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Aspiration Awards 2023

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Behind every success, there is aspiration

Our Aspiration Awards are about honouring the success of learners, apprentices, educators, support staff and educational organisations across the UK.  This year, our awards are extra-special, as we celebrate NCFE’s 175th anniversary.

We believe that there isn’t just one definition of success. Throughout NCFE’s 175 years in this sector, we have 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.

Whatever success looks like to you, we want your help to recognise those doing exceptional things in education.

Celebrate the winners

Firstly, a huge congratulations to everyone who was nominated this year – we loved hearing your inspiring stories! We received a record number of entries in 2023 – more than the last two years combined – so it was definitely our toughest judging year yet.

As such, we’re incredibly proud and excited to share our deserving winners with you. You can see a full list of the winners and discover their inspiring stories below!

Meet our 2023 winners

The categories

Last year we introduced two new categories to recognise apprentices and centres delivering apprenticeships, as well as support staff who work incredibly hard behind the scenes. This year, we’re excited to run these awards again and we introduced another new category to commemorate our 175th anniversary - the Alumni of the Year award. There are also subcategories in our Learner of the Year award, offering even more opportunities for recognition and to acknowledge that learning is for everyone at all stages of their lives. 

The categories of our 2023 Aspiration Awards are:

Against All Odds 

Recognises a learner who has overcome difficult personal circumstances to achieve success. 

The 175th anniversary special - Alumni of the Year  

Recognises an inspiring previous learner who has progressed and achieved great things since completing their qualification and leaving their centre.  

Apprentice of the Year 

Recognises an exceptional apprentice for their work, either within their apprenticeship workplace or in relation to their classroom-based learning. 

Centre of the Year 

Recognises a school/college/training provider that has gone above and beyond to help their learners. 

Learner of the Year 

Recognises an exceptional learner for their work, either within their qualification or in relation to a particular project related to their studies. This year we’ll be celebrating an overall Learner of the Year as well as subcategories for:  

  • Adult Learner of the Year 
  • Level 3 Learner of the Year
  • T Level Student of the Year 
  • V Cert Pupil of the Year.  
Support Staff of the Year 

Recognises a member of staff working ‘behind-the-scenes' ' who has gone above and beyond to help learners or their colleagues. This award is open to exams officers, teaching assistants, facilities, pastoral or support staff, or any other non-teaching roles within education. 

Teacher/Tutor of the Year 

Recognises a teacher or tutor who has gone above and beyond to support their learners. 

Watch our short video to find out more about this year's categories and why we love celebrating the education sector's achievements. 

Celebrate our 2022 winners

We received a huge number of amazing nominations last year and remain so proud of all the winners.

Read and watch their stories  

Aspiration Awards 2021

Read our winners’ stories  

Catch up with a previous winner 

Emma Owen won our first Learner of the Year award in 2018. Discover more about the amazing progress she's made since.  

Find out more 

Terms and conditions

Take a look at the eligibility criteria before submitting your nominations.

See terms & conditions 

2023 Judging panel

Our Aspiration Awards judges play key roles across the education sector and help to inspire exceptional work in education. We’re excited to announce this year’s judges who are now hard at work choosing winners for our awards. It’s not going to be easy!

View the juding panel