North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College has recognised the achievements of its higher education graduates and stars from its further education community at a special celebration event.

The event, which was hosted at the Jury’s Inn hotel in Hinckley on 17 January, included a musical medley from the College’s performing arts students, and an inspirational keynote address from Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, the College’s Principal and Chief Executive, who highlighted how individual students’ stories had inspired her during the last year. Also congratulating the students and graduates was the Chair of the North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College governing body, Professor Ray Linforth, OBE.

Star students included Monika Wyka who was named Apprentice of the Year for exemplary progress and enthusiasm throughout her apprenticeship with a busy solicitor’s practice. English is not her first language, so Monika worked hard to develop her English language skills, proactively using learning resources in her own time while also managing her family as well as a second job.

James Colver picked up the award for Business and Professions Student of the Year after achieving a Level 5 Diploma in Quality Management. James overcame several personal challenges and not only achieved a Distinction grade for all his modules, his results surpassed those of all his peers, and even, on three separate occasions, every other student in the country. Since completing his studies, James gained a promotion at a global manufacturing company and is building on his experience to inspire the next generation as a STEM Ambassador.

Zoe Wakefield was named as Engineering Apprentice of the Year for her commitment to her apprenticeship in forklift truck maintenance and repair. Her tutors said that Zoe displays boundless enthusiasm and continuously achieves excellent results in her assignments and exams. Zoe is currently leading a group of apprentices who are researching and developing improved material handling equipment.

The Principal’s Prize for Student of the Year 2020 went to Nathan Castledine who has not allowed his visual impairment to spoil his dream of working with technology in computer maintenance. His tutors said that Nathan is an inspiration to everyone bringing positivity, enthusiasm and professionalism to every task he undertakes and is a role model for overcoming adversity.

In addition, around 60 graduates were presented with certificates for completing their higher education programmes, representing around 240 who successfully achieved a range of degree-level qualifications this year.

The event provided a fitting celebration for students who saw success in the national finals of the WorldSkills UK LIVE competition in 2019, putting the college in first place in England after winning five Gold medals, six Silver and three Bronze medals overall. The college was also proud to recognise students and alumni Chloe Lloyd-Hughes, Ellie Ruff and Saskia Godley who have been offered the chance to represent the UK on the world’s stage following their selection for Squad UK as part of the international WorldSkills competition in Shanghai in 2021.

The celebration event was attended by guests including the MP for Bosworth, Dr Luke Evans, the mayor and consort of Nuneaton & Bedworth, Cllr June Tandy, plus local employers and partners and governors.

Marion Plant said, “This has been a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the significant achievement of our talented students and it has been wonderful to see so many people coming together to celebrate with us. As well as recognising the achievements of our graduates, we were delighted to focus on the personal success of individuals who have been supported by their college experience to achieve their full potential.

“Our celebration marks what has been a fantastic year during which we marked the first anniversary of the MIRA Technology Institute, our state of the art training centre for automotive engineering; achieved a positive endorsement from Ofsted which judged the college to be ‘Good’ at its most recent inspection, and celebrated the success of our students in many prestigious competitions including WorldSkills.”

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Star Award Winners

Star Award Winners