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Aspiration Awards winners 2021

Katie Albert

Learner of the Year Katie demonstrated a true passion for working within the education sector when starting her journey at Blackpool and the Fylde College in September 2019 on the NCFE CACHE Level 2 Diploma for the Early Years Practitioner. With her strong work ethic, Katie was able to complete a maths qualification alongside the main programme, which included a weekly industry placement where she immersed herself in the role of an Early Years Practitioner. Through her hard work and determination, Katie was then able to progress onto the T Level in Education and Childcare – the government’s new flagship educational programme, providing a vocational alternative to A Levels.

Read Katie's full story


Jodie Starling

Jodie started the apprenticeship programme during the Covid-19 pandemic which for most is challenging enough, however there were several more barriers for Jodie. She found herself in a difficult situation after losing a close family member and the health of another close relative deteriorating. Instead of this discouraging Jodie, she was determined to carry on. Her tutor, Teodora Van Der Berg, explained: “Jodie is truly an exceptional learner and has shown everyone the importance of inner strength”.

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Lucas Renyard

Lucas’s excellent work ethic, enthusiasm and hunger for taking on opportunities and responsibilities, alongside his desire to help his fellow-learners, make him worthy of a nomination for ‘Learner of the Year’. However his tutors at Eastleigh College secretly nominated Lucas for the ‘Against all Odds’ category in the NCFE Aspiration Awards to reward his outstanding resilience and determination.

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Sonita Zazai

As an Afghanistan Refugee, Sonita arrived in England unable to speak the language. Sonita had previously graduated from university with a Law Degree and education was very important to her, so she decided to learn English in order to contribute to society and support her family. Sonita began her journey at Oldham Lifelong Learning Service in 2017 where she joined the Skills for Employment project. This gave her the confidence and skills she needed to get back into studying after being a stay-at-home mother, raising her young children.

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Gary Rayworth

Described by his colleagues as an “outstanding Technology teacher”, Gary Rayworth is the Curriculum Leader for Technology and Computing at Chorlton High School where he introduced and now teaches the NCFE Graphics course. Many of the learners in Gary’s classes are from disadvantaged backgrounds and some often find school challenging, however he has managed to transform his learners through passion for teaching. Gary often seeks out innovative practice through research, modifying and applying his findings to his own work. As a result, this subject then often becomes a career path for many of his learners.

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Dr Javeria Anwar

Dr Javeria Anwar is not your typical tutor. Growing up in Pakistan, Javeria achieved a degree in dentistry from Karachi University, however she became frustrated at the lack of opportunities that were available to her. In 2018 she made the brave decision to uproot her life and move to the UK. Javeria realised that her passion was in teaching and began working as a distance learning tutor at Oxbridge in September 2020. Since then, she has provided outstanding support and guidance to a range of maths and science qualifications whilst improving the confidence and results of many learners.

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Yuzu Training 

Yuzu Training were recently praised by Ofsted for their significant progress since the pandemic, continuing to provide exceptional opportunities for their learners. A key client of theirs is the Scoff’s Franchise of Costa Coffee, comprising of 95 stores. Their partnership began in 2014 and since then Yuzu Training has helped over 200 apprentices achieve their career goals. Their unique approach to collaborating the Apprenticeship Standards with Costa’s ethics enables them to provide career paths from Barista to Store Manager, gaining an understanding of sustainability and environmental awareness along the way. Yuzu Training also supports the Costa Foundation mission to fund schools in coffee growing communities, giving the opportunity to access safe, quality education.  

Read Yuzu Training’s full story