Anton Springett, from Gravesend, is now a computer science student at the University of Kent.
Anton Springett, aged 21, is studying for a degree in computer science with a year in industry at the University of Kent.
He grew up in a working-class area and attended a non-selective all-boys comprehensive school, leaving with 2 As, 3 Bs and 4 Cs in his GCSEs.
After leaving school, Anton went on to study an IBCP – International Baccalaureate (IB) Career Programme, alongside two BTECs, at Northfleet Technological College.
He says, “That was the turning point for me. Before then, I had no ambition to progress to higher education. I came from a background where my mum and dad didn’t go to university. It was only during a parent’s evening when my ICT teacher said I should consider university that I began thinking about it.
“We had some outreach activities at school delivered by uni staff and ambassadors – including Jamie, an outreach officer from the University of Kent. He came in to speak about the financial support at university, and the Partner Schools’ Scholarship.
“I decided to apply for a free residential summer school at the University of Kent through the National Citizen Service (NCS), funded by Uni Connect. I was the only person from my college who got a place. We stayed in university accommodation on campus, which is very similar to what your first year at university is like.
“I loved the Canterbury campus and the local area. Having that lived-in experience made me feel that was somewhere I could see myself. I couldn’t see myself being anywhere else now.”
“I also took part in Brightside mentoring through the University of Greenwich in Year 12, which was also funded by Uni Connect. I had a really good mentor called Alex. He connected with me and helped me look at different institutions and what courses were on offer.
It was a chance for me to ask any questions I had because I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to university. However, with Alex’s support, I realised university was something that I could do, and I decided to go for it.
Anton is now working as an Outreach Officer on his placement year for the University of Kent, using his position to help other students to decide whether university is right for them.
On advising other students, he says, “University is a big decision to make. The thought of moving away can be uncomfortable. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable. It’s good to move out of your comfort zone and try new things. The sooner you can engage with that and appreciate the value of that, the easier it will be to navigate your future.”
He adds, “I’m glad I went to university. I can say for the rest of my life ‘I did that’, which is a real feeling of accomplishment.”