A YORK student has appeared in a BBC documentary which explores how accents can be stigmatised in the professional workplace.

Nuh Cooper (who originally went by Chris), a third year engineering student at the University of York, has tried to change his Yorkshire accent via voice training videos on YouTube amid concern that his accent could be held against him when he applies for graduate jobs.

He appeared in the first of a two part documentary, How to Crack the Class Ceiling on BBC 2, which aired on Tuesday, December 6, at 9pm, and is now available on BBC iPlayer (click here to watch).

The documentary producers contacted Nuh through his non-profit organisation, Role Models Yorkshire, which sees him go into schools with pupils from lower socioeconomic backgrounds to inspire them to pursue professional careers, and following his work with charity upReach which helps to boost the social mobility of disadvantaged students.

They filmed his life at university over two and a half years, and two sociolinguists researched how our accents can influence our lives in the UK.

Nuh said: "I didn’t think I’d actually be in it, but I think its important to share my experience to highlight how there is a subconscious bias about accents.

"I think people with certain Southern accents are perceived to be more intelligent, while the Yorkshire accent is judged to be less intelligent.

"Everyone on TV has a posher accent, and it makes you think that to be successful, you can only have a certain accent.

 "I come from a background, in Hull, where not many people at my school went to university, I had no furniture in my house apart from what was donated from our church, and I didn’t think I could go into a professional career."

Nuh worked night shifts working in York and wanted to make a difference in his life.

He studied Maths GCSE from scratch, and an Access to Higher Education programme at college to then go onto university.

He added: "People at university have commented on the way I speak. I used to be a member of a university society which pretty much only people from private schools were a part of. They basically ignored me and this other guy who wasn’t privately educated.

“There was an event where we had to wear tuxedos, I’d never worn one in my life and had to rush out to buy one from Primark, which was still a lot of money to me, but this guy threw custard all over it.

“When I went to do it back to him, he said ‘this tuxedo cost £1,000, don’t you even dare think about it'.”

Nuh aspires to go into a project management or a civil service career after he graduates.