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Learner of the Year – Katie Albert (Blackpool and the Fylde College) 

The ‘Learner of the Year’ category in our Aspiration Awards honours learners who are developing themselves through vocational qualifications from NCFE, making positive improvements to their lives. This year’s winner was Katie Albert, who is currently studying the T Level in Education and Childcare at Blackpool and the Fylde College.   

A passion for the education sector  

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.   

Attending a roundtable with the Secretary of State for Education 

Whilst continuing her studies and placements, Katie has been achieving exceptionally high grades and her industry placement reports have been equally as impressive. Katie has shown her strong support for the T Level programme; she even had the opportunity to discuss the programme with Rt. Hon. Gavin Williamson CBE MP at a small roundtable event, and has also had meetings with Ofsted inspectors. By volunteering to become a Department for Education (DfE) T Level Ambassador, Katie’s vast experiences are now helping to shape future practice.   

Making a difference - supporting the causes that matter 

At Blackpool and the Fylde College, Katie has taken on the role of Student Rep where she has been working with her peers and the college in its mission to deliver exceptional technical education. Katie also took the lead role in the departmental ‘anti-bulling’ campaign where she encouraged her peers to wear odd socks in demonstration of anti-bulling. With the success of the initial campaign, it expanded to run across the entire college. In addition, Katie has also been an active participant in International Women's Day events to support the local community, helping to empower her female peers by raising concerns for women.  

Anna Turner, Katie’s tutor nominated her for the award. She said: “Katie is well deserving of this nomination; she is a credit to herself, Blackpool and the Fylde College, and the emerging workforce within the primary education sector”.  

Outstanding work ethic 

Alongside Katie’s studies and extracurricular activities, she also took up a part time job to help support her when facing economic difficulties at home. This further demonstrates Katie’s outstanding determination, as Anna adds; “This demonstrates an excellent work ethic and resilience to achieve her goals. She always thrives on her academic challenges and desire to highlight civic recognition of the early years and education sector.”  

Looking ahead to the future, Katie is planning on going to university to carry on her studies. “The T Level has helped me make this decision as I have had the opportunity to work on a placement and understand the working environment.”