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The Corporation

Posted: 21/09/17

National recognition for former student Fahd

A Syrian refugee who left “an indelible mark” on fellow students and staff at West Nottinghamshire College has been honoured in a national competition highlighting exceptional learners from across the country.

Fahd Saleh has been highly-commended in the adult learner category of the AoC Student of the Year Awards.

Fahd Saleh, who recently studied a sports and coaching qualification at the Mansfield college, has been highly-commended in the Association of Colleges’ (AoC) Student of the Year Awards.

The awards, which attracted 115 entries nationally, celebrate ‘truly unique students’ who have overcome adversity or have used their achievements to make a positive impact on their institution or community.

Tutors nominated 32-year-old Fahd for his “inspirational” approach towards his studies and for adapting to college life so positively. He is one of only two highly-commended students in the adult learner category.

Fahd will receive a certificate from the AoC and has been invited to a reception at the House of Commons early next year.

The married father-of-two – a former professional goalkeeper in Syria, who represented the country’s national football team – enrolled on to the NVQ Level 2 in Activity Leadership at the college in September 2016 after being resettled in Mansfield with his wife and young family the previous December.

Despite struggling with the language, Fahd threw himself into his studies and became a hugely popular member of his class. He excelled on his work placement at a local school and as a coach with the college’s football academy – and successfully achieved his qualification upon completing his studies in June this year. Fahd has since gone on to work as a teaching assistant at Queen Elizabeth’s Academy, Mansfield.

Sport and coaching tutor Rachael Evans said: “Fahd has left an indelible mark on students, staff and the college community. He overcame many significant challenges to thrive on his course; inspiring everybody that knows him with his determination to make a success of his new life in Mansfield.

“Having only been in the UK for a few months before he came to college, Fahd had some difficult tests to face; not least the language barrier. However, he was keen to learn and committed to improving his English; showing himself to be a highly-motivated student.

“Fahd was an immensely popular member of the class, with fellow students benefiting not only from his footballing and coaching expertise but also from the cultural enrichment that came from him being here.

“He is fully-deserving of this national recognition and we’re really proud of him.”

A spokesperson for the AoC said: “We are pleased that Fahd has been selected as one of the highly-commended students in the adult learner of the year category. The judges were impressed with his achievements and felt this needed to be recognised.”

Fahd is no stranger to awards success, having been named ‘inspiration of the year’ at the college’s inaugural sports personality of the year awards in April, and the winner of a special recognition award at its annual celebration of achievement event in June.