Mark came to the University in his 30s after working in the hospitality industry. He gained a First-Class honours in Behavioural Sciences at the University of Huddersfield and is juggling the demands of a Master’s in Psychology with working with homeless people in Calderdale.
“When I left care, nobody suggested that I go to university. I did an NVQ Level Two in Hospitality and then worked as a chef, but I eventually got on board at Huddersfield as an older care lever. I was very nervous about starting, but it was so welcoming when I arrived here.
“I had mentoring support, plus books and equipment from the Samantha Sykes Foundation, and opportunities to meet other people like me at the University also helped. I always think I can’t do something, and I got anxious but they put a learning support plan in place. There was leniency about submission times which also helped as it was about 15 years since I had had any education.
“The motivation from the care leavers support people was the best support I have had.
“I knew that they were here for me, it was not just a service and then you were passed on. Things are looked in to – as soon as I left a meeting, I know they would be on to it and I would get an update a couple of days later.
“That is so important for people from our background. There will be feelings of rejection, not being wanted and you have trust issues – but it is all taken care of. My university experience was made so much smoother and more comfortable because of the care leavers group.
“I say to anyone thinking about going to university after being in care that it is much better than you expect – there is genuine care there for you. They throw support at you, in fact they cannot give you enough. They do that little bit extra, you are not a number – you are a person to them.”
With credit to University of Huddersfield