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Celebrating student success

09 July 2021 | College News

When you work in education, nothing gives you greater joy than celebrating your students’ successes: and after what has been an incredibly difficult year for us all, it gives us tremendous pleasure to share with you these stories of outstanding resilience and unwavering determination.

City College initially approached the prospect of the lifting of all restrictions with great optimism. Determined to give these students the celebration they deserved, staff had planned for an awards evening that would have included fine food, speeches, and the chance for our winners to share their achievements with their loved ones and lecturers. 

However, after sending out the invitations, finalising the menus and ordering the awards, rising COVID-19 cases and the Government announcing the delay to the final stage of its roadmap meant the College had no choice but to cancel the event. 

But after such a difficult time in all of our lives, we still want to share with you these incredible stories, along with the speeches that had been written about the winners.

All of the winners thoroughly deserve their prizes – which include a trophy, certificate and Love2Shop vouchers – and the quality of the entries made it difficult for Principal and Chief Executive Jackie Grubb to select an overall winner. After much deliberation, Jackie chose Ryland Lockett as the winner of the Principal’s Choice Award.  

Please note we are still arranging times for winners to collect their prizes and they will be added to this piece in the near future. 

Ryland Lockett – Science Student of the Year and winner of the Principal’s Choice Award

Ryland was nominated for Science Student of the Year, and the progress he has made since starting at the College caught the attention of Jackie, and he was named the winner of the Principal’s Choice Award. 

In his lecturer’s own words: “I am nominating Ryland for this award as he is, by some distance, the stand out student of the year in science. Ryland has demonstrated his ability as an active member of the College community and is highly committed to making both his experience, and that of his colleagues, better. 

“I also say this as Ryland has demonstrated an incredible “distance travelled” since his enrolment. Ryland joined us in September 2019 after a very difficult educational history, moving between schools and training providers without ever finding a place where he fitted in well.

“Ryland admitted how he struggled with learning – particularly with written work – how he would let other issues affect his progress, and it was quite clear he had no confidence in his own ability.

“However, over the past 18 months, Ryland has grown in character, confidence and attitude. He has developed skills to ensure that his assignment work is of an outstanding nature and is well on track to attaining distinction grades in all of his units whilst maintaining a healthier balance in life. 

“Ryland also passed GCSE Maths in November after overcoming what he called his own demons with this subject. 

“But, perhaps most importantly, Ryland has found himself accepted into the College community and he has become a key supporter of his peers, providing them with a positive outlook and motivation to succeed along with him. Ryland has thrived and now has the skills and resilience to succeed in his progression to university in September.” 

The College fully believes others will be inspired by Ryland’s story, and the staff will miss his fresh and positive outlook on the world. The College wishes him the best of luck with his next steps. 

Nyah Silvester – Business Student of the Year

The winner of the business award is described as tenacious and hard working, and is already showing signs of becoming a shining star of the business world. 

Despite living in Torquay, Nyah is always on time for lectures, and her conscientious attitude towards her studies has a fantastic influence on her peers who all love having the opportunity to work with her. 

She has made great contributions to the Christmas group enterprise project, working well with others, again, in the confines and limits of COVID but yet professionally and always with a smile.  Her effort enabled the group to raise over £100 for the College’s charity this year!

Nyah has also developed her own family enterprise, which links to their love of banger racing! She has made such a tremendous start and we are sure we will be hearing of Nyah’s successes long after her time here at City College. 

Ben Beaton – Hospitality and Catering Student of the Year

Ben was nominated for this award because of his sheer determination to learn. He hasn’t always found the theory easy, but he is always enthusiastic to expand his knowledge and he will keep trying until he gets something showing great resilience, which is a vital quality for this sector. 

He is extremely helpful and diligent, and you can guarantee he will be the first in the kitchen; he should be very proud with everything he has achieved and of the fantastic progress he has made. 

Ben’s lecturers have watched him flourish as he progressed through the different levels of study and they have been so pleased to see how his confidence has grown. Being able to watch someone on a learning journey such as Ben’s is the reason our staff become teachers, and they are certain he will continue to develop his skills and knowledge in the future before going on to enjoy a great career. 

James Bickell – Skills Development Student of the Year

This award is always incredibly difficult to pick a winner for as all of the students within our Skills Development department have overcome challenges that most of us take for granted. It is always very difficult to single out just one individual, but this year’s Skills Development Student of the Year Awards goes to James Bickell.

James has approached a difficult year with a positive attitude and commitment to his course, his learning and to his future progress and development. He has shown resilience and adaptability in understanding why his external internship work placements could not go ahead until very recently and has remained positive throughout. His positive nature influences his peers and at many times has kept spirits high within his group.

His lecturers have seen a real growth in James’ confidence, self-esteem and maturity from last year and this is reflective in James now starting to voice his opinions more confidently with his peer group. 

