Ghadir Ghasemi is a Laidlaw Scholar in the final year of his Chemical Engineering degree, find out how he has developed his research and leadership skills through this funded scholarship.
Laidlaw Scholarships are open to first year undergraduates, providing the opportunity to develop leadership and research skills through a range of personal development activities and two six week periods of project work.
How did you secure your scholarship?
I initially found out about this scholarship through an email from the Engineering Employability suite. I took the time to read all the information given about this and was required to submit an initial application which consisted of four different questions-its main aims were to demonstrate my suitability to the proposed research project and to the scholarship as a whole, with regards to the leadership aspect.
The application process was very straightforward. Once I had sent my initial application, I was shortlisted to take part in an interview with the two project supervisors. The interview was not very long and the supervisors wanted to find out more about my passion for the project as well as the leadership aspect of the scholarship. Within a couple of hours, I received an email from the interviewers saying that I had been selected to receive the scholarship. Prior to sending my application, I attended an informative session which gave me tips and advice on how approach the interview. I also talked to staff at the employability office who helped me to prepare my application and subsequently practise for my interview.
Second year University of Leeds Music student Rory Heron discovered the charity People in Action through the University Union’s Volunteering Fair in his first year and now works as a support worker.
Rory Heron (left) with Ruben Martini
Read how his interest in music and community work has led him to setting up a music project with People in Action and support from LUUMIC Leeds University Union Music Impact in the Community
The charity- People in Action
I found out about People in Action and the support they provide for people with learning disabilities and autism at the University of Leeds volunteering fair. I decided to volunteer for this charity because I was eager to make a difference in the Leeds community during my time studying music at university, and I’ve always been interested in improving the quality of life of people with learning disabilities.
Volunteer to paid support worker
After engaging in voluntary work at various community groups, I was offered a paid role as a one-to-one support worker for an individual with a learning disability who was passionate about music and wanted to start a band. I assisted them in the process of communicating with some of his peers about starting a band, and once we found some people who were interested, we began meeting up and creating music together using the facilities at the university’s School of Music. The band were given opportunities to perform live at events that People in Action were organising, such as the Leeds Young Talent Show. The band received such a positive response from these performances, inspiring others to not let their learning disabilities get in the way of them pursuing their dreams.
Setting up a music project
It then occurred to me that I could set up my own community music project with People in Action that would allow young adults with learning disabilities to collaborate and make music together in a fun and relaxed environment. I realised that I could get volunteers from LUUMIC Leeds University Union Music Impact in the Community to help run the sessions, through my position on the committee. I discussed the details of the project with the People in Action office staff, university staff members and the LUUMIC committee about setting up the project. In September 2018, the project was officially up and running every other Sunday using the School of Music’s ensemble rooms. Since then, I have been recording some of the music created during the sessions and uploading them to YouTube as the Sunday Band Project