Class of 2024 Achievements: Ruthie Hayward on Supporting Students with Disabilities – News
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Class of 2024 Achievements: Ruthie Hayward on Supporting Students with Disabilities – News

Class of 2024 Achievements: Ruthie Hayward on Supporting Students with Disabilities – News

Ruthie Hayward is a final year law student due to graduate in July 2024. This year Ruthie received the Disability Champion Award as part of the University’s Equality+ Awards.

Earlier this month we spoke with Ruthie about her accomplishments and plans after graduation.

If you would like to follow Ruthie, you can do so on LinkedIn.

What was the most important moment of your life at university?

I work as a Disability Adviser and help represent the voice of disabled students on campus to senior management and government ministers.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

I work at a university in the student services department, developing my skills and continuing the work I did as a student.

In the longer term I would like to work in a role where I can develop EDI strategies and policy within organisations such as a university or the NHS, drawing on my experiences as a law student and working with students.

You have been awarded the Disability Champion award. Can you tell us more about it:

We won an award for our work as Disability Coaches, which is a leading innovation project not only within the university but also within the wider student support sector. It is currently the only project of its kind in the UK and helps to reinforce the University of Liverpool’s reputation as a truly pioneering university when it comes to EDI. The project employs disabled students to act as the first point of contact for initial support enquiries

As part of my role I attended open days and gave keynote addresses at Welcome Week on campus, which increased the visibility of disabled students and allowed prospective and current students to see themselves reflected in their peers. I also had the pleasure of representing the voice of disabled students within the Office for Students and with senior members of the University, as well as the Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, emphasising the importance of implementing effective EDI policies to improve the student experience.

We have helped hundreds of students and brought attention to the needs of disabled students on campus.

As a student with a disability, I haven’t always had the easiest path, and I wanted to use my experience to help my peers get the support they need to thrive and make the process easier and more welcoming.

EDI message from Ruthie:

EDI is a concept that is a fundamental principle, not a finite goal. In our practice and personal lives, we should strive for continuous change and development to create an inclusive society.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Keep going! Find your rhythm and fall in love with Liverpool!

Resources Ruthie recommends:

The BBC drama Then Barbara Met Alan is a useful reminder of EDI’s recent history with disability. It shows how far we have come, but how far we still have to go.

Ruthie’s last words:

I would like to thank all the people who have supported and helped me. Firstly academically, Dr Ben Murphy and the LTSO SLSJ team, you have supported me through the ups and downs of this degree and I would not have completed my degree without you. Professionally, Jennie Atherton, Disability Coach Lead, for being the most supportive manager and strengthening and supporting us into the team we are today. Personally, my mum Ali. Witnessing your support, strength, advocacy and compassion throughout my life has made me the woman I am today. Thank you.