Aspiration Awards 2024: Learner of the Year highly commended (T Level) – Ella Martyn-Brierley | NCFE

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Aspiration Awards 2024: Learner of the Year highly commended (T Level) – Ella Martyn-Brierley 

Ella MB

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’s highly commended T Level Learner of the Year is Ella Martyn-Brierley, who is currently studying the T Level in Education and Early Years, focusing on the Assisting Teaching specialism, at MidKent College.  

‘She isn’t just a learner, she’s a leader’ 

Throughout the course, Ella has consistently impressed her tutors with her receptiveness to learning and her drive to develop her knowledge and skills. Ella's creativity and initiative shine through her creation of numerous resources and presentations, including an e-safety game for children to keep themselves and others safe online, and a ‘top trumps’ style resource for supporting her peers to learn about common childhood illnesses. These resources not only enhanced her own learning but also benefitted her classmates, showcasing her willingness to share and contribute to the development of others. Lisa Mulligan, Curriculum Manager at MidKent College described Ella as: “not just a learner; she’s a leader.” 

Speaking about the T Level qualification, Ella said: “I chose this course was because it gives me the opportunity to take steps towards becoming a primary school teacher. The course has allowed me to complete an industry placement at a primary school where I’ve developed my skills as a teaching assistant.  

“The T Level supports learners with different learning styles including practical work (which is one of favourites), and the content is very interesting and helps any practitioner to prepare for working with children.” 

Going the extra mile 

Ella's leadership extends beyond the classroom. As the student representative for her class, she professionally articulates her classmates’ views to senior college leaders and even represents the college externally, receiving excellent feedback. She has been a fundamental support for the education and early years department, and actively participates in college open day events, presenting to prospective learners and parents, and sharing her passion for the T Level qualification. 

For World Book Day, Ella led her peers in creating and delivering a lesson that demonstrated how to make reading engaging for young children and bring stories to life. Her confidence, calmness, and supportive nature were evident as she guided her peers and demonstrated how educators can use the power of creative props and resources to enhance storytelling. 

Making an impact in industry  

During her industry placement, Ella's enthusiasm and independence made a significant impact. She shared good practice with her peers, co-led lessons alongside experienced teachers, provided interventions for small groups of children, and even participated in staff meetings, contributing to the conversation with her knowledge of what would be assessed during Ofsted inspections. Ella has also volunteered at school events and for duties including playground and lunchtime clubs, attended trips, supported the forest school and worked with children with diverse individual and learning needs. 

The headteacher at Ella’s placement school recognised her professionalism and positive attitude, and not only did they compliment her practice but they also expressed a desire to have her join the school full-time. Her positive impact during her placement resulted in the school becoming keen to support future MidKent College learners with industry placements. This is a testament to the strong relationships Ella fostered during her time there. 

A bright future ahead 

After impressing her colleagues so much during her industry placement, Ella has secured a permanent position in this school as a teaching assistant. Described as an exceptional candidate, Ella is hugely deserving of this role. Ella commented: “I’m excited to start working as a full-time teaching assistant. In September I will also begin my studies at Canterbury Christ Church University studying childhood studies, which will help me become a primary school teacher.  

Lisa added: “Ella embodies the spirit of the Phil Collins quote, ‘In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn,’ demonstrating her exceptional dedication and passion for early childhood education. 

“We’re so proud of Ella’s achievements, and she really has done us, herself, and NCFE proud.” 

Congratulations Ella! To read more inspirational stories from this year's award winners, visit our Aspiration Awards 2024 page   


Ella is one in a million and we believe that she has exceeded expectations, has made significant progress, and has gone above and beyond to make a difference to everyone who she meets.

Lisa Mulligan, Curriculum Manager, MidKent College

The T Level in Education and Early Years has offered me a clear route both into the workplace and to pursue a university degree.

Ella Martyn-Brierley, T Level learner, MidKent College