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The Corporation

Posted: 20/12/18

College celebrates awards hat-trick

West Nottinghamshire College has toasted a hat-trick of success in this year’s Nottingham Post Education Awards – an annual celebration of inspirational students and staff from across the county.

  • Dean Joyce (left) receives the Further Education Award from Tom Dick of category sponsor Nottingham College.
  • Gez Ruggiero (left) and Jon Hall from the college’s media and music team collect the prestigious Editor’s Award.
  • Safeguarding manager Rebecca Broomhead was a proud finalist in the Support Staff of the Year category.

Hosted by Dino and Pete from the Capital East Midlands Breakfast Show, the glittering awards – held at Crowne Plaza Nottingham on Thursday 13 December – commended the achievements of stand-out students and staff who have gone the extra mile in teaching and supporting them, across 11 categories.

One-time apprentice and current higher education student Dean Joyce won the Further Education Award for completing his three-year business improvement techniques apprenticeship under extremely challenging circumstances.

Dean was nominated by his then business and management tutor Adela Brookes for being an “outstanding learner who has worked exceptionally hard, despite all the odds stacked against him”. The 22-year-old successfully combined his apprenticeship training at a Derbyshire-based employer with supporting his mother, who has fought cancer, and his younger brother at home, as well as managing a gruelling daily commute to work.

He is now studying Access to HE Sciences at the college’s Vision University Centre and is applying to study bio-chemistry, either at the University of Nottingham or Nottingham Trent University, with ambitions of becoming a science teacher or working in the pharmaceutical or pharmacology industries.

Dean said: “I didn’t really think I was going to win if I’m honest, because I was up against deserving people from another college, so I thought the chances were against me. When my name was read out as the winner all the guests on my table, who I’d met and introduced myself to, started cheering and clapping. I was just in shock!

“My mum and brother are absolutely ecstatic for me, as it Adela. I couldn’t have done it without her. Having this on my CV will look great for university applications.

“The award really reflects the journey I’ve been on. I’ve put in a lot of effort and hard work to get to where I am, and now it’s starting to show. Before, the hard times would get me down, but things are looking up now, with the prospect of going to university. I’m thrilled.”

The college’s media and music team – part of the school of creative, lifestyle and digital industries – was one of the evening’s main winners; picking up the prestigious Editor’s Award in recognition of their innovative approach to teaching and learning.

Represented on the night by media tutor Jon Hall and learning advisor Gez Ruggiero, the accolade was presented by Post editor Mike Sassi, who hand-picked the team for top honours following a nomination from curriculum manager Steve Gathercole for the way tutors blend “a creative industry with a creative education.” Guests heard that the team had supported a number of successful students to achieve dream careers as film crew operatives, musicians, graphic illustrators, VFX artists and more.

Mr Hall said: “It was an honour to collect the award on behalf of the team. It was perhaps even more prestigious than we’d originally appreciated, with lots of really kind words spoken by the editor before we walked up to the stage to lots of applause, which was very humbling.

“Placing the vocation at the heart of education is what we’ve been working towards for a long time; making sure all our project briefs are live; that we embed working with clients in everything we do; and building students that are able to go out to work or go to university, so that they’re educationally and vocationally equipped to deal with what’s happening in the world of work.

“This award will give students confidence that they’re being taught in an area that has been externally-recognised. Although it won’t really change how we do things, we can now say to students that our model of education – the way that we think education should work – is recognised as being really successful.”

Meanwhile, safeguarding manager Rebecca Broomhead was a finalist and runner-up in the Support Staff of the Year category. She was put forward by her colleagues, safeguarding officers Cora Bennett and Rebecca Smith, for her “phenomenal” contribution to safeguarding across the college and the “the impact she has had on the lives, welfare and happiness of so many students.”

Rebecca said: “I was overwhelmed when I found out I’d been nominated because I wasn’t expecting it. To be amongst the final three in the category and invited to the awards evening was just brilliant.

“The evening was lovely and it was great to see the whole wide range of award-winners, including a lot of young people. It was really nice to share that enjoyment for others.

“I’m very lucky to work with such a dedicated team. The way they feel about the safeguarding role and about helping others mirrors how I feel – and that’s why, together, we make a difference.”

Mike Sassi, editor of the Nottingham Post, said: “This year’s competition has once again been incredibly uplifting, with so many nominations from schools and colleges all across Nottinghamshire.

“It makes me feel incredibly proud and humbled to have been able to hear about so many superb young people and charismatic staff members doing incredible work every day. Well done to everyone who was put forward this year – you’re a credit to our education system.”