Student of the Year 2020-2021 - Winners
Higher Education Student of the Year
Jonathan Morris, Walsall College
Jonathan Morris, a student at Walsall College, has won the AoC Higher Education Student of the Year award.
Jonathan Morris has hemiplegia cerebral palsy and came to Walsall College as a shy, anxious 16-year-old who thought a media career was impossible because of his disability and lack of confidence.
Given he started his journey studying entry level skills, Jonathan’s progress to a HND is remarkable and he is now hoping to pursue a career as a filmmaker/editor.
Jonathan started a YouTube channel about disability and mental awareness covering a wide range of topics, which have been seen by more than 90,000 people.
Jonathan said his courses and the college environment motivated him to continue improving his skills, diversify into other areas of media production and broaden his knowledge.
Apprentice Student of the Year
Matthew Moir, Loughborough College
Matthew Moir a student at Loughborough College has won the AoC Apprentice Student of the Year award.
Matthew rocketed through the ranks at Little Bowden Primary School, Leicestershire, from making a massive impact as an apprentice to leading classes, working with SEND children and becoming a YouTube star during lockdown.
He made such an impact during his apprenticeship that he is now a permanent member of staff and, at the age of 19, is entrusted with helping develop the school’s approach to PE and leading PE lessons and sports clubs.
On top of his exceptional work at the school, Matt was also chosen as a joint group rep for Loughborough College’s School Sport Health and Wellbeing Apprenticeship.
Adult Student of the Year (Joint Winners)
Sam Beckett, Middlesbrough College
Sam was an ambassador for the college for showing how LBGT+ students with disabilities could achieve. He was a deaf student who started a mental health nursing degree course and showed it is possible to succeed with effort and support. He also volunteered at a day centre for the deaf for two years, helping younger children with school work and pastorally.
Scott Yarrington, Walsall College
Scott’s career in the army was cut short ten years ago when he lost his legs stepping on an improvised explosive device in northern Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Since recovering from his injuries he has become involved with charities for former veterans, competed in the Invictus Games and last year completed a level 1 award in bookkeeping with a view to training to be an accountant. Scott also volunteers twice a week at a local army cadet forces centre supporting public services students from Walsall College.
Young Student of the Year
Esha Mumtaz, Trafford College Group
Esha Mumtaz won the AoC Young Student of the Year Award for her dedication and professionalism during the height of COVID-19 last year.
She travelled two hours by bus to voluntarily work with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients at Trafford General Hospital and was offered paid employment at a care after impressing in her placement.
Esha had to overcome her shyness after arriving from Pakistan but has made a significant contribution to her college in a very short space of time. She has been a student ambassador, deputy leader of the Equalities Council and is now a student governor. She has won the student of the year award in her college two years in a row.
Esha used her new-found voice to show what can be achieved by students entering a new country and culture from overseas, how it is possible to find yourself through education and contribute to a new community by embarking on rewarding volunteer work and employment.