AoC Gold Award winners 2011
Head groundsman of Real Madrid Football Club
Studied Sportsturf at Myerscough College
Paul joined Blackpool Football Club as an apprentice groundsman and immediately started his three-year course at Myerscough College in 1994, during which time he successfully applied for the assistant groundsman post at Arsenal. When he began work at the club, then based at Highbury, he continued his studies on a pioneering distance-learning programme provided by tutors at Myerscough. Paul swiftly progressed to Head groundsman at Arsenal. He also oversaw all aspects of design and construction and delivered the club’s new grounds at the new Emirates Stadium. He acted as an advisor to UEFA for the 2004 and 2008 European Championships, the UEFA Cup and the Champions League Finals at various stadiums around the world before he was headhunted by Real Madrid and asked to rescue their pitch at the Santiago Bernabéu football stadium. His dedication and commitment have led to him winning five Premier League Groundsman of the Year and Institute of Groundsman/Turf Professional Awards.
Paul said: “I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to study at such a fantastic College. It’s no coincidence that so many top venues around the world feature groundsmen who have trained at Myerscough College. The facilities, the quality of the teaching and the support they give is second to none and I, like so many others, am very grateful.”
John Hurt CBE
Studied Fine Art at the Grimsby Institute
Despite an early passion for acting, his parents enrolled him at Grimsby Art School, where he showed skill as a painter and he went on to St Martin’s School of Art before being accepted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. His early focus as a painter has been credited for his skill in the art of observation and his talent for getting under the skin of the characters he plays. His vast body of work includes: The Elephant Man, Shooting Dogs, 44 Inch Chest, Alien and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; roles in a number of stage plays, including Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker and Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape; and the crazed Roman Emperor Caligula in the 1970’s TV series I, Claudius.
John, whose career includes working with the Royal Shakespeare Company and who is a staunch champion of independent film-makers, has always acknowledged the contribution that the Institute made in shaping his career. He said: “On reflection, my two years at Grimsby School of Art were not just necessary but of imperative importance.”
John on winning an AoC Gold Award:
Stewart Milne CBE
Chairman and Chief Executive of the Stewart Milne Group
Trained as an electrician at Aberdeen College
When Stewart qualified, aged only 21, he set up a business specialising in kitchen and bathroom conversions. Four years later, Stewart Milne Construction Ltd was established with 30 employees and a turnover of £1m. The Stewart Milne Group, a leading independent construction company, now employs around 1,000 people across the UK and generates a turnover of more than £350m.
Stewart said: “As is becoming much more widely recognised, not everyone is cut out to go to university; it’s not the right path for everyone to follow even though there is, at times, a lot of peer pressure to do so. Colleges like Aberdeen have a very important role to play as part of the vital pathway to preparing individuals for working life, giving them the skills and an attitude to exploit, to the maximum, the opportunities that lie out there in the wider world.
“In looking back to my time at College, I can honestly say that it was during these formative years that I started to realise my own ability and personal potential. It was that experience that gave me the confidence and belief to go out there and exploit a talent I’d never realised I possessed.”
As a positive role model for today’s students, and in recognition of his significant contribution to the development of the economy in the North East of Scotland, Stewart was awarded the first Fellowship of Aberdeen College in 2010.
Listen to Stewart talk about the Award:
Former Cabinet Minister and Chairperson of the Conservative Party
Studied Business Administration at Kirklees College
Baroness Warsi was politically active from her early College days and was elected as the Vice President of the Students’ Union. She has always had a keen interest in racial justice issues and was instrumental in the launch of Operation Black Vote in West Yorkshire in 1996 and for many years she served as an executive member of the Kirklees Racial Equalities Council. After leaving College, Baroness Warsi went on to read Law at the University of Leeds and attended York College of Law to complete the Legal Practice Course. She trained with the Crown Prosecution Service and the Home Office Immigration Department. She worked for John Whitfield, the last Conservative MP for Dewsbury, before setting up her own specialist practice. She stood as a Conservative candidate in the 2005 General Election; two years later she was appointed to the House of Lords and joined David Cameron’s Shadow Cabinet. She has spoken publicly on issues as varied as prison conditions and forced marriages; she worked overseas on a research project on forced marriages for the Ministry of Law in Pakistan and is a trustee of the Savayra Foundation, a women’s empowerment charity in Pakistan.
Baroness Warsi said: “It is a real honour to be presented with the Association of Colleges’ Gold Award. I hope that Kirklees College continues to inspire generations of talented young people, whose skills are the life blood of our country.”
Entrepreneur and creator of www.singlemuslim.com
Studied a BA (Hons) Graphic Design at Wakefield College
While at College, Adeem realised that many of his well-educated friends were finding it hard to meet suitable marriage partners and came up with a modern solution to an age-old problem. He launched his online matrimonial service for fellow Muslims in 2000. The site now has more than half a million registered members worldwide and has helped bring about more than 10,000 marriages. It has featured in the media, both at home and abroad, including a BBC1 documentary and as part of a series on ITV1. His other ventures have included an Indian restaurant, famous for its chocolate curry, and Penny Appeal, a charity he set up in 2009 on the fourth anniversary of the devastating Kashmir earthquake. The charity aims to relieve poverty and give orphaned or destitute children in North West Pakistan access to education. His work has garnered a number of awards, including the Shell LiveWire Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2003. He was a finalist in the Business Entrepreneur category in the Wakefield District Business Awards in 2007 and highly commended in the e-Business category in 2009.
Adeem says: “I can honestly say that Wakefield College has given me the best start in life. The courses were relevant, up-to-date and practical and I’ll always value the support and guidance I had from my tutors every step of the way. At College I learnt the importance of believing in myself and without the encouragement I received I doubt I’d be where I am today.”
Listen to Adeem's thoughts on winning an AoC Gold Award:
*All photographs are copyright of Stefano Cagnoni