Student of the Year Awards 2021-2022 - Winners
Adult Student of the Year (19+ years), sponsored by Pearson
Scott is not just a remarkable learner, but a remarkable man. At the age of 27, Scott started to lose his sight after being diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes, and was registered blind just three years later. A dairy farmer by trade, Scott was unable to continue working in the industry and not one to sit around and dwell, took the brave step to enter back into education after more than 10 years to retrain and gain new skills. Understanding the need to further develop skills, Scott enrolled on to one of Cheshire College’s ECDL IT Bridging Courses to ease him back into education. Having successfully completed his IT course, Scott has started a Level 2 Counselling course to help him achieve his new dream career of becoming a Counsellor and helping others who are experiencing sight loss due to diabetes. A kind and giving man, Scott wants to help others who are going through what he has gone through over the past five years and use his direct experience, as well as the skills he will develop on the Counselling course, to make a difference.
Dylan Westgarth - Bede Sixth Form College part of The Education Training Collective
When it comes to facing life’s challenges, Dylan Westgarth has proven there is little that can hold him back. Diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at 15, over the last four years he has faced more than his fair share of struggles. It hasn’t stopped the 20-year-old’s drive to achieve his ambitions and, in doing so, he has been an inspiration to his family, teachers and classmates. Joining Bede Sixth Form College in Billingham at 17, the public services course might not have seemed an obvious choice, particularly as Dylan was using a wheelchair at the time. But, hoping to one day join the police service, he and his tutor set him the challenge of rebuilding his strength sufficiently to tackle the college’s climbing wall, another challenge he overcame. Throughout the course, despite frequent hospital visits and treatment, his determination remained, achieving all of his goals, even when, in a high-risk category as Covid struck, he had to shield for extensive periods at home. Keen to help others, Dylan has gone on to share his own experience, speaking at the Newcastle RVI. In December 2020 Dylan finally got to ring the bell to mark the end of his treatment, he completed his studies at Bede the following summer and is now studying professional policing at CU Scarborough.
Young Student of the Year (16 to 18-years-old), sponsored by the Edge Foundation
Kizzy Wade is a Level 3 Media at Selby College. At only 17 years old, she is a keen poet and spoken word activist who focuses her writing on issues such as disability, mental health and challenges people face in society.
Kizzy lives with Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and OCD, which she admits has often made accessing the arts more difficult. However, she has not let this stop her breaking through her physical limitations to create art.She has recently completed a summer placement with the National Youth Theatre (NYT) - a world-leading youth arts organisation.In 2020, she was also nominated for a TrinityTalent Award for her achievements with spoken word, as part of her Bronze Arts Award. She has also completed her Arts Award with Collective Encounters.Kizzy has taken part in a number of poetry books to raise money for charity initiatives such as Guide Dogs and the House of Bread (HOB).Beyond poetry, Kizzy spends her time playing Powerchair Football and is currently taking part in the Football Association’s Rising Stars regional talent pathway. She is now a part of the England Under 16’s Squad and plays for her local team, Leeds Powerchair FC.
Evar Jawhar - Barnsley College
Evar arrived in this country from war-torn Kurdistan, speaking no English. Against this traumatic background and unable to locate his parents he has demonstrated relentless determination and seizes opportunities with both hands. He has a passion to learn and is committed to his College programme, completing extra work in order to progress. He openly shares his experiences with other learners and formed strong friendships. He has become a central figure in Barnsley’s Kurdish community where he supports others to learn and speak English as a language and leads fitness classes voluntarily. Evar has been presented with a certificate from the principal in recognition for his outstanding achievements. Other learners have been shocked yet humbles to hear his experiences in life so far surviving front line terrorist activity. They have the utmost respect of how he escaped with his brother and started a new life here in Barnsley. During the lockdown Evar kept his peers entertained by playing his Saz and immersing us where possible within his culture. In our first ever lesson I asked ‘What makes you happy?’ He replied ‘talking to British people and hearing their stories.’ He has accomplished so much and now as he begins his studies in Engineering with us, he is set to build on that and he plans to become an architect which I have no doubt he will reach his goal.
