Aspiration Awards Winners 2023 | NCFE | NCFE

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Aspiration Awards 2023: the winners

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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!

Christopher Ademola – Apprentice of the Year winner 

Christopher is a 16-year-old Adult Care Worker Level 2 apprentice studying through Salford City College. His exceptional skills and behaviours are helping to improve the lives of those he cares for, and he has dreams to build a career in Occupational Therapy.  

“I’ve got big plans. To me, there's nothing more satisfying or rewarding than helping people to regain or maintain their ability to perform an activity. It’s liberating and it’s life changing.” – Christopher Ademola 

Watch the moment that Christopher found out he’d won Apprentice of the Year here, or you can read Christopher’s story instead.

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Gabriella Fox – Against All Odds winner

Designed to recognise learners who have overcome difficult personal circumstances in order to succeed in their studies, the Against All Odds award is very special and always attracts a huge volume of nominations. This year’s winner is Gabriella Fox, an incredibly inspiring individual who is completing NCFE’s Level 2 Creative Craft (Cookery) qualification remotely through Technology Triumphs.   

“The way I think about taking on new challenges is to just give everything a go and see what happens! I don’t let anything stop me.” – Gabriella Fox

Watch this video to learn more about Gabriella’s inspiring story, or you can read more about Gabriella and how she has overcome adversity below.

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Harry Disney – Learner of the Year winner

Harry Disney is currently studying for the T Level in Health at Loughborough College. Described as a “hardworking individual who gives his all to everything he does”, Harry has demonstrated his passion for the health sector and helping others to achieve. By volunteering with St John’s Ambulance and working as a First Responder for the Ambulance Service, Harry is making impressive strides towards building a successful career in emergency services.

“Harry sprung to mind immediately for this award because of the amount of work he does and his dedication. He’s always had a goal in mind, and he’s gone for it!” – Kate Storr, T Level Coordinator at Loughborough College

Hear Harry explain his experience of volunteering and studying for a T Level in this video, or you can read Harry’s inspirational story below.

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Amy Yorke – Support Staff of the Year winner

With a rich background in health and social care and an understanding of the challenges that the sector faces, Amy works closely with local health and social care employers, universities and wider stakeholders to ensure that Warrington & Vale Royal College is supporting the local sector and meeting local skills needs.

Read Amy's story

Cerys Ventre – Against All Odds highly commended

Cerys is a remarkable learner who has overcome immense personal difficulties to pursue her dream of a career in adult social care. In fact, her decision to study the Level 1 Award in Preparing to Work in Adult Social Care qualification at New College Durham was a choice that Cerys made following her desire to “give something back” after her own personal experience.

Read Cerys’ story

Diana Wiedermann – Level 3 Learner of the Year (highly commended in the Learner of the Year category)

Diana joined West Lancashire College in September 2021 and is on track to achieve a Distinction* in NCFE’s Level 3 Extended Diploma for Entry to the Uniformed Services. A natural leader, collaborative classmate and keen volunteer, Diana has gone above and beyond to achieve her own goals and help others along the way, making her a deserving winner of this award.  

Read Diana’s story

Isabel McElhatton – T Level Student of the Year (highly commended in the Learner of the Year category)

Driven by her goal to train as a nurse since the start of her course, Isabel hasn’t wavered in her commitment. Currently working towards an overall Distinction grade in the T Level in Health at Leeds City College, she’s a key member of her class and has been offered places at university to help her achieve her dream.  

Read Isabel’s story

Learning Curve Group – Centre of the Year winner

Learning Curve Group is a national training and education specialist who works with further education providers, employers and learners to help them achieve success. They support over 200,000 learners each year, working with over 4,500 employers, including local authorities, micro-businesses, and levy-paying organisations. They impressed the judges with their dedication to their learners’ needs, ensuring that every student receives equal opportunities and the support to succeed in their studies. 

“We’re dedicated to providing individuals with high-quality training, so opportunities are available to people from all walks of life.” – Learning Curve Group

Read their story

Lucy Sharp – Teacher of the Year winner

This year’s winner is Lucy Sharp, Education and Early Years T Level Coordinator and teacher at Derby College. Working extremely hard over the last two years to develop the new Education and Early Years T Level, Lucy has played an integral role in ensuring students received the best quality education and can achieve to the highest of their ability.  

Read Lucy’s story

Mia Reynolds – V Cert Pupil of the Year (highly commended in the Learner of the Year category)

An empathetic pupil studying our Level 2 Technical Award in Health and Social Care, Mia is able to see the world from other students’ perspectives and develops compassion for others. In the words of the Head of Child Studies at Ullswater Community College, Emma McCormick: “Working in health and social care requires a special kind of person. Mia undoubtedly applies the 6 Cs of health and social care practice to her Year 11 studies, and to her life!” 

Read Mia’s story

Rebecca Marson – Alumni of the Year winner

A former Childcare and Education student at Hopwood Hall College and now training to be a Norland Nanny, Rebecca Marson has been awarded the "Alumni of the Year" award. This award was introduced this year in celebration of NCFE’s 175th anniversary. Rebecca is a determined and resilient learner, who has overcome challenges to get to where she is today and is an inspiration to others in the college community who wish to follow in her footsteps.

Read Rebecca’s story

Kelly Fellows-Hale – Adult Learner of the Year (highly commended in the Learner of the Year category)

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, we wanted to celebrate more learners than ever before, so we introduced highly commended awards, including ‘Adult Learner of the Year’. The winner of this commendation is Kelly Fellows–Hale from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College. Kelly has completed 8 courses in total, including a number from NCFE in mental health awareness, cyber security and understanding adverse life experiences.