December 29, 2018 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London: The Sikh Education Council (UK) and Mukhtiar Singh, an Employment and Commercial Barrister, have announced the result of the inaugural Guru Nanak Social Mobility Bar Scholarship. Announcing that results the SEC and Mukhtiar Singh said that it was a difficult decision and there was very little between the top two. The winner is Harrison Burroughs, who is studying his final year of a law degree at the University of Bristol.
The sponsors said that aims of the scholarships are to improve social mobility in professions perceived to be out of reach for those from poorer backgrounds. This will be achieved through financial awards, mentoring and work placements; and to encourage a wider understanding of Sikh jurisprudence by considering whether society may learn from Sikhism for the benefit of us all.
To achieve this, applicants were asked to write an essay on the topic. This year’s essay question is, “Was Teresa May right when she said Sikh values are “values we need more than ever as we forge a new ambitious role for Britain in the world””.
Whilst no feedback is provided, the best answers engaged with the second aim of the scholarships and demonstrated the requisite skills for becoming barristers (researching; persuasive writing; structured and logical arguments; and analytical).
The sponsors said that this year’s scholarship award winner Mr Burroughs grasped the objectives of the scheme and comfortably met the necessary criteria. He impressed particularly by presenting his personal opinion in a persuasive and engaging written style. His determination in the face of disadvantage, and achievements to date, demonstrate a strong desire and ability to be a successful barrister. Mukhtiar Singh will provide him with £4,000 to alleviate the financial burden of pursing a career at the Bar and also mentoring for one year.
“The first runner-up is BPTC student Rehab Jaffer. Her application and essay were so impressive that Mukhtiar Singh will be awarding her with £300 and a work placement. In addition to an excellent, well-researched essay, Ms Jaffer demonstrated outstanding academic achievements despite financial and social advantage”, they said.
The second runner-up is Suffian Ali Hussain, who will be awarded a work placement. His commitment to the Bar was particularly of note. Mr Hussain commenced the BPTC in 2019.
Mukhtiar Singh and the SEC have congratulated the winners for their impressive applications and essays. They said that all the winners have come from financially and socially disadvantaged backgrounds and have shown not only do they have the necessary strong commitment to become barristers, but they also have the ability. Each have their own stories of overcoming significant obstacles, which many are privileged not to face. All three are expected to be successful barristers in the future.
“Those that were not successful (including the runner ups), and continue to meet the criteria, are encouraged to apply again next year”, the sponsors said.
The essays will be published on the Sikh Education Council website and on Mukhtiar Singh’s website.
“Chambers and firms willing to provide work placements should please contact Mukhtiar Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please state whether you are able to pay for reasonable travel expenses”, a statement by the sponsors reads.
They said that the next year there will be another Bar Scholarship offering financially prizes, mentoring and work placements.
“The Guru Nanak Social Mobility Scholarships will be available in other professions in the future, hoping to provide further scholarships for solicitors, doctors and politicians”, said Mukhtiar Singh.
“Any firms or individual solicitors wishing to sponsor a Solicitor Scholarship should please contact Mukhtiar Singh at email@example.com. Details about next year’s scheme will be published at around March/April 2019 on the website (singhbarrister.co.uk) and via LinkedIn” a statement issued by SEC and Mukhtair Singh reads.
“In the spirit of the legal profession, and in the spirit of Sikhism, award winners and runner ups who subsequently secure pupillage through the scheme (“the Scholars”) will be expected to participate in the scheme in the future including providing mentoring. It is hoped that as the scheme develops, Scholars will lead engagement in state schools with the Sikh Education Council to encourage the very best potential to consider a career in the Bar, whatever their background”, the statement reads further.