James is a popular member of his group and has always tried to support his peers, and thanks to his new found confidence, James has recently set up his own business at the Pannier Market with some support from his family, as well as showing excellent commitment to his internship and other college studies. 

He is a real go-getter and his lecturers wouldn’t be surprised to see him taking on Alan Sugar in The Apprentice. 

James is hoping to join Project Search in September and his lecturers wish him luck with his application.  

Matt Getson – Sport, Public Services, and Travel and Tourism Student of the Year Award

Matt Getson is an ambitious, positive and conscientious individual who shows he is developing the skills needed for his chosen sector. During lockdown, rather than complaining about being bored or not having a great deal to do, Matt saw it as an opportunity to set up his own online business and now offering aerial photography services using his drone. 

That is the type of entrepreneurial spirit that is needed to thrive in the travel and tourism industry, and Matt has demonstrated fantastic commercial awareness and employability skills to push ahead with such a project at a time when many of us were glued to Netflix. 

His attitude towards his learning shows a true passion for this sector. His contribution to class discussions is always highly valued, and the rest of the group can’t help but also feel enthused for a particular project thanks to his upbeat and positive outlook. 

His lecturers are delighted that Matt is planning to spend another year at City College and the College community look forward to seeing him return in September. 

Mobina Shahi – English and Maths Student of the Year

English, maths and ESOL are huge areas for the College, and our lecturers meet hundreds of full and part-time students each year, all keen to gain or improve their English and maths qualifications. 

Due to the quality of the entries this year, it took the team a little while to select a winner, but this young woman has been chosen as she is a fantastic role model to others due to her hard work and determination. 

Originally from Iran, Mobina Shahi has aspirations to study engineering at university. Mobina is a popular student throughout the English, maths and ESOL departments, and lecturers regularly talk about outstanding efforts. Since she joined us in 2019, Mobina has progressed from an entry level course and has quickly and conscientiously gained the qualifications she needs to now complete and Access to Higher Education to Diploma.

Her desire to improve her skills and extend her knowledge is evident by the amount of independent study she does, and her lecturers have no doubt that Mobina will achieve her ambitions and go on to enjoy a very successful career.

Alex Davey – Access to Higher Education Student of the Year

The winner of this award is described as a “force for positivity and support”.

Alex joined the College this year with the desire of going to university to study mental health nursing. The way he supports his colleagues and the fantastic work he has done as a student representative go to show he is the perfect person for such a career. 

In addition to his Access to Health and Social Care diploma, this student has also resat his English and maths GCSEs. His workload has been immense this past year and, on top of all of this, he is also raising a family and has very recently welcomed a new baby boy. 

If someone is having a bad day, Alex is their shoulder to cry on.  If someone needs support with their studies, Alex is always first to volunteer to help them – and if he can’t, he will make sure they know who to turn to.

Access to HE was invented for someone like Alex who will go on to do such valuable things for the wider community. He is a fantastic example of why access to lifelong learning is so vital.

The College doesn’t need to wish Alex luck with his future studies as his lecturers already know he will be a success; however, the College would like him to know just how much he will be missed.

Shareen Devey – Performing Arts, Dance, Music and Live Events Student of the Year

This award encompasses performing arts, music, dance and live events, and there are always a lot of entries.  This year’s winner – and we hope she doesn’t mind us using these words – is seen as a mother figure by the rest of her cohort. 

Shareen – or Shaz as she prefers – returned to college at the age of 26 to gain a level 3 diploma in performing and production arts, and she is adored by all of her coursemates and the staff. 

You never see Shaz without a smile on her face; she remembers everyone’s birthdays; she always gives 100 percent; and simply being with Shaz is enough to make you want to try that little bit harder. 

She leads by example and she has excelled in both her theory and practical work. Shaz has always gone above and beyond and engages with as many of the extra-curricular opportunities that the College can offer her. Shaz is going to be a huge success in her future career as she has all the attributes and qualities required, and staff are thrilled that she intends to return in September.

A huge congratulations to Shareen, who fully deserves this recognition.

Becky Pearce – Media, Computing and Games Development Student of the Year

The winner of this award is a student who has been connected to the College for a little while now and staff are delighted she will be with us for another year. 

Becky has just completed a Foundation Degree in Film Production, and her tutor’s main reason for this nomination is the sheer number of hours that Becky spent supporting her coursemates during the pandemic. 

It has been an incredibly tough time for a lot of our students, but even if Becky herself was struggling, she would always put that aside if someone else needed help or support: whether that was help with their work, emotional support or just taking the time to make someone else smile. 

Becky participates in One20 Digital projects and in doing so she has become a valued member of the team. It’s never too much trouble to help other students across all levels, and her own work is outstanding. 

Becky deserves to be recognised for her supportive nature and kindness during unprecedented times and, even though she has experienced her own difficulties, she consistently brings such positive energy to her immediate colleagues, the One 20 Digital team and the College community as a whole. 

The media department looks forward to seeing Becky’s work next year.

