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News > Arnold Foundation News > Building a Pathway to Success

Building a Pathway to Success

Yafet builds a pathway to success with a new generation
Yafet mentors the next generation
Yafet mentors the next generation

We are really proud to see Arnold Foundation Ambassador Yafet Melake (M 16-21) sharing his story with our partners IntoUniversity. Yafet is now studying Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science at the University of Edinburgh and has become a mentor himself at IntoUniversity. One of the Arnold Foundation's aims is to have a ripple effect on the communities and families that surround our students. Thank you, Yafet, for demonstrating so brilliantly how that works. 

Yafet’s Dad heard about IntoUniversity Leeds East when the centre first opened in 2014, and encouraged him to start attending Secondary Academic Support.

“When I first went into St Aiden’s Hall, there were a few people who I knew there, which made it a bit more familiar. There were laptops available, plenty of books. Members of staff always had a really energetic, bright smile. They were really relaxed and we were comfortable around them. You build that connection with your centre. And my brothers went as well so it’s like you’re growing with [the centre].”

In Year 8, Yafet was given the opportunity through IntoUniversity to apply for a scholarship to boarding school through the Royal National Children’s Springboard Foundation’s Bursary programme.

“[The centre staff] sat my dad down [to tell him I’d been accepted to Rugby School] and his first reaction was like ‘No my son doesn’t play rugby’. He didn’t realise it was a school or anything. Everything has spanned from then.

“[Coming to the centre] opens your eyes a bit. It’s called IntoUniversity, but they show you there’s so much more out there. My parents were always like ‘university, university, university’. That’s all they knew.  

“But [IntoUniversity] knows all of the [potential] options like degree apprenticeships, apprenticeships and then they give you insights [into what university is like] through going to universities and seeing the different facilities.”

An Extending Horizons residential trip with IntoUniversity to Edinburgh would prove to be a significant moment in Yafet’s educational journey when it came to picking where to attend university.

“I actually didn’t visit [The University of] Edinburgh when I was picking it. But I remembered the trip [to Edinburgh Napier University] and that I had enjoyed it. [It was my] first time being away from home, without parents, and we were living in student accommodation. So then I guess it stuck and I picked [Edinburgh]. I haven’t regretted it. It’s been really good.

“[While at university] I took part in the McKinsey Solve It [work experience] and I was aware of it because of IntoUniversity and the newsletters. There is constant development at IntoUniversity that progressively builds on previous experiences, resulting in a diverse array of skills and knowledge that endure well into adulthood.”

After Yafet got into The University of Edinburgh to study Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science, he discovered that IntoUniversity had just opened a centre in the city, IntoUniversity Craigmillar. Without hesitation he signed up to mentor, remembering how helpful it was to have a mentor himself.

“I think [the best part about mentoring] is you get the one-to-one support. Then you get the inside information like what you really need to know about how university is. And any help you need he’s just there to help you; he’s not distracted by anyone else.”

Yafet’s mentee is fifteen year old Lao, who moved to Edinburgh from Nigeria three years ago. The pair have now been meeting since October 2021, and were one of IntoUniversity Craigmillar’s first mentoring pairs. Lao is interested in becoming an Engineer so the pair have participated in a number of activities related to Engineering. Lao has really enjoyed being mentored by Yafet so far.

“It’s been very helpful. I’m working on my social skills and my communication and we’ve been doing revision for when I’ve got a test. Yafet is my good friend. He’s been helpful. Now I know more about university and it’s also helping my communication skills because I was kind of a shy person before.” 

Reflecting on his IntoUniversity journey, Yafet thinks his younger self would be happy with where he is now.

“[Of the advice I’d give my younger self] I’d say make sure you use all the opportunities. Take them all because, down the road, you never know whether it will have a knock-on effect. Whatever you do today or tomorrow will affect your future, whether it’s five years, ten years, or maybe even just a month later, just make sure you take every opportunity because it will have a domino effect.”

With thanks to IntoUniversity for sharing this story

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