Cambridge alumnus Dom Clarke is working with local parents to break down myths about Oxford and Cambridge and encourage more students from the area to apply.
Mr Clarke, who studied at Trinity College Cambridge, is taking part in a podcast episode with parents as part of Trinity’s support of Parent Power Oldham – the community group seeking to empower themselves and embolden their high-achieving children to aim high.
Parent Power Oldham is a collaboration between Oldham Opportunity Area, Greater Manchester Higher, Citizens UK, the Women’s Chai Project (Oldham), and Trinity College.
Podcast episodes produced by and for parents seeking to break down perceived barriers to studying at leading universities and provide information and guidance about applying.
After qualifying as an accountant with Deloitte in London, Mr Clarke returned home where he is now Finance Director of the Marlborough Group, a local financial services company with 200 employees headquartered.
He studied Economics at Trinity, between 2002-2005.
He said: “I was approached by Trinity recently and they told me about the great work Parent Power Oldham are doing and I was very happy to help.
“I’d like to help dispel myths about Cambridge and encourage applicants from the North to go to Cambridge.
“I attended a comprehensive school and wasn’t trained or given extra tuition to get into university.
“I was lucky as one of my teachers took a real interest in myself and a few friends and took us to Cambridge for an open day.
“I enjoyed the trip, applied, and was fortunate enough to get a place at Trinity.
“Having Cambridge on my CV has opened doors for me and has helped me in my career.
“I firmly believe that Cambridge should be for the brightest minds regardless of their education prior to university.
“The delivery method of learning at Cambridge is very different to other universities, with students left to do a lot of reading and learning on their own, then catching up with professors in Supervisions (often one-or-two students to one with academics who are experts).
“This was a big change from school, but with hindsight, this taught me that I could always find out the answer to a problem, and gave me a confidence I carried into the workplace.”
Najma Khalid, Lead Organiser of Parent Power Oldham, insisted Trinity’s involvement in the discussions was helping to challenge myths.
She said: “We can already see the huge impact it has having.
“Parents are now changing their perceptions about Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
“The support provided by Trinity has bridged the digital divide, and provided support which has enhanced the quality of life for families and raised aspirations.”
As well as advice and information, Trinity has provided laptops for those families involved in Parent Power Oldham.
Parent Carla Lyon said: “Receiving the laptop from Parent Power has really helped my son to engage more with his home learning.
“It has also made it easier for me to join the Parent Power Zoom meetings as well as keeping in touch with family and friends during lockdown.
“It really has helped us both a lot.”
Funded by Oldham Opportunity Area and Greater Manchester Higher, Parent Power Oldham is part of the Department for Education’s £90 million Opportunity Area programme, helping children and young people overcome the obstacles to social mobility so they can achieve their ambitions no matter where they live.
James Kempton, Chair of Oldham Opportunity Area Partnership Board, said: “It’s vital that we work together to unlock the potential of our young people so they can fulfil their ambitions and meet the future skills needs of our economy.
“Oldham Parent Power is helping do just that, with partners like Trinity College Cambridge bringing in role models to showcase the opportunities for our high achieving young people to succeed and also for the parents and carers themselves.”
Image: Members of Parent Power Oldham (before lockdown)
Original article Oldham Chronicle