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Club News

United in Learning Returns

5 August 2021

Club News

United in Learning Returns

5 August 2021

Football club staff and supporters offered new bursaries to study at University of Cambridge in 2021...

The University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) and Cambridge United Football Club’s charity – Cambridge United Community Trust (CUCT), are delighted to announce their intention to provide four more 100% tuition fee bursaries for the upcoming 2021/2022 academic year.

Neil Weston and Sam Squire were two previous recipients of United in Learning 100% tuition fee bursaries. They both completed courses at Cambridge University through a new bursary scheme that, with the help of the football club, aims to widen access to adult education within the local community.

"I would encourage other fans to look at what this could do for them: it’s an amazing opportunity to take advantage of what we have on our doorstep here in Cambridge." - Neil, United Fan

"I was lost for words when I found I had been accepted: I didn’t think university was necessarily going to be for me, but I have loved it – it is the best thing I have ever done." - Sam, Former young professional at Cambridge United

Neil, 42, is a former civil servant who was unable to study when he was younger because of mental health difficulties. Sam, 20, played professionally for one year at Cambridge United and went onto work at the Community Trust, delivering Premier League Kicks, a flagship community programme delivering football sessions and workshops in key communities in Cambridge. 

These new bursaries will enable four more of United’s supporters, players and coaches to enrol on an Institute of Continuing Education Undergraduate Certificate course. The courses cover a wide range of subjects in areas as diverse as science and medicine, coaching, business and management, creative writing and philosophy. There are so many different courses eligible for the new bursaries and no existing academic qualifications are required for our Undergraduate Certificate courses – they are open to all.

United in Learning is one of several programmes that ICE is currently implementing to widen access to the university’s adult courses, particularly among groups of people who could benefit from further study, but, for various reasons, tend not to apply. A number of the programmes are being run in collaboration with organisations that, like the Community Trust, have strong community outreach links, and can help to maximise their impact. A particular aim is to encourage more men to consider continuing education – men are currently under-represented, compared with women, by a ratio of approximately two to one.

The Undergraduate Certificates will start in the 2021/22 and are all delivered on a part-time basis.

Eligible applicants should be over 18, have a connection with Cambridge United Football Club or the Community Trust and do not already hold a recognised higher education level qualification and have limited financial means.

This makes them accessible to those working or with other personal commitments which would preclude full-time study.

Sam Gomarsall, Community Trust Manager, said, "It is evident from the way that Sam and Neil speak about these bursaries that their experiences have had an incredible impact on their lives. We were delighted, therefore, when Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education reached out to offer the opportunity to run United in Learning again.

"Our vision is to use the power of sport and the brand of Cambridge United to empower our community and change lives and we know how important education is for achieving this. It’s fantastic to be collaborating with the University of Cambridge in this way."

How to apply for a Cambridge: United in Learning tuition fee bursary:

Applicants should apply for a bursary before making an application for a place on one of the designated Undergraduate Certificate courses on offer in Autumn 2021, through the ICE online application portal. The deadline for bursary applications is Monday 6th September.

They will need to send in a 300-word personal statement describing how receiving a bursary would benefit them and their proposed course of study at ICE. They will also need to provide evidence of their financial circumstances (income).

Applications will be assessed by a panel from ICE and Cambridge United.

Full details of all courses are available on the ICE website.

They also offer lively events, short courses and cultural performances. Their base at historic Madingley Hall, just outside Cambridge, is an ideal place for retreats, reflection and inspiration.

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