I went to Bedminster Down School between 2011-2016 and was pleased to participate in two SBY programmes during my time there, notably as a leader on the SBY Youth Board, and as part of the ‘Going Places’ programme (now Future Quest). From school I went to Redcliffe Sixth Form Centre from 2016-2018, and in summer 2021 I graduated from Magdalene College, Cambridge with a 2:1 degree in Education with English, Drama and the Arts. I am now on the KPMG Graduate Scheme as a Trainee Accountant in the Audit department.

Getting involved in the SBY Youth Board really increased my confidence and certainly helped with my interview for the University of Cambridge, which is part of their application process. Specifically, I feel that my involvement with SBY enabled me to talk confidently to people beyond my peer group, and to hold conversations with people I wouldn’t otherwise have had chance to speak to, such as those on charity boards or in senior roles in educational institutions.

My participation in SBY programmes and activities included going on trips to universities. These visits helped to show university in an accessible way and allowed me to visit places I wouldn’t have otherwise seen, such as Oxford University. This made me feel more confident and comfortable when applying to universities, as it was a more familiar environment. I know that university can feel out of reach and not achievable when it isn’t the norm in our community. You need to see something to know you can do it, and SBY allowed me to do that.

When I arrived at Cambridge, I was able to get a bursary to help with living costs; this amounted to £5k a year between both college and central university support. Bursaries do vary between Cambridge colleges, but it’s important that young people feel empowered to look into this, and know that support with costs is available.