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Birmingham student named winner of life-changing scholarship

Hatem Kesseir from Yardley in Birmingham has won a fully funded degree at Birmingham City University (BCU) after being named the winner of this year’s life-changing Millennium Point Charitable Trust Scholarship.

The 18-year-old is currently studying A-Levels at Solihull College’s Blossomfield campus, with the aim to read for a degree in Computer Science at BCU, starting in September 2022.

Each year, the Millennium Point Charitable Trust funds tuition fees for an undergraduate degree in partnership with Birmingham City University at their Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment. The faculty covers over 20 different courses across computing, digital technology, engineering, and the built environment.

Hatem was selected as the eighth winner of the renowned scholarship following a rigorous assessment process. The Millennium Point Trust Scholarship has already funded seven inspiring young people from the region through their degrees, including last year’s winner Asima Adnan, a mother of five from Dudley who is now studying for a degree in Planning at BCU.

The competition wrapped up earlier this month following an interview in front of a panel consisting of Millennium Point CEO, Abbie Vlahakis; Pro Vice-Chancellor & Executive Dean of the Faculty, Hanifa Shah; and Head of Business Development of STEM Education Deliverer Learn By Design, Mike Ridler.

Finalists did not leave empty handed, with each receiving a laptop computer to help them in their future studies. Prior to the final interview all finalists received a one-day workshop to develop their core skills in speaking, presentation, and leadership.

Hatem commented: “My first reaction was a bit of shock, happiness, excitement; I had put a lot of work in, so to get that end result was fantastic – I didn’t think I would ever have the opportunity to go to university.

“My family were really happy when they heard I had won, as they didn’t have that opportunity themselves, so they could live it through me.”

Abbie Vlahakis, CEO of Millennium Point and head judge, added: “When we first met Hatem, it was clear from the very start that he had real passion for his chosen subject; when speaking to him, it was clear that it meant so much and we knew he would be absolutely dedicated to becoming a scholarship winner and the way that he spoke you knew he could be a fantastic ambassador for Millennium Point.

“It was such a lovely experience – once again – to tell someone they had won something so fantastic; it was lovely to see his reaction and that of his family, and that makes the whole experience worthwhile – to see how delighted he was to win, we knew we’d made the right decision.

“The competition was the strongest it’s ever been. What’s also great to see is the diverse range of subjects which our finalists are looking to study at BCU, from Sound Engineering to Digital Forensics – fantastic proof of the variety of STEM industries and careers that are available.”

The scholarship competition is one of the flagship initiatives of the Millennium Point Charitable Trust. £4.9m in commercial profits from the landmark Millennium Point public building and multi-award-winning venue in the Eastside of Birmingham city centre are invested annually into projects, events, and initiatives which support the growth of STEM education and industry in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands.

The Millennium Point Charitable Trust has jointly funded 8 scholarships in partnership with BCU totaling £87,000 overall. The scholarship competition is set to return in 2023.

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Hatem Kesseir and Abbie Vlahakis, CEO of Millennium Point

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ABOUT MILLENNIUM POINT AND THE MILLENNIUM POINT CHARITABLE TRUST Opened in 2001, Millennium Point is the largest landmark millennium project in England, outside of London. Inside, it is home to unique event spaces including a 350-capacity auditorium, flexible workspaces, meeting rooms and offices, and tenants, including ThinkTank and Birmingham City University (BCU). All of the commercial activity that takes place in the Millennium Point building feeds back into the Millennium Point Charitable Trust, enabling the charity to donate, invest and facilitate more than £4.8m to STEM related organisations, projects and initiatives in the West Midlands, during 2018. Situated opposite the new HS2 Curzon Street Station, Millennium Point and the Millennium Point Trust champion and facilitate meetings and partnerships between businesses, educators and the next generation of STEM leaders across the region.

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