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Kane Silver

A Laidlaw Scholar case study

Employers want more than just a degree and the Laidlaw Scholarship provides that extra edge.

As a mature student at the University of York, Kane Silver tried a few careers out before deciding on a degree in Social and Political Sciences. After leaving Sixth Form part way through his A-Levels, Kane worked in a nursery providing one-to-one support to a child with autism. He also worked in a bar and in a fast food chain before deciding to do an Access Course as a bridge to starting his degree.

A large motivating factor in his decision to get a degree was seeing the decline of his father who suffered from alcoholism and sadly died during Kane’s first year at York. Kane felt that there was not much support available for people like his dad and decided that he wanted a career in Politics to help to address this.

Kane applied for the Laidlaw Scholarship as he realises that the graduate market is competitive and you have to take up every opportunity you can to make yourself employable:

“I heard about the scholarship and decided to apply for a few reasons. I want to go into a career in Politics and I felt that the leadership side of the programme would be invaluable to me. The fact that the scholarship was funded was also a big draw. I had to cover the costs for my dad’s funeral and this meant that unfortunately I got into debt. Undertaking the Laidlaw Scholarship means that I can pay off my debts whilst simultaneously investing in my future.”

Kane is focusing his research project on skills shortages in the UK and with the huge changes currently happening in the sector this is no easy task. He has discovered that the meaning of the word ‘skill’ has changed considerably since the 1970s, as has the focus of where you acquire these skills and he compares it to the skills that the Laidlaw Scholarship offers:

“In the 70s ‘having a skill’ generally referred to you being skilled in a trade but over the years what ‘skill’ means has changed. Now skills are as equally likely to refer to soft skills such as time-keeping or communication skills. Furthermore, in the past if you wanted to learn a skill you’d do it ‘on the job’. Now employers are expecting you to already have a lot of skills before you enter the workplace. It’s a bit like a graduate getting a degree but not acquiring the soft-skills needed in order to function in the workplace. These skills are what this scholarship is providing to us and why it is so useful for our future employability.”

Kane’s passion and commitment to the scholarship is easy to see. His personal circumstances led to him not engaging fully in the second year of his degree and the scholarship has reminded him that he can meet any challenge:

“This programme has helped me out of an ‘academic slump’. It’s reminded me what I am capable of and what I can achieve and has been the high point of my university journey so far. If you are considering applying in 2018, I say wholeheartedly ‘go for it!’”