AoC Charitable Trust 04/08

AoC Gold Awards 2008

Chief Executives, Chairs, Clerks, Curriculum Managers, Quality Managers

The winners of this year’s AoC Gold Awards will be presented with their Awards at a reception to be held at the House of Commons Terrace Pavilion on Thursday 12 June 2008.

The reception will be hosted by Kelvin Hopkins MP, Joint Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Further Education.  Giles Long MBE, the President of the AoC Charitable Trust and former Gold Award winner, will be presenting the Awards.

This year’s winning alumni are as follows:

Ex- Craven College student Justine Whitaker, is the Nursing Standard Nurse of the Year for 2007. She won the award for transforming the lives of her patients who have had surgery for prostate cancer.

Justine left school in 1986 with no formal qualifications and began her career working in a local nursing home where colleagues told her she would make a good nurse. She decided to return to education and went to Craven College.  She initially took an office studies course, but soon realised that her future did not lie in office work.  The following year she joined the pre-nursing course, gaining 5 ‘O’ Levels in just 9 months and was awarded Student of the Year at Craven College in 1988 for her efforts in her studies.

Justine comments on her experience at Craven College, ‘My pre-nursing course was a pivotal point in the start of my career as a nurse. It was the best thing I ever did and the opportunities and support I gained from the college were fantastic. I have very fond memories of Craven College and still walk past the High St building with a smile on my face’.

After leaving Craven College Justine started her nurse training at St James’ Hospital (Jimmy’s) in Leeds in where she specialised in lymphology, pursuing and achieving specialist qualifications along the way. 

Through her work Justine saw that men with prostate cancer who suffered from swollen scrotums were not able to obtain adequate relief from their symptoms. Working closely with her patients she invented a new type of garment to relieve painful swelling.  Her product the Whitaker Pouch is now helping thousands of men in the UK and is being distributed internationally, with the potential to offer hope of pain relief for the 25 million men in Africa and India who suffer from Filariasis (elephantiasis). Her enormous drive and determination to make her invention available to as many men as possible has enabled her to convince the medical devices industry to get involved and now patients throughout the world are enjoying relief from their symptoms.
Justine has also won the Innovation in Cancer award, sponsored by the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust; judges were impressed by her enormous enthusiasm, compassion, commitment and energy.

Justine is currently in her final year of study for a Masters degree in the Management of Lymphoedema at Bradford University and is a senior lecturer in lymphoedema management at the University of Central Lancashire.  She has started her own specialist independent nursing clinic based in east Lancashire, but serving the needs of patients nationally.  Her area of specialist treatment and care is currently not available to many patients within the NHS and so she is commissioned by the NHS to provide this specialist service – a new and innovative way of working for healthcare in the UK.

She has been Chair of the Service Development Forum within the British Lymphology Society for the past six years and now sits on the Education Strategy Board. 

Principal of Craven College, Alan Blackwell comments on Justine’s achievements, “To develop an idea from scratch that is now being produced to help men internationally is phenomenal and I am immensely proud that Craven College helped to kick start a hugely successful career in nursing for Justine. I pass on my congratulations from all of us at college and wish her all the very best for the future.”

During the 3 years of her attendance at Hereward College, 1976 – 79, Jane Campbell achieved 6 GCE O Levels and 3 A Levels before progressing on to Hatfield Polytechnic to take a Humanities degree and Sussex University for an MA in Political History. 

Since then she has worked in the disabilities, and social care fields.  Jane has been recognised twice in the Queens Birthday Honours (in 2000 with an MBE and in 2006 when she was made a Dame). 

Her residential college experience enabled Jane to achieve the qualifications at level 2 and advanced level that had not been available to her at the special school previously attended.  She was then able to progress to University and to develop a career in the social care field as well as being an active campaigner for disability rights since her days at college. 

She is a Commissioner and Disability Committee Chair at the Equality and Human Rights Commission.  She is an independent health and social care policy adviser, and Chair of the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) Independent Living Review Expert Panel.  She has been a Commissioner of The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) since its inception in 2000.  She is also a member of the Editorial Board of the British Journal of Social Work (BJSW).

Andrew Iveson started his college life at Keighly Technical College, now Leeds College of Building, via the then Youth Opportunity scheme in 1982.  After the first year he transferred onto the more applicable Heating and Ventilation Industrial/ Commercial course, achieving excellent results and a best student of the year award in Heating and Ventilation, which started his rapid ascent through the ranks to becoming Managing Director of SIAS Building Services 18 years later.

In 1984-1986 he progressed on to the Technician route, National Certificate in Building Services Engineering, to advance himself.  At which point his employer asked Andrew to consider a dual role between his excellent continuation as site engineer whilst undertaking technical duties, costings etc. in the Company’s office environment.  On completion of the ONC, Andrew then completed further studies on the Higher National Certificate in Building Services and completed the CED year between Leeds College of Building and Leeds Polytechnic.

During his HNC studies, Andrew started to work mainly the office as Project Engineer, utilising his continually developing skills to bring practice, theory and newly learnt management skills together to support both the Company, other colleagues and continue to advance his own personal development.

He was then approached by SIAS Building Services, a slightly larger company with a turnover of approximately £1million but with growth potential.  The position offered was to join as a Contracts Manager/Director designate.   After 2 years in this position, Andrew aspired to Directorship within the Company, becoming Joint Managing Director and joint owner in 2000 when the company turnover had grown to £10m and employed over 100 people.

