Student is runner-up in national award

  • Date

    Fri 17 May 19

Student Michael Allport

“I want to do it, I want to push it,” said Michael Allport when he made the decision to strive for a Computer Science degree despite leaving school with only a few GCSEs. Now, he has come runner-up for the Keith Fletcher Memorial Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement amongst 50,000 other applicants.

"I’ve always been into computers more than repairing and building but I just never knew how to get into the career path I wanted because I left school with almost nothing,” said Michael, who is hoping for a career in software development.

When Mr Allport applied for an Access to Higher Education diploma in Science and Maths, he was told he only needed 45 UCAS points at Merit to get into his dream degree. However, he came out with far more than that after achieving distinctions in all of his modules and maintaining a 100% attendance record.

“I went down to the Colchester Institute to look around and I told them; ‘this is what I want to do, how can I do it?’ They pushed me towards the Access course and told me about the qualifications I would need. So I did Maths and Physics because it’s related to the field.”

Michael is currently thriving on his University course, “I’m learning about the things I always wanted to and getting into programming. You can go online and find tutorials but it doesn’t teach you the methodologies behind what you’re doing.

“Initially, I didn’t have a clue that computer science was more to do with the science part – the magic that goes on behind the machine. I thought it was just more hardware and fixing. But now I’m learning about programming and it’s awesome because you can create anything.”

The award is in memory of Keith Fletcher who was dedicated to raising awareness of Access to Higher Education Diplomas which help those without traditional qualification get into University.

“I wouldn’t change what I did for the world,” says Michael. “I can’t wait to get into third year and learn about more interesting things such as the Evolutionary Computation – first year was just the building blocks.”

This article was written by Multimedia Journalism student Jess Clayton-Berry while on work experience in the University of Essex Communications Office.