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Michael Sargent Bursary Awards 2022

Thursday 1st December 2022

The Bursary Award was established in memory of Michael Sargent who played a pivotal role in the development of OCNs and was also one of the longest-serving OCN London moderators.

Michael’s contributions to our work over the years were considerable and varied. He was a Trustee on our Board, a member of our Quality Committee, attended countless OCN London validation panels over a 25-year period and was an External Moderator for 15 years for programmes ranging from Basic Skills to Access to HE.

The Bursary Award celebrates the achievements of Access to HE learners in two categories – Outstanding Academic Achievement and Outstanding Commitment to Study.

Learners have faced considerable challenges over the last few years and more than ever, its important for us to celebrate their achievements.

The judging process have now taken place and we are delighted to announce the winners and runners up of the Michael Sargent Bursary Award for 2021-22.

Outstanding Academic Achievement

WINNER: Owaine Wright, Access To HE Diploma in Social Science, CU Coventry

Owaine impressed his tutors from the beginning with his dedication and drive. His tutor said,

Owaine consistently performed at an excellent level throughout the course but his development of critical thinking at a high level has been demonstrated in his submissions, particularly his extended project. These are skills vital for progression to a degree course and also for his intended career in law. Owaine has an incredible future ahead of him and the Access course has developed his academic skills to enable him to perform at a high standard on a degree course.

Owaine has now gone on to study Law (LLB) at University of Birmingham. He said,

In January of 2016 I migrated from Jamaica to England in the middle of studying for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (equivalent to A-levels). This prematurely ended my studies. Furthermore, after arriving in England as a restriction of my Visa I was unable to claim any public funds for 5 years to aid in my fees for continued studies. As a result, I was unable to do anything in relation to studying. As the years passed I started to panic as I was researching entry requirements for universities and I discovered that the qualifications I had at the time would not secure me an offer. I immediately started doing some further research on alternative qualifications which subsequently led me to discover the access course at CU Coventry. Studying the access course was daunting at first as it was a long time I was out of education but nevertheless to me it meant I had a second chance to chase my passion of becoming a barrister. The fast pace level at which the access course moves and the style in which the teaching was taught has been very beneficial in my preparation for my further studies. While completing the course I mastered and gained skills such as paraphrasing, undertaking wider reading and learning to reference, these skills have been very useful and crucial in completing my assignments now in my studies at a higher level. If there is anyone who has been out of education and wants to go back or someone like me who did not have all the equivalent qualifications to gain entry into university and is considering studying the access course, I cannot implore you enough to make the brave decision and apply. I can guarantee you, you will find it rewarding!

RUNNER UP: Reanna Duarte, Access To HE Diploma in Theatre Arts, The JGA Group / National Youth Theatre

Reanna’s tutors were extremely impressed by the commitment and focus she showed from the start. They said,

With a focus on her academic achievements as well as a passion for her craft, she ensured she took in her lessons and spent her time wisely when managing the workloads and demands of the course. As an assistant director to the production Reanna was in, I would see her every morning coming in early to the studio space to journal and reflect from the days learning that has just passed as well as preparing for the day ahead. The standard of her written work provided her with distinctions across the board, with an awareness of the success criteria from a clear understanding and analysis of the assignment briefs. She prioritised herself immaculately and allowed herself to fully immerse herself in the experience of the course.

Reanna said,

I’m so grateful to have been given the opportunity to learn more about theatre and myself on the National Youth Theatre, Playing Up Access course. It has been an unforgettable experience to have the chance to play and discover with an immense amount of support from my peers and practitioners. The course has unlocked an abundance of confidence in me to embrace the uncertainty with feelings of bravery to face new challenges, which I have been practicing on my new journey at drama school. Thank you!!!

Reanna is now studying BA (Hons) Acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Outstanding Commitment to Study

WINNER: Naomi Pritchard, Access To HE Diploma in Health and Human Sciences, Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College

Naomi’s tutors were impressed with her determination and perseverance throughout the course. Her tutor said

Naomi has shown high levels of endeavour to achieve despite a number of challenges and obstacles that she has faced. Despite all of this, Naomi has submitted her assignments on time (and even before the deadlines for some). She even submitted some work from the hospital. The work Naomi has produced is of high quality, and she has achieved distinction grades in all her graded assignments. The determination to succeed that Naomi has shown despite these challenges has been exemplary, and she has maintained a positive attitude throughout. Her desire to progress in her career and to provide for her family has been a driving force in her motivation, and I am sure this will continue during her future studies.

Naomi said

The access course not only prepared me for university, it gave me a new set of confidence in myself to go on and reach my goals. Being a parent of a disabled child, my college went over and beyond to support me through it, which meant more than words can say. They gave me a solid academic knowledge base needed to get into university after 12 years break from education – but not only that, we learnt about essay writing, personal development, how to sound out our thoughts and morals respectfully, IT skills, and discussed the role of a healthcare professional in-depth and how to tackle difficulties we may come across. I not only enjoyed it, I thrived on it. It’s been years since I can say that

Naomi is now studying Occupational Therapy at St George’s, University of London

RUNNER UP: Garry Naldi, Access To HE Diploma in Health and Human Sciences, Wiltshire College

Garry’s tutors were impressed with his perseverance and dedication throughout the course. His tutors said,

There is much about Garry’s past life that could have held him back so it is extremely moving for me to see that he has grasped every opportunity this year. I have never been as proud of anyone who has covered such a long distance in such a short time. Academically and in terms of self-esteem he is the student who has progressed further than anyone I have taught in the past 33 years”. They went on to say “We at Wiltshire College are extremely fortunate to have him choose to do the Access to HE course and as I always say on the first day of the course: ‘your academic life starts today, forget anything that happened before’. I am glad that he listened to that and did indeed, start a new life for himself. We wish him every success and he will always stand out for us as the epitome of what an Access to HE student is.

Garry said #

The Access to HE course was an excellent choice for me. I am a mature student and it irrefutably prepares you for university life and corroborates learning methods. It was the best choice and the lecturers were outstanding.

Garry is now studying Biomedical Sciences at the University of Bath.

Are you feeling inspired? Do you think an Access to HE course could be for you?

  • The Access to HE Diploma is designed for adults who have been out of education for a while and are looking to progress to higher education.
  • It is well-established and widely accepted by numerous universities.
  • OCN London has over 40 Diploma titles including subjects such as Nursing, Policing, Midwifery, Social Work, Business Studies, Fashion Studies, Engineering and Science.
  • Access to HE courses are closely linked to the intended academic progression routes and include study skills units which help to prepare learners for higher education study.

Did you know that the Access to HE Diploma is the only qualification that offers a learner loan waiver?

If you complete your Access to HE course and then go onto complete a HE course, the Advanced Learner Loan for your Access course will be written off, meaning that your Access to HE course is free!

Find out more by visiting our Access to HE Learner page

Click here for more inspirational learner stories, including how one learner went from studying an Access to HE course to a gaining master’s degree in Global Health Policy!

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