Universities are there for everyone

PUBLISHED: 07:15 27 September 2017


Apprehensive about going to university? Don’t be!

As a young lad, I grew up in a very working class community in east Manchester. My grandads on both sides of the family were manual workers; earning their living in factories, on the roads and in the mines.

My dad did well for a long time, but as industry declined in Manchester, he repeatedly found himself redundant and unemployed.

I’m proud of my roots and my heritage, and I still think of myself as working class, but what sets me apart from my dad and my grandads is that I had it hammered into me all the way through my childhood that I had to work hard at school - to take exams seriously; to get the certificates that prove what I’m capable of doing.

I did well in my GCSEs, okay in my A-Levels, and eventually went on to University in Leeds and loved it. I found it a refreshing opportunity to get beyond the streets I grew up in, meet new people, hear new ideas and learn to think about things in a different way.

I earned my degree, made a thousand amazing memories and got stuck into everything: played sports, raised money for charity, enjoyed the social scene, and got elected in my students’ union. All those experiences and that learning has enabled me to progress quickly in a professional career, and at the age of 33, I’m proud to be a senior manager at the University of East London.

Universities are there for everyone, not just those who have had family members going there for generations. If you want to change your situation, you can.

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Have you spent time as an unpaid carer? If you are over the age of 25 and living in Newham, the Working for Carers scheme can help you take the first steps back to employment.

Hanson Fernandes’ journey began in 2015 when he arrived in London from Goa, India.

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