Candidate for the position of Mature Students' Representative

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Richard West-Soley

There's no age limit on learning.

It's a cliché, but it's true - you're really never too old, it's never too late. As a repeat 'returner learner', I know that first-hand. Going back to study has been one of the most enriching and rewarding experiences of my life, and I don't plan on stopping any time soon.

Mid-twenties, mid-career, mid-retirement - many of us have come to study via non-traditional trajectories. In fact, there were 237,000 of us in 2018/19. But mature students face quite a unique set of challenges, particularly when study has to fit around the rest of life. Some 47% of us, for example, study part-time, as opposed to 4% of young undergraduates. And as a subgroup of university society, the needs of mature students often seem to get lost in the mix. It is a big step to head back into the stream, especially when the rest of life is already in full flow. Whether it is juggling coursework with family life, caring responsibilities, a career or otherwise, mature students are already adept multitaskers, but need a strong voice making their case.

As your mature students' representative, I will:

- ensure that our unique stories are recognised by the university

- be a strong advocate for equality of educational opportunities, regardless of age or circumstance

- help provide social networks for mutual support and encouragement (online and offline, pandemic-permitting!)

- advocate for some of the welcome Covid-19 mitigation provisions from the university (e.g., automatic extension granting) to be extended as standard, since they particularly benefit those needing flexibility in learning

Let's make our stories heard.