TWO students who received a boost to their education thanks to an innovative scholarship have shared the positive impact it has had on their lives.

Teesside University launched the Thirteen Scholarship in 2019, offering financial support to Thirteen Housing residents with aspirations to study.

Among scholars accepted on the programme were Sarah Whittaker and Martyn Hodgson, both who are now completing their studies.

Sarah Whittaker, from Stainton, a second year BA (Hons) Human Resource management student, said: “Teesside University and Thirteen have had such a positive impact on my life.

“The academy has already offered so many opportunities to better my future career prospects.

“I am working with Thirteen as part of the customer involvement team and as a digital ambassador for the university both of which are fantastic in terms of experience and progression.”

She added: “I enjoy studying immensely, I love that my degree pathway means that I learn different elements of business management alongside the human resource management subjects.

“The new Student Life building offers fantastic support and the library is a great learning environment.

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“I can’t wait to be back on site and use these facilities again as soon as we safely can.

“Working and studying from home during the pandemic has been challenging, but challenging times often produce growth and progression.”

The 33-year-old, who has been inspired by the way everyone has had to adapt to new ways of working during the pandemic, has chosen to write about this subject for her degree dissertation.

She added: “My advice to anyone thinking of applying to study through the Thirteen Scholarship, is that I would urge them to apply and become a part of this auspicious opportunity.”

Martyn Hodgson, 36, from Hartlepool, is a first year BA (Hons) Social Work student.

He said: “The course has had a major impact on my life in that it has given me the option to do the type of work I want to do and to make changes for the better in peoples’ lives.

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“It will also give my family a more secure future in the type of employment I can gain from this degree.”

He added: “Studying during the pandemic has been stressful, but I’ve had support from my fellow students and my partner.

“I’d say to anyone thinking of applying for a scholarship; go for it.

“The academy has been fully supportive and are always there to talk if you need any advice or help.”

The Thirteen Scholarship is intended to support those who might not otherwise consider applying to university, to enable them to study for a degree to help their career aspirations.

Those who live in a Thirteen home and are on a low income can receive financial help towards tuition fees and study for a degree to help them on to a career path.

As a condition of this scholarship, those who apply will be added to Thirteen’s involved customer database and will be expected to feedback on business decisions such as regulation, training, policies.

Applicants can opt for a range of courses including health professions, social work, education and business.

To find out more about the Thirteen Scholarship and other Teesside University scholarships available visit