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Computing student wins prestigious national Bursary

27 October 2023
A Sheppey College student has won a prestigious bursary by a panel of judges for his outstanding attainment and work ethic.

An EKC Sheppey College student has won a prestigious bursary by a panel of judges for his outstanding attainment and work ethic.

Matthew Barnes was awarded the Peter Roberts Bursary by the Collab Group, an organisation of 29 Further Education Colleges and College groups, to put towards his business idea.

At the Thursday 13 October ceremony, Matthew was named as the winner and presented with a £2,500 cheque by Ian Pretty from the Collab Group, Mark Dawe from The Skills Network, and Sheppey College Principal Alan Salter.

Having accomplished a triple Distinction in both his Level 3 Computing and Cyber Security course, as well as his Extended Diploma in Information Technology, Matthew has already begun his BSc in Computer Games Design at Staffordshire University London.

The 21-year-old said after the win: “After university, I plan to set up my own indie game development company, and this money will really help procure the equipment to achieve that goal.

“I was very, very happy when I found out I’d won,because I don’t think I’d be able to last at university if I didn’t. It’s very difficult to express it, but there was a lot of relief and oy that I can finally go down that path.”

The bursary follows a tough route through education for Matthew, who has worked hard to get back into education after a number of setbacks.

He said: “After I left secondary school, I went through the A Level system originally. I got to the age of 19 and stayed behind a year, but the school said ‘Enough is enough. You can’t complete the course’ – my mental health had become so bad that I just wasn’t attending.

“Covid then happened and I decided that I needed to move on from what happened there and decided to come here.

“The College has given me such a boost to my attitude, I’m so much more confident in communicating with people than I was. I’m not looking down anymore and I learnt a lot of practical skills I now use I university.”

It is for his undergraduate degree that he will use the money to purchase a high-end computer, allowing him to run essential but hardware-taxing applications such as Unreal Engine 5.

Speaking about his aims for the future, Matthew said: “I will focus more on PC or console games, because currently making games for Virtual or Augmented Reality platforms require more specific and complex knowledge.

“It was actually while here at Sheppey College that I came up with the idea. I decided one of the main things I wanted to do for myself is to create. I’ve never really had an outlet where I can say to someone else ‘I’ve made this, have a look.’

“I’ve never had that confidence to say that to people, and I want to work on that in university and build and build my ideas into finished products.”