The programme, known as ASPIRE, is a four-year research project led by Sheffield Hallam University in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University and Advance HE, aiming to address the underrepresentation of black and black heritage research students.
ASPIRE is an Office for Students funded programme which aims to equip students with the skills they need to be able to access opportunities for doctoral-level study or enter graduate-level jobs.
The first cohort of 30 students have been supported through a personalised six-month programme of mentorship, coaching and academic skills development.
Two of Sheffield Hallam’s graduating students from the first ASPIRE cohort Oyenike Akinlabi and Sopefoluwa Oluyide, received distinctions on their Master’s courses in accounting and finance and forensic accounting, respectively.
Sopefoluwa said: “ASPIRE is a life-changing programme that helped me discover my dreams and also empowered me with tools needed for its actualisation.”
Dr Francis Awolowo, senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University and ASPIRE programme lead, said: “We ran a series of targeted workshops and wellbeing programmes for six months aimed at fixing the broken pipeline and preparing our scholars for doctoral-level studies and employment. The impact of the program on our scholars has been amazing and we have some lovely stories from students.”
A showcase event to celebrate the achievements of the graduates was held in Manchester as part of Black History Month.
ASPIRE is one of several projects Sheffield Hallam is involved in that aims to improve opportunities for Black, Asian and minority ethnic students to undertake postgraduate research.
Anyone interested in joining the ASPIRE 2023 cohort should email email@example.com.