College awards celebration

ACHIEVEMENTS, progress and contribution to college life of more than 50 students were celebrated at Great Yarmouth College.

The Further Education (FE) Awards, mostly sponsored by local employers, were presented to students who shone during the last college year.

Categories included Students of the Year, Most Improved Student, Personal Achievement and Contribution to College Life across the college’s 500 programmes presented in front of family, friends, governors, the Mayor and Mayoress, Michael and Paula Jeal, and college staff.

The winners represented students from all walks of life, backgrounds and ages. Some had left school with no qualifications, were disillusioned with education, and had overcome challenges and personal difficulties in their everyday lives to thrive.

Others, who joined the college at entry level, had progressed through further education programmes and had now started to study at degree level- something they would never have dreamed of when they joined the college.

Sophie Teasdale enrolled at the college three years ago on a First Diploma in art and design, and progressed on to the BTEC National Diploma in Fashion and Textiles where she gained distinctions and an outstanding end-of-year catwalk collection.

She is now studying for a foundation degree at UCS Great Yarmouth.

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TerryLee Lemon, winner of the Autism Anglia Award, struggled in a school environment but adapted to college with superb attendance and commitment.

Tutors from each subject area nominated students they believed deserved recognition and a cash prize for their work on programmes last year.

In her address, vice principal Julia Howard said: “We are here to celebrate achievement in its widest sense, not only for those students who have excelled academically, but those who have overcome difficulties to succeed and contributed to the college community.

“I use the world community because that is what we are – more than 5000 students choose to study at the college representing the diversity of the community of Great Yarmouth.

“We sometimes hear negative things about young people in the media – about qualifications becoming too easy

“But I am sure you will agree that every one of our award winners here tonight has worked hard to achieve everything they have achieved.”

The college’s purpose was to equip its students with the aspiration, knowledge, skills and experience for their careers and support them as active citizens, she said.

“We face uncertain times ahead in the economy, job market and further Government spending cuts, and we see further education as more important than ever to provide young people with the skills employers want and more importantly supply employers with the skills they want.”

Many of the FE students had progressed on to higher education courses – foundation degrees and full degrees – at UCS Great Yarmouth on the college campus which provided a “real alternative choice to study locally” she said.

Some were becoming young entrepreneurs, encouraged by the growing culture of enterprise within the college and setting up their own businesses and becoming self-employed with the help of the Alchemy Centre, the enterprise education centre.

Great Yarmouth College Open Day will be on Saturday, November 13, between 10am and 2pm.

A special higher education open day for UCS Great Yarmouth will be on November 16 between 10am and 8pm.