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Skill National Bureau for Students with Disabilities
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Student Experiences

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The case studies in this section are from individual disabled people who talk about their experiences in further and higher education, training, employment and volunteering.

Would you like to feature on this page? Contact Susan Hubbard at Skill.

Tel: 020 7450 0634     Email:

Further Education

Matthew Kayne, is at college and getting ready to start university soon. He talks about his transition from a residential college, to a mainstream college, and his plans to go to university.

Higher Education

Emmanuel Osei-Tutu, describes his experiences of leaving school, going to Further Education College and moving on to his first year of university.

Matthew Alleyne, talks to Skill about his experiences as a student ambassador, visiting young disabled people in schools and colleges.

Hugh Anderson, a Computing student at Sheffield Hallam University, talks of how his love of wheelchair basketball influenced his choice of university and the many possibilities that university life has opened up for him.

Anela Naz, a blind student of English at the University of West of England, talks of her progress through school and college to university and the invaluable lessons she learned along the way.

Len Van Arendsen, a Criminology and History student at Sheffield Hallam University, describes the support he has received and how it has helped overcome initial concerns and give him the confidence to mentor new students.

Si‚n Pooley, a History student with reflex sympathetic dystrophy at St Johnís College, University of Cambridge relates why she felt daunted at the prospect of university but how, with the support she received, it proved to be incredibly rewarding.

James Owens, a student of Multimedia Technology at Glasgow Caledonian University, describes how a deterioration in his vision led him to reconsider his options, apply to university and discover a fascinating new career.

Robyn Tainty, a University of Brighton Sociology and Criminology student with cystic fibrosis explains how planning ahead helps you get the most out of your time at university and how she felt encouraged to go on to do her Masters.

Sarah-Jane_Read, a maths student at the University of Bath, talking about her experiences of studying with ankylosing spondylitis.

Catherine Hudson, a history student at Liverpool University who has ME, talks about: the different treatment she receives when she's using a wheelchair or not; the involvement she has had with improving disability support at the university; and her confidence about the future.

Christine Constant, a law and French law student, talks about how having a mental health difficulty has affected her experience of university.

Dawn Dyson, is a mature student and single parent with MS, who overcame doubts about her abilities to go back into study by taking an English degree at Sheffield Hallam. (taken from Skill's publication, Into Higher Education 2003)

Andy Manzie, a visually impaired student, has been impressed with the support structure at his university. (taken from Skill's publication, Into Higher Education 2003).




Iain Pearson, describes his experiences from primary school through to University where he eventually is given the support that he needs to fulfull his ambition.


Jackie Cairns, a blind student, talks about doing a HND in practical journalism and the support she has received.


Jane Atkinson, has now been a doctor for two years. Jane was born with congenital abnormalities of her hands and more significantly in her legs resulting in bilateral below knee amputations. Read her account of going through higher education and her experiences whilst studying to become a doctor.

Ruth Douglas, is determined to fulfil her ambition to become a doctor. Here she talks about how she has tackled the admissions process for medical courses at universities.


Linda Okeke, now a qualified solicitor in the City, was determined not to be put off by other peoples' doubts about her ability as a black, female wheelchair user, to pursue a top career in law. (taken from Into Law, Skill's guide for disabled people considering a career in law)


Sean Walsh, after completing an HNC in building studies, found it difficult to find employment, but is now running his own practice as well as advising a Government advisory committee and his local Council on access issues. (taken from Into Architecture, Skill's guide for disabled people considering a career in the architecture, surveying and building professions).


Kelly Hjersing, who has dyslexia, describes her year doing a PGCE to train to become a teacher.

Finance and Banking

Kieran Prior is an equities trader with a major investment bank. Here he talks about his ambition to work in this field and how having secondary dystonia, an impairment which affects his movement, has not limited his life choices.



Charan Katiyal, who has learning difficulties, describes his experiences as a volunteer. (Taken from Into Volunteering, Skill's guide for disabled people considering volunteering).

Work Experience

Sharon Smith left her job in the mid-1990s when her vision deteriorated. Here she talks about how returning to college and work experience is helping her to work towards permanent employment again. (Taken from Skill's Into Work Experience guide for disabled people.)

Bertram Li Mow Ching describes the success of his work placement at the Home Office as part of his degree in Business Studies and how he contributed to raising awareness of disability issues whilst he was on his placement. (Taken from Skill's Into Work Experience guide for disabled people.)

How Skill helped:

Jane Costello, who has dyslexia, to find funding for her university course.


[Updated 23rd May 2007]

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