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Case Study

Cailean Carvalho

Sunderland, UK

BA (Hons) Business and Financial Management


Cailean Carvalho first experienced the University of Sunderland when he was 16, attending an open day. It was a very special moment for him when he was offered a place on his chosen course on the basis of his real-world business experience, as well as his UCAS points. 12 years later Cailean is working in the education marketing sector, making a difference by helping more students gain access to higher education.

Many students travel to find the right university for them. That wasn’t an option for me as I didn’t have the family support or the finances to move away. I first went to an open day when I was 16, eager to see what higher learning felt like on campus.

I entered the University of Sunderland through Clearing on the basis of my business experience and not just my UCAS points. It was a really special moment when someone made that decision to offer me a place that made the career I have come to enjoy. Before I came to university I was studying at college and running my own business in motivational training. Sunderland gave me the flexibility to put my learnings into practice to power up my business.

My favourite part of the course was delivering presentations for assessments. For all of us, it built communication, collaboration and soft skills that are so critical to the workplace. The University is a terrific place to laugh, learn and live, there is such a community and you never feel like just a number. The support services are exceptional and there is a real focus on giving you all you need to succeed.

Thanks to the University of Sunderland, I was able to secure a Knowledge Transfer Partnership as a graduate that lit up my entire career. I have spent the past 12 years in education, making a difference to the nation. Thanks to the skills I gained at University of Sunderland, I have lived and worked in 16 countries, working for international titans like IBM, Portal, UCAS.

Today, I am Managing Director of a Marketing Agency that supports national access to higher education. Coming full circle to benefit the young people like me that struggle to access higher education. Without the skills and life lessons learned at the University of Sunderland, I am not sure I would be here."

Published 11 January 2022

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