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Business owner and founder of the Chapeltown and Harehills Learning Project.

After having such a positive undergraduate experience, I knew Leeds Trinity was the place for me to do my MA in education. I want to use my MA to be able to develop my business and help take me to the next level.

Dreams can come true

When I was 18 years old I had a dream that I'd run my own school. It was a vision that stayed with me throughout my life. I opened my first centre, the Chapeltown and Harehills Learning Project, in 2006, starting off small. The centre’s popularity led to me expanding the business and within two years I opened a second education centre, which I also managed. The project supports disadvantaged adult learners in the UK and worldwide.

May Arthurton in the Chapel.

My undergraduate experience at Leeds Trinity

As a mature student I found the return to education to study English and Media very challenging. But with the very supportive lecturers I achieved my goal of graduating which I found extremely rewarding. One lecturer in particular who supported me, was Jane De Gay, as well as being my English teacher she was also a Minster in my church (St Martin’s). After graduating from my undergraduate course Jane has kept in close contact with me and shown a great deal of interest in my work to support the community.

As well as the English part of my course I also loved the media aspect. I fondly remember making a video on Blind Date which made me realise that I could actually present! I was also fortunate to do my professional work placement at Yorkshire Television. Here I was able to see real filming taking place, first-hand.

My career since first graduating

After graduating in 2004 I undertook a PGCE at another institution and then went on to be a teacher, I worked for ten years at Bradford and Shipley College. I taught literacy and English basic skills and I was also an ESOL Teacher. All this experience gave me the foundation to start my own business. This started small but in no time, I outgrew my first premises! It was always an amazing feeling when new people turned up. I entered into partnerships with mainstream colleges and I was getting students referred. Within no time, I was receiving up to 500 students a year.

Returning to study at Leeds Trinity 

After having such a positive undergraduate experience, I knew Leeds Trinity was the place for me to do my MA in education. I want to use my MA to be able to develop my business and help take me to the next level.

My long-term plans

I would love to set up a school abroad in Africa or the Caribbean. Essentially my goal is the same wherever I am which is to help the disadvantaged.