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The Corporation

Posted: 24/06/11

Leanne is one of country’s top students

A West Nottinghamshire College engineering student who scooped a regional award for her vocational talent has narrowly missed out on the national title.

Leanne Cooke, from Mansfield, was named the VQ Learner of the Year 2011 for the East Midlands earlier this month.

The 24-year-old, who works as an advanced engineering apprentice at Nottingham Express Transit (NET), was up against eight regional winners at the national ceremony, when the overall VQ Learner of the Year for England was announced. 

Although the title was won by 28-year-old Manchester man Mark Farrell, from North Lancashire Training Group, Leanne was delighted to be part of the celebrations and receive her award from John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning.

Leanne said: “I was very proud to represent the East Midlands at the national awards ceremony.  It was really interesting to hear the other students’ success stories and it was very humbling to be in the presence of these people.”

The awards ceremony, on Wednesday 22 June, was held to mark the fourth annual VQ Day – a national celebration for people who gain vocational qualifications.

Held at Westminster Kingsway College in London, it was attended by business leaders, MPs and other VIPs from the education community.  National awards were also presented to winners in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on the day.

Nearly 200 learners were nominated in total.

Leanne was nominated by her college assessor, Roger Martin, and infrastructure manager at NET, Angus Howie, for excelling in her work and studies – and being an outstanding example to other apprentices.

She studies at The Engine – the college’s Mansfield-based campus dedicated to engineering and electronics – each Monday, and secured her apprenticeship ahead of male applicants based on her ability and commitment to the industry.

Leanne combines her job with working towards an NVQ Level 2 in railway engineering, NVQ Level 3 in engineering maintenance and HNC in electrical and electronic engineering – making her the only NET apprentice to study at all three levels at the same time.