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2+2 Degree Pathway Student, Jon Winfield to present dissertation at British Conference of Undergraduate Research

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The British Conference of Undergraduate Research promotes undergraduate research in all disciplines. The Conference meets annually every spring in a different British university. Undergraduates of all levels are invited to submit papers, posters, workshops and performances to the Conference. Abstracts are peer-reviewed and those accepted will be invited to attend the conference. For BCUR 2018 the conference will be held in Sheffield and one of our own Centre for Lifelong Learning students has been given the opportunity to present their dissertation at the conference next month.

Jon winfield

Jon Winfield joined us at CLL in 2014 on our 2+2 Degree Pathway after 30 years out of the education system. Originally working in retail and sales manager roles, the 2+2 has changed Jon’s career pathway significantly and now as a final year student on BA (Hons) Health and Social Policy, he is looking towards future prospects in Social Research and is hoping to apply for master’s study at Warwick in 2019.

Jon’s dissertation; “What are the barriers mature students face when accessing HE?”, which analyses the inequalities, struggles and experiences of mature students in the HE sector, was submitted to the BCUR earlier this academic year and he will travel to Sheffield next month to present his dissertation to the conference of Undergraduate Research.

“[I am] a combination of excited, terrified […]– oh and grateful that Anil suggested I submit an abstract,” Jon says. His supervisor Dr Anil Awesti, is a Senior Teaching Fellow and Senior Tutor in CLL. His research interests are in Widening Participation, in particular issues of access, participation, retention and progression of students from ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds in universities. Anil’s widening participation module triggered Jon’s interest and dedication to research his dissertation project.

“To critically think about inequalities in [HE] opportunities made me angry, […] why it seems to be expected we go to University at 18, when for so many people it is not the right time. Thus I wanted to look at what stopped people going later [in life].”

Jon’s research explores the barriers of University for mature students in more depth and despite being a returning learner himself, was surprised by some of the results he discovered that his fellow classmates faced in CLL.

“I think there is a lot more room to investigate why people access HE but that requires a certain amount of honesty from respondents, so maybe that will be something I can look at in my MA dissertation.”

“I guess the timetabling issue was more relevant than I anticipated because I do not have childcare commitments.”

As a 2+2 student, Jon joined Warwick on a four year Social Studies course, majoring in Health and Social Policy in his final year. He spent his first two years at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, based in Nuneaton. His dissertation will be one of the final submissions of his undergraduate degree before graduating in the July celebrations.

“When I started I would have been happy with a degree. I suppose my aspirations were a 2:2 and if the wind was behind me and I excelled a 2:1 although I didn’t really think that was possible. I hadn’t thought about careers at that point. I suppose another goal that I hadn’t really verbalised was to help me get my life back on an even footing and that I think I have definitely achieved. I am a different person now that I was five years ago and I hope better for it. I am (and I don’t want to tempt fate) going to achieve my goals, the possibility of a Masters degree was not even on the agenda and as for BCUR, well I didn’t know it existed.”

The BCUR 2018 conference will take place on the 12-13 of April this year at Sheffield University.