Arda Afsar, 19, received the Peter Roberts Bursary from Collab Group, a group of 26 colleges and college groups in England including Capital City College Group (CCCG), which includes CANDI.
He applied for the award while studying a Business Level 3 Diploma at CANDI, which he passed with a D*D*D. He is now studying for an economics and finance degree at the University of Manchester.
Arda, who is originally from Turkey, returned to CANDI to receive the award from Mark Dawe, CEO of The Skills Network, which works with the Collab Group and colleges across the UK.
Thanking Collab Group, The Skills Network and his teachers and support staff at CANDI, he said: “The challenges I faced, having come from a disadvantaged background and a different country and having to learn a completely new culture and way of life, make me extremely honoured and proud to be accepting this award.
“I would especially like to thank my mum. She came to this country with nothing and yet she has given me everything. It’s fair to say I would not be the person I am today, without her.”
Arda gave special mention in his thanks to Business lecturers Regina Oparaugo, Salima Abdallah, Reuben Cape and Zak Hussain, and Student Engagement Officer Elizabeth Millard.
He said: “My experience at CANDI was amazing because my teachers were so supportive. They helped with looking at the higher education options available to me, writing my UCAS personal statement and choosing the modules I needed to take for what I wanted to study at university.
“The course gave me many different perspectives on business including marketing, finance and recruitment. I learnt about trial balances, cash flow, accounting formulas and equations, which I have been able to use on my degree. I always tried to do the best I could in my assignments, and I achieved really good grades.”
Arda plans to use the bursary funds to buy an iPad and a graphic calculator and course materials including textbooks. He hopes to eventually become an accountant or work in asset management or investment banking after he graduates from university.
The Peter Roberts Bursary was set up in memory of the late Chair of Collab Group and Principal of Stockport College and Leeds City College, who was known throughout the further education sector for his professionalism and commitment to students’ success.
Any student at a Collab Group college who has an offer to study at university or other higher education institution, or is looking to start their own small business, can apply for the bursary.
Yvonne Layne, Head of School for Business at CANDI, said: “One of the things I love about my job is when you see young people grow from a place where they hardly say good morning, to a place where they could not be more present. Arda is one of those students.”
“One of the things I admire most about Arda is how he has risen to every challenge, to be bigger and better in the face of adversity. I am very proud of him and pleased he has got this award and I wish him good luck and every success.”