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Merchant Taylors July 12

Merchant Taylors award bursaries to fitting group of students

The Company of Merchant Taylors has once more awarded bursaries to a group of York College & University Centre’s most-talented students.

Grants were handed out on campus to seven worthy recipients by the Merchant Taylors’ Master Barry Crux and Chair of Charitable Donations Roy Wallington.

The students selected were Elen Golding, Lily Mathers, Amelia Burfield, Stefan Palmer, Connor Grassby, Elyse Plumridge and Ryan Denton with all seven fulfilling the qualifying criteria of living in the city of York while studying either art & design, music or traditional crafts and demonstrating a potential to go far in their respective fields.

As well as identifying star performers for bursaries whose quality of work and predicted grades are high, the awards also take into consideration students’ attendance records.

The Company of Merchant Taylors are one of the seven Guilds in York whose origins date back to the 13th century and the aim of the bursaries is to provide financial support for talented students during their Higher or Further Education studies.

Below are some of the reasons why each student was chosen for a bursary:

Elen Golding

A skilled and sensitive illustrator and printmaker, Elen’s anxiety condition makes her extremely nervous in social or strange situations. She, therefore, prefers to work somewhere that she feels she will be overlooked but, then, an incredible illustration or print will appear on her wall and everyone takes notice so, while she might sit quietly in the corner of the studio, she produces work that shouts loudly.

Her work ethic is prolific, but she cares about crafting something beautiful and something that will change your mind. After completing the Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, she is progressing to study BA (Hons) Graphic & Communication Design at York College University Centre.

Lily Mathers

Lily has overcome times of personal difficulty by working with staff and Learning Support to navigate her projects and overcome barriers. Her commitment and hard work throughout the year has not gone unnoticed, along with her 100 per cent attendance and she will be an asset to any future employer.

Amelia Burfield

Kind-natured Millie always seems to put other people before herself, including her peers who she often gives mature advice. Very creative, she gets involved in every workshop going and her talent shone through in the tote bag, zine and calendar she designed for her final major project.

She will study the Art and Design Foundation Diploma at York College University Centre next year.

Stefan Palmer

Showing perseverance and determination, Stefan has increased and developed his 3D Design skills and knowledge to become an independent learner, who is ready to take on challenges and push the boundaries of his own skills. He is continuing with his BA (Hons) 3D Creative Practice studies and will no doubt go on to be successful in Higher Education and beyond.

Connor Grassby

Always eager to learn, Connor has progressed very well throughout the year and his attendance and punctuality records have been great. He is now hoping to secure a Painting and Decorating apprenticeship but, if not, he will progress naturally on to the Level Two Full-Time Painting and Decorating course at College.

Elyse Plumridge

Constantly challenging herself over the past two years, Elyse has played lead guitar in a variety of ensembles. She was the only student to pursue a live music project this year and is now looking for employment in the industry or to explore possible avenues into Higher Education.

Ryan Denton

An ever-present student in the music department over the past two years, Ryan’s diligent work has seen him achieve more than most from his year group with a humility and reservedness that was not easy to find among this year’s batch of “teenage rockstar wannabes”.

He is also now exploring employment opportunities in the industry or possible avenues into Higher Education.

The Merchant Taylors also recognised the work and final collections of graduating BA Fashion Design & Garment Technology students Hannah Miller and Elenor Houlgate at their annual Charter Day.

Held at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall in Aldwark, the prestigious event saw Hannah and Elenor both enjoy afternoon tea before receiving certificates and cheques to support their next steps in the fashion world.

Commenting on the gesture, Hannah said: “It was such an honour and one we weren’t expecting at all. When you put so much hard work in, you almost get stuck in your own mindset as you’re trying to finish your collection so, to be rewarded like this, was really lovely, especially from a body that really appreciates how pieces are made.

“With us being a Garment and Technology course, the quality of everything is a real focus point for us so, for somebody to look at that and appreciate it, is really lovely.”

Elenor, who will now study a Master’s degree in Luxury Fashion Management at Manchester Met University, added: “We feel like our work is recognised at College, but it’s also great to receive that recognition from an outside party too.”

Hannah, meanwhile, is looking for employment in the fashion industry close to her North-East home.

Both are planning on visiting each other, though, having become best friends on the course with York College University Centre Fashion Design & Garment Technology programme leader Rebecca O’Leary celebrating their achievements, while thanking the Merchant Taylors for their continued support.

“It was a day to celebrate our students’ achievements,” Rebecca said of Charter Day. “We’ve got a long-standing working relationship with the Merchant Taylors and they have supported our best collections at Level Six for many years.

“They have issued them with certificates and cheques to help them invest in their futures and, while The Guilds of York can be perceived as old-fashioned and not representing what young people want, our experience of the Merchant Taylors is that they are very supportive of up-and-coming talent and they really want to nurture new members to the fashion industry.

“Our relationship with them also represents a great networking opportunity for our students and Hannah and Eleanor have both been brilliant. They joined us in September 2020 when we had a blended timetable due to Covid.

“They were nowhere near the machines or making as much as I would have liked them to so, to see the distance they have travelled on their personal journeys during such a tough time, makes their achievements seem even more special. I’d say that’s especially the case with El, who was so anxious travelling to London on trips when she started the course, but now she just pops down there on a train to go and find fabrics.

“She also lacked confidence speaking, but now she’s off to Manchester to study a Master’s! I think that’s what education does beyond the qualifications. It can be transformative and it’s been great to see them become best friends too.”