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Ben's path to provide for Phoenix

Graduation will signal the start of a more settled life for Leeds Beckett University student Ben Milner, who completed 17-hour working days alongside his studies to support his disabled son Phoenix.

Image of Ben Milner

Ben will graduate with a first-class degree in BSc Computer Forensics and Security and having also secured a graduate job at national branding firm Communisis, after spending much of his time at university working two jobs after Phoenix was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Phoenix was born prematurely midway through Ben’s first year on the course, with the diagnosis of cerebral palsy having life-changing consequences for Ben and his partner, who quit her job to become a full-time carer for their new baby.

This left Ben as the sole provider for his family, forcing him to take on extra work alongside his studies.

He said: “I was a web administrator by day, a bartender by night and then I had to find time to do my university work as well.

“It meant starting work at nine, and not getting back in the house until one in the morning. Even then, I’d try to get an hour of university work in before I went to bed, just to make sure I didn’t fall too far behind.”

Additional funding from Student Finance in his final year meant Ben could focus more closely on his studies, and he put in extra work to ensure he received the highest grade possible.

“I chose a complex final year project, and I put in hundreds of hours of work perfecting it.” He added.

“It was a gamble, but luckily it paid off and I ended up producing something I was really proud of.”

Having already started his new job, Ben is settling into a more relaxed routine and hopes his story will inspire Phoenix in the future.

“Phoenix is a really smart boy, even at his age. He’s super switched on and is already a bit of a genius, in my eyes.

“I hope that he can see what I’ve done and go on to follow in my footsteps and head to university himself one day.”

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