to structure work, even how to read in the right way so we can do research properly.
"My family are really excited that I am going back to study! I don’t want to be sitting in the house now: it’s so boring. Seeing their mother go to the library every day makes them very proud. They see life and purpose in me. I feel more a part of the community because I know one day I’ll be better equipped to give back to it.”
Firdose Subhan: “When I came to Birkbeck, I saw many people my age and I thought ‘how are they graduating?!’ but then I thought, ‘if they can do it, I can do it too!’ I have lots of fellow students who have encouraged me to persevere with my studies when it’s been hard. I’ve really appreciated that.
"I’m really enjoying my course, even though it has been a challenge returning to studying. There are lots of differences between studying in India, where I completed a lot of my education, and in the UK, which is at a higher level. That’s why I’m glad I’m getting lots of help.
"My family are very proud of what I have achieved. I am very proud of myself for taking this step –it’s a big step for me, a very big step.”