City College Brighton and Hove has been celebrating success in this year’s FE Sussex Spring Awards, with its students scooping 2 winner and 3 runner-up accolades. In this prestigious ceremony, hosted at the Brighton Hilton Metropole, major players in the training and development world in Sussex and beyond joined together to celebrate the best and brightest achievements in training, development and lifelong learning.
Plumbing student Matthew Quinney, who was named AQA Sussex College Learner of the Year, had previously struggled with his achievement and attendance at College but a dyslexia assessment enabled him to develop new strategies to help him with his English. Despite sustaining a traumatic eye injury shortly before sitting his exam, Matthew was determined to go through with it and went on to achieve a B. His tutor Jane Grealish says: “In my 20 plus years of teaching I have never had a who has been on such an emotional journey during the time I was teaching them. It was a pleasure to teach Matthew and support him to pass his English IGCSE and he’s overcome a number of barriers that could have stopped him from achieving his potential. He showed a great sense of resilience and character and is well on his way to achieving his ambition of becoming a qualified plumber.”
Ross Jennings, named Sussex Apprentice of the Year, has taken a radical change of direction to become a successful accountancy apprentice at local firm Bainbridge Lewis. Ross’s confidence was at an all-time low and he felt unfulfilled working in his father’s barbers shop while also dealing with a family bereavement. However, Ross used an apprenticeship opportunity to turn his life around and has now established himself as a highly-valued member of staff. His Accountancy tutor at City College, Paul Robbins, says: “Ross is an extremely hard-working and dedicated student and his enthusiasm for the subject and willingness to learn is obvious for all to see. He’s taken the courageous step of changing careers and this is certainly paying off for him as he’s doing exceptionally well, both at college and in the workplace.” Carol Lewis, Director of Bainbridge Lewis, adds: “We’re so proud of Ross for winning this award. It’s been great for our business having apprentices and it is wonderful to know that at the same time we are able to help the apprentices with improving their qualifications.”
Across Sussex, approximately 68,000 learners are taught in FE colleges each year and of these, just 13 receive a Spring Award and 13 are runners up. The scale of these numbers shows why achieving a Spring Award marks the recipient as a special person, and City College’s runners-up were testament to that.
Katie Bates, runner-up in the City & Guilds Sussex Learner Making the Most Progress award, is a Deaf learner who has successfully made the transition into a mainstream College environment, thrived on her Painting & Decorating course and now mentors other Deaf learners. Charlotte Aldridge, runner-up in the Outstanding Progression to Higher Education award, began a student on the College’s Prince’s Trust Team programme at a very difficult time in her life when her father was terminally ill. On Team, Charlotte realised how much she enjoyed learning new skills, gaining new experiences and building up her confidence in dealing with a variety of different people. She has since progressed onto an Access course at the College and is starting a degree at the University of Bristol in September. Harry Shooman, runner-up in the Pearson BTEC Learner of the Year award, went through the upheaval of moving to Brighton from North Wales in 2013 and showed great adaptability – he became one of the College’s leading footballers, represented Sussex, coached local schoolchildren and is now Assistant Coach at Whitehawk FC Under 18s. Harry is also employed as a Sports Coach at the College and has secured a place on a Sports Coaching & Development degree at the University of Brighton.
City College’s CEO Nick Juba says:“What makes the Spring Awards such an inspiring event is that it showcases perfectly how Further Education transforms lives. We’re incredibly proud of our winners and runners-up, and the fact that they come from such a broad range of departments says so much about the commitment and dedication of all our teaching and support staff.”
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