ATEENAGERhas become the first student to be awarded a scholarship as part of an innovative partnership between Bolton College and the University of Bolton.

Toni Hibbert has become the first to benefit from the newly established Progression Pathways Fund Scholarship.

The fund which has already received more than £70,000 in donations from former students and local businesses, will provide scholarship places worth £1,250 a year for university students who meet the criteria.

The mum-of-one, who is in the first year of a Law LLB degree at the university, was put forward for the scholarship while completing her business studies Level 3 at Bolton College.

Bolton College Principal, Marie Gilluley, fund founder Dr Bob Oxtoby and Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, Professor Rob Campbell, presented Toni with her award.

The 19-year-old from Halliwell, said: “It’s a massive relief to receive this extra financial support to help me through my studies. As well as helping to cover the cost of books and fees, I’ll be able to fix my laptop.”

Mrs Gilluley added: “Bolton College is proud to announce the launch of the scheme in partnership with the University of Bolton.

“For those who meet the criteria, the scholarship will play a vital role in their professional development.

“Ultimately, our aim is to invest in Bolton’s business leaders of the future.” Professor Campbell, said: “The fund is an excellent scheme and Toni is a more than worthy recipient. Toni's dedication to her studies makes her an outstanding young student.

“With regards to the fund itself, it is another great example of the University and College working together for the benefit of the town’s students.”

Dr Bob Oxtoby, chairman of governors at Bolton College, and former principal of Bolton Institute, now the university, started the fund in 2010 to promote further collaboration between the two institutions.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must successfully complete an appropriate Level 3 course at Bolton College before progressing on to a full-time programme at the University of Bolton in business.

Qualifying degree programmes are law, IT, professional services, construction, civil engineering, creative technologies, or community, public or health services.

On February 3, the new Bolton Education Zone Partnership between the University of Bolton, Bolton College and Bolton Sixth Form College was announced with the signing of a pledge between the three institutions.

Leaders from all three have pledged to work together to open up more opportunities for students, after more than £100 million has been invested in creating new facilities for all three institutions over the past three years.