Aspiration Awards 2023: T Level Student of the Year – Isabel McElhatton | NCFE

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Aspiration Awards 2023: T Level Student of the Year – Isabel McElhatton

The Learner of the Year category recognises individuals who are developing themselves through vocational qualifications from NCFE and making positive improvements to their lives. This year, we wanted to celebrate more learners than ever before, so we introduced highly commended awards, including ‘T Level Student of the Year’. The winner of this commendation is Isabel McElhatton from Leeds City College 

Driven by her goal to train as a nurse since the start of her course, Isabel hasn’t wavered in her commitment. Currently working towards an overall distinction grade in a Health T Level, she’s a key member of her class and has been offered places at multiple universities to help her achieve her dream.  

Isabel has taken a similar approach to her placement on male nephrology at Leeds General Infirmary, where she’s excelled. Taking advantage of every opportunity she’s given, Isabel has quickly become a valued member of their team, working with all staff from consultants to clinical support workers on the ward.  

She’s since been offered ongoing employment by Leeds Teaching Hospitals, should she choose to pursue this route once her T Levels are complete, enabling her to follow the trainee nursing associate pathway.   

An outstanding student 

Isabel always has a positive attitude, an excellent work ethic, and has been committed to the programme since day one. While she doesn’t push to the forefront of the group, Isabel is a quiet, reliable, and motivated member of the college.  

Happy to represent the group and college whenever there’s an opportunity, Isabel has spoken with potential students, parents, employers, governors, and senior members of the hospital trust. She’s presented to large groups regarding her placement, contributed to focus groups interested in reviewing the T Level process, and spoken with Ofsted about the student experience.  

Judith Fish, Programme Manager at Leeds City College, said: “Isabel can always be relied upon to give a mature, thoughtful, and honest opinion. She’s worked consistently well across all elements of the curriculum, has a natural interest in the subject and demonstrates a clear understanding of, and empathy for, the needs of individuals. 

“As well as developing a sound knowledge and understanding of the key principles underpinning health care, Isabel can apply these consistently to her work. She’s developed positive working relationships with all her teachers and has actively sought constructive feedback to develop her academic work.”  

Employer Set Project 

Isabel’s approach to the Employer Set Project has been impressive and she’s shown resilience and determination in developing the range of skills required to complete it to an exceptionally high standard.  

Despite having an initial setback, with focus and consistent hard work Isabel has been able to put it to one side and focus on how to improve. She developed her skills in completing effective research which then improved the quality of her written work. Her communication and interpersonal skills are excellent, and she’s developed her confidence and can interact appropriately with service users, showing compassion and empathy, as well as working professionally with her peers and colleagues.  

Isabel has a quiet confidence when presenting to her class. She’s been able to develop as a reflective practitioner and grown in her own self-efficacy and awareness. This formidable set of skills enabled her to achieve an A grade for her assessment re-sit, for which she should be extremely proud.   

Outside the classroom 

Throughout her course, Isabel has continued with her part-time job –- coaching swimming locally and supporting with local sport holiday camps. She plays netball for a local team and has a love of music, having seen several high-profile bands – including queuing for a very long time to get as near to Harry Styles as possible! 

Isabel also loves to cook and had considered this as a career possibility whilst at school, however, her recent experiences have now confirmed that adult nursing is her chosen path. 

“I was so shocked to be told I had won, there are so many other students who have worked really hard on what has been a really challenging new course. I have thoroughly enjoyed my T Level experience and am so happy and proud to have been nominated and then to have won this award!” 

Cath Sezen, Interim Director of Education Policy at the Association of Colleges and a judge for this award, said: “Isabel is a great ambassador for the T Level in Health. The combination of course, work placement experience and sports coaching in her spare time give Isabel a great foundation from which to launch a career in nursing.” 

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

Isabel accepts her award

T Level Student of the Year 2023: Isabel McElhatton

Isabel is a great ambassador for the T Level in Health. The combination of course, work placement experience and sports coaching in her spare time give Isabel a great foundation from which to launch a career in nursing.

Cath Sezen Interim Director of Education Policy, Association of Colleges
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