Having witnessed, first hand, rioting on the streets of his hometown, Marcel Simpson knew that he wanted to make a difference to the lives of young people.
The 27-year-old had an ambition to teach teenagers about the world in which they live, in the hope that education could help to resolve some of the issues they were finding themselves in.
Despite the loss of his father part way through the course, Marcel graduated from the University of Worcester in November 2011 with a History PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education).
“I did my undergraduate degree in History at the University of Birmingham and at first had thought about becoming a lawyer,” he said. “I had an interview at the University of Cambridge but it was during the Lozells race riots in Birmingham in 2005 that I decided that I wanted to put something back into the community by becoming a teacher.”
Marcel joined the University of Worcester, commuting daily from his home in Handsworth, Birmingham.
“The course was hard work but it was very enjoyable,” he said. “The support from the tutors was fantastic.”
“During the year my father passed away at home in Jamaica and I had to travel over there for the funeral,” he added. “That was a difficult time but I didn’t want to let it stop me from completing the course and realising my ambition.”
Marcel continued to meet deadlines for his assignments and although invited to, he did not request mitigating circumstances. He completed an additional two weeks of school placements at the end of the course to make up for his time away and complete the required school hours.
Marcel, who spent the first 14 years of his life in Jamaica, is currently covering a maternity leave but is hoping to secure a permanent appointment in a school soon.
“I have always been interested in history,” he said. “A lot of young people think that history is just about war but I want to show them how much more there is and how relevant it is to their lives. I think it’s really important that young people learn about members of their own community and the contributions they made so that they can live the lives they live today. I want to make it relevant for them.”