Andrew feels his success has been built on a firm foundation of excellent training opportunities which Leeds College of Building has imparted and offered to him and the individual support and interest given to him by tutors; together with a company prepared to invest and trust in him at various stages of his study.

Andrew is a strong supporter of education and training and provides numerous opportunities for his employees at all levels in the company’s divisions, together with apprenticeship training in FE and beyond.  To help make a difference he became the youngest HVCA Chairperson for the Yorkshire region whilst at the same time undertaking the Chairperson role of the newly formed Yorkshire Regional Training Group, which continues 8 years onwards.  The desire to motivate and inspire others to achieve and progress in the industry has included award presentations to HVCA students at the HVCA Annual Dinner and his keen interest in influencing curriculum and assessment design through the Heating and Ventilation Contractors Association Education and Training Committee, of which he has been National Chairperson for the last 5 years.

Andrew, not content with his achievements to date, still feels a lot can be achieved personally but mainly for his Company personnel and the influence that he can have over future years in the interests of all Heating and Ventilation learners nationally; ensuring that individuals aspire to their full potential whilst providing whilst providing a first class quality product/ installation for clients and maintaining a high reputation for the industry as a whole.

Gok Wan came to Leicester College with no formal qualifications and low self esteem.  Initially he studied a First Diploma in Performing Arts, progressing onto a two year National Diploma in Performing Arts. His confidence grew in leaps and bounds. He was a gifted, talented and highly innovative student.

With careful nurturing he gained a place at Central School of Speech and Drama. His time with the college restored his self belief and enabled him to realise a significantly broad creative skills and knowledge base. The College empowered him to set his sights high. He stays in touch with the College and continues to return to Leicester and provide a really effective role model to the current student body.

Over the last 10 years, Gok has worked with many personalities and musicians including Bryan Ferry, All Saints, Damien Lewis, Erasure, Wet Wet Wet and Johnny Vaughan.  His work has been published internationally in several magazines, which include Tatler, Glamour, Times Style, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and The Face.

In 2006, Gok was approached by Channel 4 and asked to present his own fashion show, How to Look Good Naked.  In addition, he wrote a book to accompany the series that was published in April 2007.  A second series was commissioned and aired on Channel 4 in the early summer of 2007 and a third shown at the end of 2007.

Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys studied A levels in Science at Luton Sixth Form College from 1966-1968.  He achieved a first class honours degree in Biochemistry at Merton College, Oxford before moving onto post graduate studies and research.  He moved to Leicester University in 1977, where he developed genetic finger printing and DNA profiling.  He founded the genetics department, and remains there still.  His work has transformed scientific understanding and development.  He has received a plethoria of prestigious awards that recognises the importance of his work, including:
• Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1986 and received its Gold Award in 2004
• Knighted in 1994
• The Albert Einstein World award for Science in 1996
• The Morgan Stanley Great Briton Award in 2006

Sir Alec wrote the following about his time at the College:
‘looking back, I am enormously indebted to everyone there for the tremendous and scholarly education that they gave me’ . . ‘without the advice from the Principal then, it would never have occurred to me to apply to Oxford or that I had a chance of gaining a place there’.

Richard McCourt studied National Diploma Media at The Sheffield College, then known as Norton College, before moving on to Higher Education to continue his study of Media, and into the industry. Whilst studying at the College his skills and career ambitions were clear. Aileen Burgess, Media tutor, recalls: "Richard was a lively, enthusiastic and determined young man. He'd had some experience of media because he worked as a volunteer on the hospital radio in Sheffield. The course offered him practical skills in audio, video and print with underpinning theory. His talent was quite easily identifiable - he had a really good smile and he was quick-thinking. When he worked in radio on the course, he was very good. Often students as young as that haven't quite got the hunger but he had it, even at 16. We knew he wanted to be on TV but he clearly had a talent in radio as well." (Adapted from article in ‘The Guardian’)

Richard has supported the work of the College and has said that even though he didn’t do too well at school, he always had a very clear idea about what he wanted to do. “I pushed hard to get on to the BTEC National Diploma in Media Studies. I did well on the course and made the most of the brilliant radio and television studios at Norton College – they were really out of this world. The course I did is perfect for people wanting to get into television and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.” Richard has been generous in providing first hand advice to young people both in schools and in the College about careers in Media by returning to Sheffield to participate in VisionMix. Jointly organised by The Sheffield College and the Showroom Cinema in Sheffield, VisionMix a conference for 14-19 year olds looking for ideas on how to break into the Media industries. This year the organisers attracted some top names from the industry including; Tanya Arnold from BBC Look North, researchers from Hollyoaks and Stars in Their Eyes, and film company director Bekki Wray Rogers.

Richard will best be remembered for being one half of ‘Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow’ between 2002 And 2006, but his work has been extensive and now includes a Sunday show on Radio 1. For many children who were patients at Sheffield Children’s Hospital they will also know Richard from the eight years he spent preparing and presenting on the hospital’s television programme.

Richard has also participated in many charities to good effect including:
• Altzheimers Society
• Children in Need
• National Childrens Homes, a children's charity (European year of language) & (House on the Hill)
• Sport Relief 2004
• Red Nose day 2005
• Marie Curie (Little feet, big feat & words worth reading)
• Radio Cracker


For further information on the AoC Gold Awards, please contact:

Alice Thiagaraj
AoC Charitable Trust 

Tel: 020 7034 9900