Joe Scholes – Pre-employment Programme Student of the Year 

The pandemic has been an incredibly challenging time for everyone, but even more so for teenagers – especially for teenagers like Joe who suffer from an eating disorder. 

Joe’s usual exercise routine was severely affected by the lockdown and in an attempt to get fitter, he began counting calories. This method of trying to stay fit eventually turned into a serious problem for Joe, who was diagnosed with anorexia 

Both his physical and mental health suffered, but this didn’t ever affect his studies. From day one, Joe has been fully engaged with the programme and he’s shown that he is a natural leader. 

The easing of lockdown restrictions and his return to onsite teaching allowed Joe to flourish further, and not only did he continue to demonstrate an excellent attitude to the programme, but he wanted to do something to help other men and boys experiencing similar health problems. He has since designed a leaflet around mental health and eating disorders in males which is being sent to youth organisations in and around Plymouth, as well as being displayed at Picquet Barracks.

Despite his battles, he has pushed himself and is looking forward to studying public services at the College with the hope of joining the police force. 

Joe is a real inspiration to others in his group and is a great motivator and supporter for all on his Prince’s Trust team. 

He thoroughly deserves this award and the College is certain he will continue to be such a positive role model in the future. 

Cleo Stott – Automotive Engineering Student of the Year

This year’s winner has excelled in her studies and demonstrated an exemplary attitude throughout the year. 

Despite living quite some distance from the College, Cleo has perfect attendance, and her outstanding marks are the result of remarkable focus and a determination to succeed. 

In addition to her Diploma in Motorcycle Maintenance, Cleo also resat her GCSE maths towards the start of the academic year and her efforts towards this also paid off and she improved her result by two grades. 

Cleo has a passion for motorbikes, in particular racing, and she has been training as a competitive rider for the past year, but her true passion is for helping others. She has always been very supportive of her coursemates and will do what she can to assist their learning. 

She has grown in confidence greatly this past year and she is very much at home in the workshop. She has a fantastic eye for detail and takes pride in the presentation of her work. Cleo is the type of student every lecturer wishes they had the pleasure to teach. 

The automotive lecturers all wish to thank Cleo for being such a dedicated student and member of the College community. 

Amelia Bulley – Engineering and Manufacturing Student of the Year

Amelia’s excellent work ethic means she will be a fantastic asset to Babcock when she starts full-time. She gets on well with her peers and her managers, and we believe Amelia is a fantastic role model for encouraging more women and girls to consider a career in this sector. 

Amelia’s work is always of exceptional quality. Her approach to her studies and her maturity to accept and seek feedback is one of the many reasons for her success. 

Lecturers particularly enjoy having Amelia in their sessions as she is a very conscientious and pleasant young woman. 

All at City College look forward to following Amelia’s career as she continues to progress in industry.

Ashley Burton – Building Services Student of the Year

This next award is for Building Services Student of the Year, and this year’s winner is training to be a plumber. 

Ashley has demonstrated great ability and commitment this past year. He has glowing references from his employer, lecturers and his Apprenticeship assessor, who summed up Ashley by calling him an A+ student. 

His employer says he is a highly valued and well-liked member of the team, and he is also very popular with customers. He goes above and beyond in his work and is always willing to go that extra mile to provide quality customer service. 

He has made excellent progress with his Apprenticeship and is on course to finish with high marks in all areas. When in College for his off-the-job training, he is brilliant to have around as his attitude is always exemplary, and he always asks engaging and thoughtful questions, which contributes to a brilliant learning environment. 

Ashley shows true potential as a plumber and will be an asset to any team he joins. He has potential to do very well in the business, but the College would also welcome him here as a lecturer one day, as his infectious enthusiasm for his industry would be perfect for inspiring future students. 

Well done Ashley on winning this award – it is thoroughly deserved. 

Ethan Templeton – Marine Industries Student of the Year

The winner of this award isn’t shy when it comes to taking centre stage, having been the College’s official student representative for Sir Kier Starmer’s visit back in April. 

He was a superb representative for both the College and Babcock when he was tasked with speaking to the leader of the opposition about his Apprenticeships, the training he receives at the College, but his enthusiasm was most apparent when talking about the new Oceansgate facility. Ethan’s willingness to take on such an important role was simply driven by his desire to help and to share his passion for his industry.

Ethan is an astute student who has engaged well with both online learning and his practical aspects throughout his training. Over this past year, Ethan has performed well in both theoretical and practical assessments with excellent grades across the board and is currently on track to achieve a distinction in his HNC.

He is the definition of a model student, and it is always such a pleasure to teach someone with passion such as Ethan’s. He is very intelligent, and always willing to learn, and he promotes learning in the class with insightful contributions and questions. Ethan is always first to volunteer to help students who are finding something difficult, and he shows great promise either in industry or even as a lecturer himself. 

Ethan has had a very successful year, but that comes as no surprise as he has been an outstanding student throughout his time at the College. 

More award-winners to come – please check back soon!

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