Patron's Award

Michael Shakil

2019 National Winner

Michael grew up in care and was struggling to find his place in the world. Following a reconciliation with his birth family he discovered that his father, brother and sister were all studying at university and he was motivated to work hard to achieve the same for himself.

“I’d had a really hard time at school. I was in a children’s home and was excluded from primary school twice due to bad behaviour. I was bullied in secondary school so I had to move around a lot. I fell in with a bad crowd, even though I’d always just wanted to be a furniture maker and have my own business.

Growing up, I never thought I could make it to university but I am now studying computer graphics design at Kingston University. It hasn’t always been easy. I had to study my foundation year at Kingston College, and it was quite uncomfortable going back into a college setting aged 26. But I was so determined not to mess up the opportunity to progress onto my degree that I stuck at it.

Coming to university has unlocked confidence that I never knew was there. It’s brought the creative out in me and made me work harder than I’ve ever worked before. I recently won the university’s Bright Ideas competition with one of my furniture designs. I know now where I want to be and I know how to get there and that’s what keeps me going. My aim is to develop my small furniture making hobby into a full business and study the MA in product and furniture design.”

Chrissie Farley, lead access and support officer at Kingston University said, “Michael is a gutsy, motivated and enterprising student and he has used his determination to push through and overcome all barriers.”