Class of 2024 achievements: Zack Walker on supporting students with a disability

Zack Walker is a final year Computer Science student who’s due to graduate in July 2024. This year, Zack was awarded a Disability Champion award at the University’s Equality+ Awards.

Earlier this month, we spoke with Zack about his achievements and plans for his next steps after graduation.

If you want to follow Zack, you can do so on LinkedIn.

You were awarded the Disability Champion award. Can you tell us more about this:

Our team of Disability Coaches won the Disability Champion awards for our innovative peer-to-peer disability support model. The team runs a drop-in desk on campus for enquires from disabled students who are seeking support with their studies.

Just this academic year alone we have seen over 800 students!

Our work has lowered the barrier to accessing support and tackles the admin burden that comes with having a disability.

We have also become the voice of disabled students in the university community, attending meetings with staff from the Office for Students and Robert Halfon MP, Minster for Higher Education and Apprenticeships. For the first time ever at the university, the coaches provided a visible beacon for disabled students on campus. Personally, I chose to apply for this role as I am very passionate about raising awareness and understanding of disability.

Independently, I was also Highly Commended for the Greatest Contribution to EDI Award at the Equality+ Awards, for my work in EDI-related roles such as a Liverpool Advocate, Disability Coach, Canvas Coach, and my volunteer work in my department as a Student Representative.

Additionally, my work at Jamescape with leading Project EDI contributed towards the company being awarded Exceptional Entrepreneur at the Equality+ Awards. Project EDI raised the Disability Confident status of the company to Leader (Level 3) through bespoke EDI staff training, an innovative new interview scheme, and a focus group with some of the Disability Coaches team.

How did you feel when you found out you had won the award?

It felt fantastic to have been nominated alongside others who had done such great work, so to win felt incredible!

What are you planning to do after graduation?  

I’ looking for work in HR or project management. In 10 years, I’d love to be working as an EDI project manager in an organisation that makes good social impact. Ideally, I like to stay in the Liverpool because I’ve fallen in love with the city.

In 10 years, what one thing do you hope will have changed in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion?

I’d like to continue to promote an increased understanding and awareness of disability and the struggles that come with it. As an aspiring EDI project manager, I want to find innovative solutions that tackle barriers in the hope of building a more equitable society.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Get involved with as many different opportunities as possible so you can figure out where your passions and talents lie.

Zack’s message to the Class of 2024:

Best of luck to all my fellow peers graduating in 2024! I’m sure you’ll all achieve great things wherever you end up next on your journey!

Zack’s recommended resources:

Zack’s final words:

I would like to thank my line managers – so thank you to James, Jennie, Ben, Sarah/Pete and everyone else in the Widening Participation team. Also thank you to Ellie from Careers for all of her EDI career advice and her hard work with the Equality+ Awards!