A university is offering a fully-funded scholarship for students from underrepresented groups to take a Masters degree.

Sheffield Hallam University is offering the place on the two-year strength and conditioning (S&C) coaching course.

The university said it is aimed at people from a “culturally diverse background or with a disability”.

Only four UK universities offer the scheme in partnership with the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS).

Course leader Dr Steve Thompson said the university was “extremely proud” to be offering the place.

“Higher education can present many barriers for all students, but these are often more apparent for those students with protected characteristics,” he said.

“This scholarship will go a long way to break some of these barriers and provide one student with a big leap into the S&C industry.”

The university said the course “prepares individuals for a career in strength and conditioning and challenges students to evaluate the physical elements of sport performance and health, implement tailored strength and conditioning and develop practical coaching skills through experiential learning”.

Paid work experience as a coach with Team Hallam, based at the University’s Collegiate Campus, will also be provided.

TASS is a government initiative funded by Sport England.

A teenager has secured a university place after losing a year of study when he was bedridden with long Covid.

A-level student Jake Zibe contracted coronavirus in his first week at Dame Allan’s School sixth form in Newcastle and was left with severe fatigue.

The 18-year-old, from Gosforth, was given the option to resit his first year, but decided to cram two years’ worth of studying into one.

He said he did not want to “let the condition rob me of a year of my life”.

Jake had been unable to resume classes after having Covid-19 so he took extra lessons over summer, during lunchtimes and after school.

He said he “ended up completely bedridden” and had to rely on steroids and other medication for months.

“Even when I was able to slowly return to school, I had zero energy and struggled to stay awake and focused during lessons.

“The moment I’d get home I’d sleep for hours. The fatigue lasted for months on end and still affects me now.”

Despite the lasting effects, Jake was able to complete the curriculum and achieved an A in biology, B in geography and a C in mathematics.

He will now study computer science at Sheffield Hallam University.

‘Strength of character’

His achievement is all the more impressive, due to a rebalancing of results following the impact of Covid-19.

The exams regulator for England, Ofqual, had said this year’s A-level results would be lower than last year and they would be similar to those in 2019 as part of efforts to return to pre-pandemic grading.

It comes after Covid-19 led to an increase in top grades in 2020 and 2021, with results based on teacher assessments instead of exams.

Jake said pupils in his year had faced huge challenges due to Covid, with both their GCSEs and A-levels affected.

Will Scott, principal at Dame Allan’s Schools, said the disease had a “devastating effect” on Jake’s health and wellbeing and was “exceptionally difficult for him”.

He added: “However, Jake has shown incredible strength of character and worked exceptionally hard for today’s results. He should feel very proud of himself.

“His focus and determination to succeed will serve him well in life.”

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