Bhavandeep Bains - Derby College DCG
Derby College Group (DCG) A Level student Bhavandeep (Bhavan) Bains has been the driving force behind the College’s new Student Mental Health Society (SMHS). With the support of the Students’ Union and staff from the DCG Welfare Team, Bhavan launched the SMHS to help fellow students learn and share knowledge with each and instigate conversations to breakdown the stigma around mental. The society is led by the students for the students who meet regularly to share knowledge, support each other and to work with the College welfare team to have our say on what services are available and how they are delivered. Bhavan had previously used her own experience of mental health issues, bullying and the challenges of being a young carer to help improve services for young people by getting involved in local and national research into the issue which is then discussed with health professionals. Her motivation for setting up the SMHS at College was her belief that mental health and wellbeing is different for every individual but that, during the pandemic, many young people in particularly had found it difficult to stay motivated to keep on top of college work and other challenges in life such as extreme loneliness.
Higher Education Student of the Year, sponsored by Shakespeare Martineau
Ian enrolled at University Campus Oldham in 2019 on the BA (Hons) Business and Management course. He is an exceptional example of the power of what an individual can achieve with the right attitude, self-determination and ambition in HE.Ian had an EHCP throughout his previous education but has grown beyond measure in his personal and academic confidence. He constantly engages with tutors and the wider support team to improve his work – and contributes positively to the wider student experience. His grades are consistently in the 70s/80s and he is a highly-effective Student Representative, member of the Student Engagement Group and an influential driving force in the UCO Autism Club.In 2020-21, Ian led a student team competing in the Young Enterprise Start-up competition which won the award for Digital Innovation at the North West regional finals. He was also named Young Enterprise North West Student of the Year. In previous education, Ian required additional learning support but makes almost no use of this now. He has transformed from a learner needing support to one that uses his own diversity to show others that neuro-diversity conditions do not need to be a barrier to engagement and success in HE.
Simon Wood - Redcar and Cleveland College part of The Education Training Collective
We all know, as adults returning to education is a daunting experience. Simon had the courage to apply for an Access course at the age of 50, a brave move for someone who was never of fan of school and would be the person at the back hiding away, fear of being asked questions by the teacher. Simon returned back to the classroom, a “now or never” moment in his life. At the height of COVID 19 pandemic an opportunity arose when the Therapeutic care ward at James Cook University Hospital approached the course tutor requesting if any learners wished to volunteer and provide support within a busy and demanding critical care unit, advising Health care professionals of social distancing measures, COVID procedures and regulations. Simon did not think twice about volunteering at the Hospital. In fact, he proved himself so essential after his first day on the hospital wards, he was offered a full-time contract. Simon ensured staff adhered to the implementation of PPE and patient safety, whilst also providing words of comfort and support to patients whose families could not visit them.Since that first day Simon has never looked back. That decision to return to education has changed his life.
Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by NOCN
Alisha has undergone a remarkable transformation. Alisha has grown in confidence and found her voice, revealing talent, enthusiasm and emotional intelligence - and the positive impact she has had has been significant within and well beyond our College. Wholeheartedly embracing the apprenticeship training and development she has been offered throughout Level 2 and 3, Alisha has flourished, becoming a vital and highly valued member of the team. Working remotely under the unprecedented circumstances of a global pandemic, she has nevertheless gone from strength to strength. The professional and personal support she has provided played a crucial role in the College’s seamless transition to online delivery, helping to create benefits for teachers and trainers which have naturally been passed on to learners and which have made an important contribution to wellbeing. The extent of Alisha’s personal growth is highlighted in her prominent role in a major local campaign, in her driving record-breaking results for a leading platform in the sector and, nationally, through a Department for Education film offering encouragement and inspiration to future apprentices. A year ago Alisha’s goals were modest, now she speaks up proudly, saying she would love one day to be a manager ‘or a CEO’.
Isobel Blythe - Bournemouth and Poole College
Isobel recently completed her FdSc Nursing Associate Higher Level Apprenticeship which is a programme run over two years. Isobel was part of the first cohort to undertake this qualification. Isobel is employed by Dorset Healthcare and works on the Herm Ward which is focused on adult nursing. Isobel joined the group as a mature student at 63 years of age and was understandably apprehensive about studying again, especially as an Apprentice! Isobel was hesitant about the level of study required at this point in her life but she exceeded even our expectations by achieving the highest overall grade in the group at 80.67% which is a Distinction. Isobel is a well organised and diligent student who quietly gets on with her work and is very popular with her peers. Isobel contributed to the College community by being an incredibly active and supportive member of her class group. She supported her peers in both their studies and on a pastoral level, particularly those students who spoke English as a second language. Isobel shared her years of knowledge and experience in a kind and supportive manner which allowed others in the group to learn from her. Isobel contributed to the wider community by working in a front line healthcare role throughout the pandemic. Isobel remained positive, upbeat and was an inspiring member of the group during an unprecedented and challenging time to both be working in health care and studying at the same time.