Aspiration Awards 2023: Alumni of the Year – Rebecca Marson | NCFE

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Aspiration Awards 2023: Alumni of the Year – Rebecca Marson

A former student at Hopwood Hall College, Rebecca Marson, has been awarded the "Alumni of the Year" award in our 2023 Aspiration Awards. This award was introduced this year to celebrate NCFE’s 175th anniversary and recognises an inspiring previous learner who has progressed and achieved great things since completing their qualification and leaving their centre.   

Rebecca is a determined and resilient learner, who has overcome challenges to get to where she is today and is an inspiration to others in the college community who wish to follow in her footsteps.  

She said: “I have known I wanted to work with children ever since the first feeling fulfilment and pride when playing ‘teachers’ with my grandparents as a child. As I have grown from a little girl who made registers with the names of my teddy bears to a woman who has seen the influence Educational Professionals have on children and young people, first hand; empowers me to be a part of the next generation of pioneers for children and their well-being.” 

During her two years at Hopwood Hall College, Rebecca studied the NCFE CACHE Level 3 Certificate in Childcare and Education qualification. Her commitment and perseverance enabled her to achieve an outstanding A* grade. She dreamed that her next step would be the prestigious Norland College, which offers exceptional training to those aspiring to be early years practitioners.  

Rebecca was sceptical that she would receive an interview at Norland College as it attracts a huge number of applicants every year and competition is tough. Despite this, she secured a well-deserved interview spot and impressed the interviewers with her academic record and her genuine passion for the early years sector, resulting in an offer to study there.  

With support from the Emily Ward Bursary, Rebecca was able to make her dreams of studying at Norland College a reality, using this to cover some studying and living expenses, and became the first member of her family to go onto higher education.  Nervous about leaving her hometown of Rochdale but excited about beginning the next stage of her life, Rebecca moved to Bath to join the college and has been achieving amazing things throughout her time there.  

She continued: “Since starting my studies at Norland, I have felt at home. I am surrounded by like-minded individual professionals with the same passion and drive to become the best nanny you can be with your own unique ethics and morals. 

“During my two years of study at Norland, I have had incredible, life-changing placement opportunities such as Maternity Wards NICU, Special Educational Needs Schools and unique families both in Bath and London, where I get the opportunity to use the incredible knowledge I have developed and built upon during my time at Norland so far during degree lectures, masterclasses, food and nutrition lectures and sewing”  

However, she still returns to Hopwood Hall College every year to speak to current learners about her journey and the barriers she overcame to succeed. Rebecca is enthusiastic and inspires the learners to aim higher, showing them that they too can aspire to great things.

Through Rebecca’s support, two other learners from Hopwood Hall have been successful in gaining places at Norland College which is testimony to her willingness to continue to visit the college and share her story. 

Rebecca's dedication to supporting and inspiring others, makes her a deserving winner of the Alumni of the Year award. 

A spokesperson from Hopwood Hall College said: “We are so proud of Rebecca and her achievements – she is supportive of our students by coming back to give talks to them, offering to answer any queries they might have about Norland at any stage.  

"We have another student who is starting this September at Norland, and Rebecca has been really helpful in showing her around and giving advice about transitioning. It is fantastic news that Rebecca has been chosen out the many entries for this category, it is a well-deserved award to a caring, thoughtful and extremely professional alumni.” 

Dawn Newman, Aspiration Award judge and CACHE Alumni Communities Manager at NCFE, commented: “As the first in her family to go into higher education, Rebecca overcame nerves and other challenges to take up her place to study. Her nomination made it clear that Rebecca didn’t let the challenges she faced stop her from achieving and she showed real tenacity and drive to achieve a brilliant grade.

"Cementing her place as our winner, Rebecca has gone on to inspire others who might struggle to see themselves entering Higher Education and pursuing their dreams through returning to the college to talk about her own experiences, with two learners attributing their own application and entry to Norland College to Rebecca’s willingness to share her story. An entirely worthy winner. Well done, Rebecca!” 

Scott Parkin FIEP, Aspiration Award judge and Group Chief Executive at Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) said: “We extend our warmest congratulations to Rebecca Marson for being awarded the NCFE Alumni of the Year Aspiration Award. As proud members of the judging panel, we were impressed by Rebecca's outstanding perseverance and dedication in obtaining her Level 3 Childcare and Education qualification and progressing on to the Early Childhood Education Degree at Norland College.

"The IEP is all about learning and progression and Rebecca's impressive scholarship and Emily Ward bursary are a testament to her hard work and determination. Rebecca serves as an inspiration to others, sharing her story about how she has overcome her personal obstacles to succeed, serving as a role model and assisting fellow learners to aim higher, aspire for more, and achieve their full potential. We are delighted to recognise her as a deserving winner and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavours.”

Congratulations Rebecca! To read more inspirational stories from this year's award winners and recipients, visit our Aspiration Awards 2023 page. 

Rebecca accepts her award

Alumni of the Year 2023: Rebecca Marson

As the first in her family to go into higher education, Rebecca overcame nerves and other challenges to take up her place to study. Her nomination made it clear that Rebecca didn’t let the challenges she faced stop her from achieving and she showed real tenacity and drive to achieve a brilliant grade.

Dawn Newman, CACHE Alumni Communities Manager at NCFE
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