Wen Shao and Jim French

Birmingham student Wen Shao has been awarded a sponsorship to study a four-year Transport and Logistics degree at Aston University, funded by the RHA’s Benevolent Fund.

Wen Shao (pictured left with RHA Benevolent Fund chairman Jim French) won the sponsorship after interviewing for the award in November.

The RHA said this week that Shao impressed the fund’s trustees with his passion for the industry and for having previously held several warehousing jobs.

The recently launched sponsorship will provide individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds or under-represented groups, who might otherwise find it difficult to join the sector, with the opportunity to gain the skills and experience needed to start their career.

RHA members will also have the chance to employ the learner, either on a one-year placement during the course or on a permanent basis following their graduation.

French said: “I’m delighted that the Fund will be used to sponsor Wen’s education. He’s keen to learn everything he can about our industry and wants to further progress his career, so we hope this will give him an opportunity to do so.”

Dr Lucy Rackliff, Aston University senior lecturer in transport and department head for engineering systems and supply chain management, added: “We are very proud of Wen and look forward to seeing how the RHA’s generous support helps him as he develops his career.

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“We are also very grateful to the RHA for offering this opportunity and look forward to continuing to work together in the future to promote the industry and the diverse and rewarding career options available.”

Wen Shao, said: “I am very happy to be awarded with the first ever sponsorship from the RHA Benevolent Fund and to see my passion for the industry being recognised and supported.

“This sponsorship will help to ease my financial stress, allowing me to complete my studies and focus on gaining a deeper understanding of road transport in the UK.”

The RHA’s Benevolent Fund was established in 2000 and has helped thousands of the association’s members, their employees and families during times of financial hardship.

In response to the mass struggle caused by the cost-of-living crisis, new initiatives have been introduced for the Fund to further support people connected to the industry when it’s needed most.

The Fund can be used in a number of ways to support recipients, from buying white goods and clothing, to help with much-needed aid equipment and outstanding bills.

It can also be used to finance training, with redundant drivers able to apply for a free Driver CPC or medical to get them back into work.

The Benevolent Fund is largely financed by member donations and money raised at RHA events.