Angus man who left school with no Highers awarded prestigious law scholarship


16th December 2020

An Abertay University student who left school with no Higher grades whatsoever has been awarded a prestigious law scholarship.

Jonathan Jarvis, from Arbroath, has been selected to receive the £1,250 Thorntons Law Scholarship, which will also give him access to career advice from a Thorntons’ solicitor.

The 35-year-old overcame great hurdles to attend university in the first place.

He said: “When I left school, university wasn’t something I considered. I left and joined the armed forces. After around eight years I realised this wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life.

“At that point I had children and I realised I much preferred being at home with my family. So I left, but given that I had no qualifications I was of the mindset that I’d just have to accept whatever job I could get.

“I ended up working at a supermarket, where I worked my way up to manager level. I did that for ten years. After my youngest child was born and I was off on paternity leave, I started to re-evaluate my life and what I wanted to do.”

Jonathan contacted a college to find out what courses he would be eligible for: “I wanted to know what I could do at my age with no qualifications, and they made helpful recommendations.

“Law has always fascinated me, and I knew I had the ability to do something like that – I just didn’t think it would ever be possible.

“I spent a year at college, got my Highers and after that I went straight to Abertay. I was incredibly happy.”

Jonathan is now in the third year of his degree at Abertay, where he is a mentor for first year students. He has balanced his studies with a full-time job.

He said: “The scholarship will be really helpful. Studying while raising a family is challenging, and the money will make a real difference. However, having access to a Thorntons’ solicitor for career advice is worth more than the money itself.

“You can’t really put a price on that kind of guidance – it’s not something I had access to and it’s something I really value.”

Colin Graham, chair of Thorntons, said: “Jonathan has excelled throughout his time at Abertay and is a worthy recipient of the scholarship. As a mature student, he has made a lot of sacrifices in order to pursue a career in law and we are delighted that we are able to support him along that path.

“As well as financial support, he will have access to our people to provide both practical advice and mentoring that will hopefully enable him to fulfil all of his ambitions. We look forward to working with him and wish him the best of luck moving forward.”

Professor Nicholas Grier, from Abertay’s Division of Law, said "Thorntons is never slow to offer an encouraging hand to our students, and their generous support is much appreciated.

“Jonathan is a deserving and conscientious student with a good grasp of commercial law, and this scholarship will be a big boost to his career. We wish him well."

For more information about studying Law at Abertay, visit: 

For more information about the Thorntons Law Scholarship, visit: 

Abertay University

A modern university with a long history and a clear sense of our distinctive mission, highly regarded for our academic performance in areas with genuine relevance and impact on society and the economy, and with a community of talented students and academics who make us the success we are.

Thorntons Law

Thorntons is a legal firm made up of individuals whose skills and knowledge encompass much more than the law.

Back to news