"Anything you put your mind to is possible": Inspirational UoB students recognised for awards

Current UoB students Ozzy Barker and Laura Ukpokolo have been shortlisted for the Student Social Mobility Awards for overcoming adversity and achieving exceptional accomplishments in their studies and beyond.

The awards, organised by upREACH, showcase the incredible work being done to transform and promote social mobility across the UK, and to recognise students who have overcome significant obstacles on their path to career success.

Ozzy has been shortlisted for this year’s Improving Social Mobility Award, which recognised the contributions of students to tackle social mobility while at university. He shared how his passion for social mobility grew when he joined Birmingham:

“It became apparent that my peers at university had a head start, they had the contacts, the knowledge, and the skills to succeed. They knew people in industries, they knew how to communicate and behave in professional environments, and they knew the tools for success. Tools I had never been taught".


This inspired him to establish his own social mobility charity, Empowering N Developing Society (ENDS), which has empowered over 100 young people through social and cultural enrichment programmes teaching soft skills and boosting their confidence.

Laura has been nominated for the Law Sector Award, recognising the outstanding achievements of undergraduates in specific career sectors while at university. Talking about her nomination, Laura said:

“[I hope being nominated] will give me the platform and space to share my story and show other students that anything you put your mind to is possible despite whatever setbacks you face”.


Alongside her studies, Laura has committed a lot of her time to supporting the youth, as a mentor to disadvantaged young people, supporting them to access higher education. 

Both have accomplished incredible achievements while facing socio-economic challenges and we couldn’t be prouder of them. Good luck and congratulations!


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