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Inspirational Sheffield College students celebrated

Updated: 28.06.23

Inspirational Sheffield College students celebrated

The achievements of inspirational Sheffield College students have been celebrated at an annual awards ceremony.

Young people and adults completing a range of academic and vocational qualifications have been honoured at the college’s Student Celebration Awards.

This year’s event theme focussed on how the college and city of Sheffield support students to go further in their careers and fulfil their ambitions.

Angela Foulkes, Chief Executive and Principal, The Sheffield College, said: “We are incredibly proud of our wonderful city and place within it, transforming lives through learning.”

She added: “We are especially proud of our inspirational awards finalists who have shown immense determination, dedication and resilience to fulfil their potential.”

Around 200 guests including award finalists, and their families, college staff and governors attended the event held at Kelham Island Museum on 13th June 2023.

The guest speakers included Tom Wolfenden, Chief Executive Officer of Sheffield Technology Parks.

Tom said: “Sheffield is a city that believes in the power of dreams, the strength of its people and fairness for all regardless of where you come from or what you have been through.”

He added: “The college is doing an amazing job in our great city. Together, they offer a wide range of opportunities whether you want a high-quality career, to master a trade or to follow to your entrepreneurial ambitions.”

Alumnus and guest speaker Vytautas Amponsem who studied the Access to Higher Education Diploma in Health Sciences Professions, shared his education journey.

After completing his studies at the college, Vytautas progressed to an adult nursing programme with the Open University.

An emergency department nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, he is also Clinical Co-chair of the Race Equality and Inclusion Network (REIN).

This year’s award winners include Samuel Davey, 18, who is completing an electrical engineering qualification at Level 3 and is profoundly deaf.

Samuel’s first language is British Sign Language. A communication support worker translates for him during his classes.

Samuel won the FREDIE+ Champion Award for being an incredible role model, not only to other deaf students but also to his hearing peers. FREDIE refers to fairness, respect, equality, diversity, inclusion and engagement.

Samuel does not allow his deafness to be a barrier to learning or any other aspect of his life. He performs at a high standard academically and his attendance is high.

Samuel, who is planning to progress into employment or onto an apprenticeship, also gives up his free time during the lunch break once a week to teach hearing students and staff basic British Sign Language.

Samuel said: “I can’t believe that I have won this award, it is really amazing. The college has helped me so much with my learning, providing an interpreter and a note taker to help me overcome barriers.”

He added: “Studying at The Sheffield College has been so worth it. If you think you can’t do something, my attitude is – yes, you can! I would love to eventually get into teaching electrical engineering and inspire other students like me.”

The full list of award winners is, as follows:

  • Advanced Vehicle, Engineering and Digital Student of the Year – Mohammad Abdullah
  • Access, Higher Education and Adult Achievement Award – Shamis Giaquinto
  • Arts and Creative Industries Student of the Year – Rona Bird
  • Building Technologies Student of the Year – Georgina Hogg
  • English, Maths and ESOL Student of the Year – Nardos Kibrab
  • Employer Skills Academy Recognition Award – Joshua Syla
  • Events, Hospitality and Food Student of the Year – Jake Spencer
  • Fitness and Life Sciences Student of the Year – Daniela Rodosthenous
  • FREDIE+ Champion Award – Samuel Davey
  • Health, Care and Health Technologies Student of the Year – Layla Austerberry
  • Inclusion Student of the Year – Ashley Needham
  • Outstanding Achievement Award – Sienna Robinson
  • Professional Studies Student of the Year – Ethan Barthorpe
  • Service Industries Student of the Year – Emma Oliver
  • Sixth Form Student of the Year – Elizabeth Aliwell

Another student who is breaking down barriers is Georgina Hogg who won the Building Technologies Student of the Year award category.

Georgina is completing a carpentry and joinery qualification at Level 1 and hopes to become a furniture maker.

Georgina was nominated for being talented, dedicated and focussed on the course, which teaches students about the demands of an industry that has high standards in quality control, team working and strict deadlines.

Georgina said: “I have always enjoyed working with my hands and I am really enjoying the practical aspect of the course. It’s great to be recognised.”

Another student who has left a lasting impression is Elizabeth Aliwell, who won the Sixth Form Student of the Year award. Since starting her A Levels, Elizabeth has overcome adversity and immersed herself in college life.

Elizabeth is an active member of the student council and advocates for others in her role as the Women's Officer for the Sheffield College Students' Union.

This has included raising awareness through a period poverty campaign providing free sanitary products in college and reducing the stigma around periods.

Elizabeth has been praised by her tutors for having a cheerful and uplifting presence amongst the A Level cohort.

She can often be found studying for hours at a time outside the common room with her headphones on and a mass of revision notes and textbooks in front of her.

Her dedication to her studies is evident in her assessments and mocks and she is on track for a bright future having received multiple offers from universities in London.

Elizabeth, who plans to go to university and hopes to study a Degree in Philosophy at Kings College London, said: “It is a great feeling to be acknowledged.

“I feel as though I am part of a big family at The Sheffield College. Everyone is so welcoming and supportive. I have grown so much in confidence and self awareness.”

Watch our Student Celebration Awards 2023 film on YouTube. Find out more about courses starting this September.


Pictured - Award-winning electrical engineering student Samuel Davey, whose first language is British Sign Language, has been hailed as an inspirational role model.

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