2021 Aspiration Awards winners | NCFE | NCFE

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Aspiration Awards: 2021 winners 

Our Aspiration Awards recognise and reward those who are going above and beyond in education. 

Congratulations to all our 2021 winners! Here you can read their stories to understand why they’ve been recognised for their exceptional work this year. 

Black and white selfie of a young female learner

Katie Albert - Learner of the Year

Katie, our Learner of the Year, demonstrated a true passion for working within the education sector when she started 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

Head shot of a female health and social care learner

Jodie Starling - Learner of the Year, Highly Commended 

Jodie started her apprenticeship programme during the Covid-19 pandemic, which is challenging in itself – even more so with the additional barriers Jodie faced. She found herself in a difficult situation after losing a close family member and the health of another relative deteriorating. Despite this, Jodie 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.” 

Read Jodie's full story

A learner holds up a certificate

Lucas Renyard - Against All Odds 

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 our Aspiration Awards to reward his outstanding resilience and determination. 

Read Lucas's full story

A further education learner and a teacher stand in front of a computer in a classroom

Sonita Zazai - Against All Odds, Highly Commended

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.

Read Sonita's full story

Portrait of a teacher in formal dress

Gary Rayworth - Teacher/Tutor of the Year

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 thanks to his passion for teaching. Gary often seeks out innovative practice through research, then modifying and applying his findings to his own work. As a result, many of his learners have chosen this subject as a career path.

Read Gary's full story

Portrait of a young learner

Dr Javeria Anwar - Teacher/Tutor of the Year, Highly Commended

Dr Javeria Anwar is not your typical tutor. Growing up in Pakistan, Javeria achieved a degree in dentistry from Karachi University, but she became frustrated at the lack of opportunities 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 in maths and science, while improving the confidence and results of many learners.

Read Javeria's full story


Yuzu Training - Centre of the Year 

Yuzu Training was recently praised by Ofsted for its significant progress since the pandemic, as it continues to provide exceptional opportunities for learners. A key client of Yuzu Training is the Scoff’s Franchise of Costa Coffee, made up of 95 stores. This partnership began in 2014, and since then Yuzu Training has helped over 200 apprentices achieve their career goals. Its unique approach to linking the apprenticeship standards with Costa’s ethics enables the centre to provide career paths from barista to store manager, with learners gaining an understanding of sustainability and environmental awareness along the way. Yuzu Training also supports the Costa Foundation’s mission to fund schools in coffee-growing communities, giving people the opportunity to access safe, quality education.

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