A social work student helping young people and families be the best they can be through her extensive volunteer work and degree-honed skills has been recognised with an Edge Hill University Excellence Scholarship.
Since she was 16, third-year student Jessica Riley, from Wrexham, has been working with primary school pupils from 1St Ruabon Brownies and Guides, teaching them the skills they need to thrive, such as good communication and teamwork, and encouraging them to embrace challenges.
With ambitions to be a social worker, Jessica is now expanding her horizons as a Home Start visitor, offering one-to-one support and a listening ear to vulnerable families, particularly those with children.
For Jessica, being recognised by Edge Hill is the icing on the cake:
“It feels like my volunteering has been rewarded. I’ve been seen and acknowledged. My volunteering is rewarding in itself. However, this scholarship is something I can show off proudly.
“It’s helped me build confidence in my skills, recognise my potential and boost my CV. It’s also supported me financially, taking the weight off my shoulders in between student loans.”
Jessica believes her degree is putting her in the best position possible to make a positive impact in society:
“Once I graduate, I’ll be able to help shape policies and practices that support children and young people. And I’d like to further explore the benefits I can bring through a Masters degree in social work at Edge Hill.
“I’m going on a field trip to Amsterdam for one of my modules, which is an amazing opportunity. And my work-based employability module has boosted my skills and confidence. I’ve been able to go on placement and work on my presentation and reflection skills, giving me a head start in my career.”
Despite appearances, volunteering alongside studying has not always been easy for Jessica:
“Trying to work part-time while attending full-time education and having a social life while trying to volunteer was difficult, but I kept my eyes on the road ahead, doing the things I loved and was motivated to do.”
Excellence Scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate determination, commitment and achievement outside their studies. Edge Hill University has a broad programme of scholarships for prospective and current students, recognising practical and academic excellence.