Aston University, in the heart of Birmingham, is well placed to increase access to postgraduate study for British Muslims from low-income backgrounds.
The University is part of a consortia of institutions leading on the Office for Students (OfS) funded ‘Levelling the Playing Field’ initiative, designed to increase the take up of placements amongst disadvantaged communities.
It has incorporated the working definition of Islamophobia into its Bullying and Harassment Policy.
How has your experience been of studying at Aston University so far?
‘My current course at the university is being delivered online due to the global pandemic and lockdown. However, the virtual experience and delivery of my course has been very good. I found the lectures very exciting and interesting and the lecturers were very supportive and helpful. As there were no real meeting opportunities, the course administrator made every effort to ensure that all learning content was made available online and all live lectures were recorded and made available the same day. Interaction with the cohort was mainly via group chats and breakout rooms during lectures. Online clubs and societies were also available, however the heavy workload was definitely a challenge!’
What kind of support has been made available to you during your time at the University?
‘The University Careers consultants have provided us with great job seeking support and assistance in CV checking. The university has also made support available on health & wellbeing and leadership development. Within the course, we have been given additional grace periods for assignments due to covid pressures which has been extremely helpful. Aston University was also supportive in consulting with students before fixing the dates for assignments deadlines and even took Islamic religious holidays into consideration.’
How has your time at the university helped you develop as a British Muslim leader?
‘My time at university has allowed me to benefit holistically and allowed me to become more confident. Through my masters, I have improved my written and verbal communication skills as a result of the group work performed. I have also benefited by working with diverse group members from various cultural, demographic and national backgrounds. I believe that this experience will certainly contribute to my overall leadership skillset.’
Have you been able to access any opportunities that have helped you prepare for a career in your chosen industry?
‘My course includes business simulation projects which have been very relevant and forward looking. I signed up to be a mentor for new students who started later on in the same course. This has taught me to manage time effectively and support others, which is a foundational principle within the HR industry. I am also gaining work experience within a local recruitment agency where I am a part time member of a small team responsible for HR administration.’
Would you recommend postgraduate study at Aston university to other British Muslims?
‘I would recommend postgraduate study at Aston to other British Muslims because the university is very inclusive and supportive. The university has also provided additional opportunities such as societies, career help, business start-up programmes and volunteer work with charity organisations which are affiliated with the University, such as Citizens UK. The University also offers webinars on a variety of life skills and business skills by industry speakers which are definitely relevant to our lectures.’