1256. Joe Seddon
Joe Seddon, from Morley and based in Oxford, founded ‘Access Oxbridge’, the first online platform to match aspiring Oxbridge applicants from underrepresented backgrounds with over 500 voluntary mentors, and which has resulted in 50 successful applications in its first year.
After graduating from Mansfield College, Oxford, with a First in PPE, Joe wanted to find a way of improving access to Oxford and Cambridge Universities and supporting the ambitions of those from low income backgrounds who would like to apply. ‘Access Oxbridge’ provides a free online mentoring service connecting current Oxford and Cambridge undergraduates with state school applicants to support them through weekly video tutorials focusing on their desired degree subject. Launched in 2018, over 140 schools now participate through the platform, which has resulted in 50 successful Oxbridge applications in its first year alone.
In a personal letter to Joe, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of how ‘Access Oxbridge’ is giving the most talented young people from underrepresented backgrounds the skills and confidence to win the places they deserve at two of our country’s finest, world-leading universities.”
“I am honoured to receive this award from the Prime Minister on behalf of Access Oxbridge, and would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our incredible mentors and inspirational students. Education has the ability to transform lives, and we must continue to work to ensure that those with incredible talent are able to succeed irrespective of background. Coming from a small town in West Yorkshire, I’m all too familiar with the barriers that students can face when it comes to accessing the UK’s best universities. Yet every day I wake up with a spring in my step knowing that we have the ability to make a lasting impact on people’s lives, and empower our students to succeed without limit.”