Two individuals from West Nottinghamshire College will celebrate in style at the end of this month as they feature as finalists in the British Education Awards 2019.
Former hairdressing student Karen Albrighton and computer science student Jack Wood have been shortlisted in the vocational and special achievement categories respectively in recognition of their accomplishments and extra-curricular success, and will attend at glittering awards night at The Hilton Hotel in Manchester on Thursday 31 January.
Student-turned-staff member Karen was nominated by curriculum manager Sarah Morley for excelling in her hairdressing studies. The mature learner joined college after leaving her thirty year career as a higher executive officer in the civil service, in order to pursue her ambitions. She immersed herself wholeheartedly in her studies on the Level 2 Diploma in Hairdressing, which she passed with the highest grade, before progressing on to the Level 3 Diploma, again achieving the highest possible grade of Distinction star.
Karen, 54, achieved 100% attendance in both academic years, and also managed to achieve over 114 hours of volunteering which included mentoring lower-level learners with Maths and English, supporting under-confident students with academic and practical hairdressing skills and working in the college’s commercial salon as a stylist on Saturdays.
As a student Karen made the final of the Francesco Group Spotlight cut and colour competition and also reached this year’s World skills UK final at Birmingham NEC, being placed in the top six.
Karen, who lives in South Normanton, now works as a stylist in the Revive commercial salon.
Sarah said: “Karen soaks up everything she’s been taught and is so passionate about refining her art and skills. She’s an amazing communicator – a ‘must’ in this business, and all of her tutors and peers are so very proud of all her achievements.”
Karen said: “I was really stunned to discover I was in the finals at these prestigious awards. It’s an absolute honour. I believe it’s proof that if you put your mind to something and give it all your efforts, you’ll eventually see the rewards.”
IT student Jack, 20, was put forward by computer science curriculum manager Trudi Dean for being a simply outstanding learner, despite having a range of issues to contend with.
Jack, from Pleasley, is a high-needs learner who has been diagnosed with Autistic spectrum Disorder, Tourette’s syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder. He didn’t access mainstream education until the age of eight.
Since joining college in 2015, Jack has really flourished – gaining various computer science qualifications and developing his IT technician skills beyond expectation. He achieved distinction star on his Level 2 Diploma in IT (System Support), double distinction star on the Level 3 Diploma, and triple distinction star on the Level 3 Extended Diploma.
Last year, Jack dedicated over 210 hours volunteering with the college’s IT technicians and impressed everyone so much with his technical skills and customer service that he was offered a paid role during the holidays.
This year Jack commenced a Higher Education course at West Notts – a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Computing – which is something his family once never believed possible, due to his difficulties.
Jack said: “I am so pleased to know that I’ve got this far and have been recognised in this way. I’m looking forward to going to the awards night in Manchester with my parents and aunty.
“I’ve got so much from my HNC and I’m feeling very confident that after my studies I’ll be well-equipped for the jobs market.”
Trudi said: “Jack has always been encouraged to not let his diagnoses define him. Tutors have always had high aspirations for him; however Jack’s aspirations for himself and his determination to succeed often far outweigh ours now.”