Jason’s resolution pays off

January 14th, 2011

Ex-submariner Jason Tomlinson left school without any qualifications — and is now facing the challenges of undergraduate life as a mature student at The University of Nottingham.

His determination to succeed has just been rewarded with a highly sought-after Helena Kennedy Foundation Award worth £1,500.

“The importance of the bursary is beyond measure,” said Jason, who served in the Royal Navy as an electrical marine engineer on board HMS Resolution, a Polaris submarine.

“Starting university can be extremely overwhelming. This bursary not only helps out financially but re-affirms the belief that all the effort is worthwhile.”

Jason’s award is funded by The University of Nottingham and was presented to him at the House of Lords by human rights lawyer and President of the Foundation, Baroness Helena Kennedy, QC.

Baroness Kennedy said: “This award recognises Jason’s huge achievement in reaching university against the odds. Each student who receives an award has been selected because they are special and have shown real talent and determination.”

Jason, who’s married with two children and lives in Derbyshire, is in his first year of a BSc (Hons) Biochemistry degree. He left school at 16 and joined the Royal Navy before going on to work in several factories.

“I watched my IQ drop by the second,” he said. “Finally, at the age of 36, I decided to get off my backside and change my situation. I took redundancy and started an Access course at Chesterfield College. With a lot of effort and some luck, two years later I find myself at The University of Nottingham.”

Dr Penelope Griffin, Head of Widening Participation at The University of Nottingham, said “I’m delighted that Jason has received this award in recognition of his achievements. Returning to education after a long gap is difficult, and all the more so while balancing studies with family responsibilities. Jason’s success in gaining a place on this very competitive course is remarkable.”

The Helena Kennedy Foundation works with colleges and universities to support access to higher education through bursaries, mentoring and work placements.

The University of Nottingham has an active outreach programme to encourage young people and mature learners to progress to university, which reaches more than 22,000 learners annually. Last year the University provided more than £6m in bursaries to low-income students.

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