Scholarships empower: Keeley’s story

In 2022, 33 Futures Scholars will graduate from the University of Bristol, many of whom have already secured their graduate jobs, internships and opportunities abroad. The Futures Scholarship programme is funded through the generosity of the University’s alumni and friends. It awards talented students with up to £4,500 and enables them to access guidance and career support from a dedicated coordinator. Graduating psychology student Keeley tells us how she has developed her career path with the help of the scholarship.

I am not from a wealthy background. In my area few people go on to higher education and I am the first person to go to university in my family.

The Futures Scholarship is exciting because you receive funds along with guidance and employability support. If I had just been given money, I may not have known how to spend it in the best way. But having the support of the Futures Scholarship Coordinator meant that I got so much more out of this scholarship. It set me up for making long-term plans and helped me to really think about what I can achieve.

During my studies, the scholarship coordinator sent me regular newsletters and emails packed with opportunities and internships. I learned about, and was selected for, the Unlocked Graduates initiative, which is an award-winning two-year leadership development programme aimed at improving the way prisons work across the country. After graduation, I will work full time as a Prison Officer for two years while simultaneously completing an MSc in Applied Custodial Leadership. My experiences at work will define my studies and dissertation. I will also have the opportunity to influence prison policies aimed at reducing reoffending.

The employability funding from the Futures Scholarship allowed me to complete all the necessary steps to participate in the Unlocked Graduates programme. I have already paid for accommodation in London to take part in the launch event, paid for a fitness test, and bought sports equipment. My funding also means I can pay for travel to Birmingham for a prison immersion day and travel to Leeds for six weeks of training ahead of starting the programme. I would have struggled to pay for all these requirements without the scholarship.

I would like Bristol’s alumni and friends to know how much it means to people from lower income backgrounds to have this scholarship, and what a great investment it is. As a result of the Futures Scholarship, I will be working for the wider community within the criminal justice system and the donors’ support will go beyond supporting me. They are not just helping me; they are helping so many other people.

If you would like to support more students like Keeley, go to our Alumni website to make a donation. 

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