Havant student overjoyed as she wins first new scholarship between Portsmouth Football Club and the University of Portsmouth

A STUDENT who ‘hated school and thought she would never go to university’ has been offered the chance of a lifetime to study for a degree thanks to a new scholarship deal.

By Tom Cotterill
Friday, 17th September 2021, 11:03 am
Updated Friday, 17th September 2021, 5:32 pm
Isibeal O’Carroll with Portsmouth FC chief executive Andrew Cullen (left) and University of Portsmouth vice-chancellor Graham Galbraith (right)
Isibeal O’Carroll with Portsmouth FC chief executive Andrew Cullen (left) and University of Portsmouth vice-chancellor Graham Galbraith (right)

Isibeal O’Carroll, 22, has been selected as the first recipient of the education scheme, awarded by Portsmouth Football Club and the University of Portsmouth as part of a new deal between the city institutions.

The initiative sees a student who is either the first member of their family to progress to higher education or has a household income of under £25,000 being offered £9,000 to study.

And Isibeal, from Havant, will receive £3,000 a year towards her three-year undergraduate course fees, while also getting the opportunity to gain valuable experience at the club.

She has accepted an unconditional offer to study a degree in interior architecture and design.

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Isibeal said she was left blown away by the opportunity. She added: ‘I was shown the opportunity to apply for the Portsmouth Football Club scholarship through my partner’s friend, who tagged me in the Facebook Post. I saved it and went about my normal day.

‘A few days later I went back to the post, read the information and thought that the opportunity to receive the scholarship would be incredible, especially with the work experience included. I thought to myself there is no harm in applying, just the experience of applying is beneficial.

‘When I found out I received this scholarship, I was extremely grateful. the opportunity to work with the team at the club and learn new skills and knowledge. which allows potential development for my future, will be incredible.

‘I told myself I would never go to university because I hated school, but I’ve learnt the more you live in the past, you miss the present and if you keep doing that, then you miss the future that you could have created for yourself. It is never too late to make a change.

‘Anything you want to achieve or aim for in life is possible – you just need to trust in yourself and your own abilities.’

Pompey chairman Michael Eisner said: ‘We are delighted that Isibeal has been chosen as the first person to receive the Portsmouth Football Club scholarship and we wish her all the best for the next three years.

‘Our partnership with the University of Portsmouth has always been about more than just a sponsorship agreement.

‘We want to ensure that it can have a real impact on young people in this fantastic city and the scholarship is just one of the many benefits we have already seen from this wonderful relationship between two of Portsmouth’s great institutions.’

Professor Graham Galbraith, vice-chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, added: ‘Isibeal’s success is inspirational and shows how two of the leading institutions in our city can work together to bring opportunities to people who otherwise might not have them.

‘Our sponsorship of Portsmouth Football Club has always been about showing local young people that higher education is for them.

‘There are plenty of talented young people in this city. We just need to give them the opportunities – particularly those who may not have seen other family members go to university, or who face challenging financial circumstances.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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