National education awards celebrate inspiring learners and educators
Winners of this year’s Aspiration Awards have today (12 July) been announced. Created by the leader in vocational and technical learning NCFE, the awards, now in their sixth year, honour learners, educators and organisations across the UK.
To celebrate its 175th anniversary, the educational charity has offered more opportunities for recognition than ever before, in order to acknowledge and reflect the power of learning in all aspects.
Successful individuals include a 16-year-old care worker apprentice, a volunteer for the Ambulance Service, a teacher who has played an integral role in making T Levels a success, and learners who have overcome significant adversity to continue their studies.
David Gallagher, NCFE Chief Executive, said: “There isn’t just one definition of success. Throughout NCFE’s 175 years in this sector, we’ve seen it in many shapes - from going above and beyond to exceed expectations, overcoming obstacles to achieve the unexpected, or coming up with new and innovative ways of working to help others to achieve.
“This year’s Aspiration Awards winners are examples of how individuals can overcome barriers to achieve and fulfil their potential - and how a fairer education system for all learners can only serve to empower inclusivity and choice.
“We received a record number of entries this year – more than the last two years combined – making it the toughest judging year yet. These awards are a reminder of the transformative power of education and why we’re focused on shaping smarter learning, to ensure no learner is left behind.”
Also picking up an award this year is Learning Curve Group who claimed the prestigious Centre of the Year title. They impressed the judges with their dedication to their learners’ needs, ensuring that every student receives equal opportunities and support to succeed in their studies.
The full list of categories, winners and highly commended include:
Against All Odds:
Alumni of the Year (the 175th anniversary special):
Apprentice of the Year
Centre of the Year
Learner of the Year
- Winner: Harry Disney, Loughborough College
- Highly commended: Adult Learner of the Year: Kelly Fellows-Hale, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College
- Highly commended: Level 3 Learner of the Year: Diana Wiedermann, West Lancashire College
- Highly commended: T Level Student of the Year: Isabel McElhatton, Leeds City College
- Highly commended: V Cert Pupil of the Year: Mia Reynolds, V Cert Pupil of the Year, Ullswater Community College
Support Staff of the Year
Teacher of the Year
Winner of the Learner of the Year category, Harry Disney, is a T Level Health student at Loughborough College. Described as a “hardworking individual, who gives his all to everything he does”, he has demonstrated his passion for the health sector and helping others to achieve.
Harry started volunteering with St John’s Ambulance when he was 16, regularly giving up his time to provide first aid cover for large events in and around Nottingham including football matches, marathons and music events.
His involvement with St John's Ambulance reinforced his desire to pursue a career in emergency medicine. Harry later trained as a volunteer First Responder for the Ambulance Service and is frequently first on the scene to 999 calls, reassuring the patients and making them comfortable until the paramedics arrive.
Being someone who learns best through a mixture of practical experience and academic study, Harry decided that the best route for him to become a paramedic would be with the T Level in Health qualification.
Using his volunteering experience, Harry has been able to share his knowledge and experience with his peers and is an excellent role model and mentor in practical sessions. He has led sessions in resuscitation and helped his classmates to understand practical elements of the qualification.
Harry said: “Volunteering outside of college allows me to bring the knowledge I’ve learned on the job into the classroom, where I can explain this to my friends, especially during the practical activities. This helps them gain a more rounded experience from a teacher, but also me as a student, who is out there doing the job.
“The future definitely looks bright after finishing the T Level in Health because it’s allowed me to get to the next stage of education which is, in turn, enabling me to do the career I'd like to do.”
Kate Storr, T Level Coordinator at Loughborough College, commented on Harry’s nomination and win: “Harry sprang to mind immediately because of the amount of work he does and the dedication he shows. He’s always had a goal in mind, and he’s gone for it.”
David Gallagher, NCFE Chief Executive, added: “Harry is a remarkable learner who has given up so much of his time to support the local community. It was inspiring to hear how he has supported his peers with practical elements of the T Level, and that this qualification is helping him to reach the next step in his emergency services career. NCFE is delighted to present Harry with this award.”
For more information about the Aspiration Awards and to see full case studies of each winner, visit our dedicated Aspiration Awards 2023 homepage.
Watch Harry Disney receive his Learner of the Year Aspiration Award for 2023
Christopher Ademola receives his Apprentice of the Year 2023 Aspiration Award
Gabriella Fox, our Against All Odds Aspiration Award 2023 winner
Our Teacher of the Year is Lucy Sharp, Education and Early Years T Level Coordinator and teacher at Derby College, who has worked extremely hard to deliver the new Education and Early Years T Level.
Our Centre of the Year winner is Learning Curve Group, who impressed the judges with their dedication to their learners’ needs, ensuring that every learner receives equal opportunities.
Rebecca Marson, a former student at Hopwood Hall College, has been awarded the Alumni of the Year award – one which was introduced this year to celebrate NCFE’s 175th anniversary.