Chris completed a Graduate Diploma in Youth and Community Work in 2012. He spent most of his teenage years in foster care but his experience at Sheffield Hallam helped to turn his life around. Now Chris is a trustee for the charity A National Voice which is run by and for young people who have experienced care.
'I decided to study Youth and Community Work because I knew I wanted to work with young people. I was looked after by my local authority from about the age of 13, and my experience at Sheffield Hallam has changed the course of my life.
'My tutor provided an open and supportive atmosphere for me to talk about my issues. I was encouraged to share my experiences of being in care, helping other students on the course take more notice of related issues. It is this intervention that helped me successfully complete my course, and after I graduated I was invited back to deliver a lecture about care leavers to undergraduate students.
'The support services here aren’t the same as elsewhere. People are there when you need them but don’t intrude when you don’t. When problems came up which were affecting my studies, my course leader was great and put me in touch with student support. Without that support I would have dropped out.
'Support is so crucial and Sheffield Hallam has consulted their care leavers about the difficulties that they face. I think it's great that they listen to students and help them with things like graduation gowns, volunteering opportunities and extra-curricular activities, which gives you the network and confidence in the job search afterwards.
'Universities are ultimately about transforming lives and this is something I found at the heart of Sheffield Hallam. I have, genuinely, never in my life felt so supported, encouraged and "loved" than I did here. I had finally found that constant positive presence and I am so grateful for the opportunities it has given me.'