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Matthew Channon, Law lecturer and first generation HE

Matthew joined Exeter Law School as a Lecturer from the University of Southampton in September 2017.

He comes from a working class background and went to a state school in Exeter, where he struggled with self-confidence.

“I was an average student, not top of my class but performing well in most subjects. During school I did not think about going to University but even during college I never really thought about it. For me my biggest challenge was my self confidence. I doubted my own skills and ability, and whether I would be able to match up to my peers at University, particularly because I went to a State School,” he said.

Through hard work and determination he graduated in Law from the University of Glamorgan and then completed a Masters at Exeter and a PhD, self-funded while working part-time in a pub.

During his Masters Degree he enjoyed researching subjects and examining the background behind the laws and decided to become a lecturer.

“Law is a really interesting subject to research in and there is a lot of depth to it. I also really enjoy teaching, it allows me to make a difference and help develop skills of our students,” he said.

Matthew believes helping prepare students for the challenges of University is always important.

“When I went to University it was a shock for me, a different environment from what I was used to. I would have really appreciated it when I was at school to hear from University students, staff and alumni about their experiences, challenges and how they overcame them. This would help students prepare for that transition into University,” he said.

He is committed to breaking down barriers for future students who come from similar backgrounds and created the Twitter hashtag #mypathtolaw to share his story.

The hashtag went viral generating thousands of retweets from solicitors, barristers and academics to sharing details of how they overcame obstacles and battled against the odds, often from lower income backgrounds to bag their dream career in law.

“It is important for stories of how barriers and challenges have been overcome to be shared. This, I think, can be done more in Higher Education, to provide the inspiration for students who are facing challenges,” said Matthew.