AFTER fleeing the civil war in Liberia, Prince Taylor set about building a new life in Sheffield.
Such was his determination that he completed business courses at Sheffield College and Hallam University, all while juggling work commitments and missing his family back home.
And the 34-year-old will tell his inspirational story tomorrow (Friday) at a graduation ceremony to mark the achievements of Sheffield College’s higher education students.
Prince Taylor, who lives in Batemoor, moved to Sheffield ten years ago. He completed a BTEC National Diploma in Business before taking a foundation degree in business at Hillsborough College.
He went on to study the final year of an honours degree at Sheffield Hallam University and this year he completed a masters degree at Sheffield Business School at Hallam.
Throughout his studies, he has worked for British Telecom as well as volunteering for the Northern Refugee Council, the UK Union of Liberian Organisations and being a member of Highfield Trinity Methodist Church in London Road.
Prince said he had enjoyed a very warm welcome from Sheffield people and studying at college and university had been the bedrock of his success.
“I am outgoing and like making new friends. Visiting the countryside is one thing that I always enjoy doing and I am also passionate about football.
“I was worried about my age and how I would fit everything in with work. But I was determined to go further. Once I got into my studies, I forgot about my age.”
Prince added: “It’s been challenging but I feel extremely happy to have completed the college and university courses and am grateful for all the support I have received.”
Tomorrow’s college graduation ceremony takes place at the Cutlers’ Hall. Wearing traditional caps and gowns and joined by their families, friends and tutors, students who successfully completed a foundation degree this summer will receive their certificates.
The annual celebration coincides with moves by the college to expand its higher education provision. Around 500 Sheffield College students are on higher education courses, mostly foundation degrees. Of these, 350 study full time and 150 study part time.
The college is currently applying to offer additional places to meet demand and provide affordable and vocational degree options in response to the Government’s move to raise higher education tuition fees from September.
Around 10% of higher education courses are currently run by further education colleges nationally. This looks set to rise as the Government makes 20,000 more student places available to colleges and universities that can provide higher education courses for less than £7,500 a year.
The Sheffield College has set its higher education course tuition fees at a maximum of £5,900 per year for full-time students from 2012. Those from homes where the total family income is below £25,000 will be eligible to apply for a fee reduction through a scholarship.
Chief executive Heather MacDonald said: “Our high-quality foundation degrees are extremely popular and offer good value for money. We want to offer more places to meet demand but until now there has been a Government cap on the number of students that we can recruit.”