ArcelorMittal – the world’s leading steel and mining company – has made a major donation to Birkbeck, University of London, to sponsor students in east London and widen access to higher education.
Birkbeck, known as London’s evening university, exists to provide educational opportunities to busy Londoners, including those who have missed out on conventional higher education.
As part of the three-year ‘Learning Ladder’ gift, the company will pay for four undergraduate student bursaries, tuition fees for one postgraduate student, and support for a student researching a PhD in crystallography – the study of atomic and molecular structures, such as steel.
The funding is the first in a string of local community initiatives planned by the company throughout 2014. It is part of a programme aimed at contributing to the wider regeneration effort, symbolised by the distinctive 114.5m ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture designed by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond.
To qualify for the funds, applicants are required to receive a household income of less than £25,000 and reside in east London.
The partnership has been forged with Birkbeck, which is committed to widening access to higher education in east London. In November last year Birkbeck and the University of East London opened University Square Stratford – a £33m state-of-the-art shared campus in Stratford, east London, which was built on land provided by the London Borough of Newham.
Tricia King, Pro-Vice-Master Strategic Engagement and Recruitment at Birkbeck, said: “Birkbeck is very grateful for this funding as it will provide opportunities for people otherwise unable to study because of financial constraints. ArcelorMittal’s support will help the College pursue its goal of meeting the growing aspirations of the people of east London.”
Ian Louden, Head of Brand at ArcelorMittal, said: “We want the striking ArcelorMittal Orbit to be seen not just as a memory of an amazing Olympic Games but also as a beacon for the regeneration of East London which was an inherent part of London’s bid to the International Olympic Committee. Our support for low-income, locally-based students at the Stratford campus of Birkbeck University of London is part of our community engagement programme focussed on this regeneration objective.”