May 13th, 2021
This month, we’re delighted to share a series of blogs from alumni reflecting on this year’s theme of ‘Disability: Finding our way’.
Our alumni have been kind enough to share their experiences of living with a disability whilst studying at Nottingham, how they found transitioning to and from university life and their career journeys to-date, along with their advice to inspire and support for current students and staff.
This week, we’re delighted to introduce alumnus, Aymun Khan, who graduated from Nottingham in 2019 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
In this blog, Aymun shares his experiences of studying at Nottingham, how he came to establish the university’s Wheelchair Basketball Club and the support he’s been given by his employer as he’s embarked upon his career as an engineer.
In 2019, Aymun also won the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Student Volunteer of the Year Award, as result of all of his efforts with the Wheelchair Basketball Club and his long-term involvement as an inclusive sports leader.
We’re incredibly grateful to Aymun for sharing his lived experiences to help raise awareness and understanding amongst the university community.
“I’m Aymun and I studied Mechanical Engineering at the university for 4 years between 2015 and 2019, with a break in between for an industrial placement. From the age of 14 I have been a wheelchair user due to Avascular Necrosis in my hip joints, following treatment for Leukaemia.
“Prior to my diagnosis, I was never keen on sports, except karting occasionally with friends. However, following my diagnosis, I looked for a way to get active to help with my recovery and discovered the sport of wheelchair basketball. This enabled me to compete at the same level as more mobility impaired and able-bodied people alike.
“When looking for a university, it was important for me to find a campus that was easily accessible. Despite the obvious challenge of the Nottingham campus that there are many steep hills to get around, I was impressed by the facilities with full access via lifts and disabled parking spaces nearby. Initially, I was given accessible accommodation in university halls just off the campus at Broadgate Park and with the ability to drive to classes and other events I found it was very easy to get used to university life.
“I also had the option to access various services such as the university’s sports facilities, including the gym. Having access to a personal trainer helped me to train for my basketball, which at the time was at an amateur level. Alongside this, I was very involved in expanding the offering of sport for disabled students at the university. At the end of my first year, with the aid of the university’s sport department, I set up the Wheelchair Basketball Club. During my time at Nottingham, this was my main highlight. This opportunity allowed me to meet many new people across the country through competing and otherwise, many of which I am still in contact with. During my time at the university the club helped me to keep active and meet new people.”
“Since leaving university, I have continued to play Wheelchair Basketball with a local club, Aylesbury Aces. Although the current coronavirus pandemic has limited training and game opportunities at the moment, we have been able to get some training sessions in where possible.
“Alongside this, I have started my current role as a durability engineer. I have found that through this journey my employer has been very supportive of my needs and my current role requires me to balance office-based work with workshop and site visits.
“Throughout my time working, I have been given the opportunity to review conditions and suggest adjustments to the facilities, such as ramps and accessible doors. Since working from home through the coronavirus pandemic, I have been well-supported, along with the wider company mentally which can be a challenge for us all.”
“For anyone starting their journey at Nottingham, my main advice would be to get involved in activities and ask for help where needed. The disability services provided at the university and beyond are amazing and there are lots of people willing to help. In particular, even if you are not that interested in sport, I would encourage you to try some of the activities that the university has to offer. During my time at Nottingham, I met some amazing people and made good friends through sport. Many that got involved with sport and the Wheelchair Basketball Club just joined to have some fun on a Saturday morning and never had any intention of taking it any further.”
Many thanks to Aymun for sharing his story. If you or someone you know would like to write a piece for the series, please email: Emily.Bateman@nottingham.ac.uk.
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