The student support service at Sunderland College has been given a national quality standard by the Government.
The ‘Matrix’ standard was awarded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, in recognition of the college’s support and guidance service’s skills, working practises and successful outcomes.
This is the third time the college has received the quality standard.
One Sunderland teenager whose life was turned around by the college’s support service is Sonya Ayre.
Sonya, 19 was unemployed and out of education when she enrolled on a hairdressing course at Sunderland College.
Sonya said: “Going on the course really changed my life. I had previously struggled with employment and education due to being very shy.
“I knew I had to do something so enrolled on the course and it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done. The lecturers were so supportive and a couple have become like family.
“I was so shy I used to hate leaving the house, now I’m a completely different person. I really enjoyed the course, it’s inspired me to go to university and make a name of myself.”
She received ongoing advice and guidance throughout her course and has qualified as a Level 3 hairdresser in May.
Viv McDonald, guidance and recruitment officer at Sunderland College said: “This award recognises the hard work of student services and the high level of support we are able to provide to students.
“We do our very best to help students realise their full potential so stories like Sonya’s are fantastic to hear.”
Sonya is now planning on going to university next year to study hairdressing for television, film and theatre.
Nigel Harrett, vice principal for curriculum and student support at Sunderland College said: “This really is fantastic news. The Matrix Standard reaffirms what we already knew, that our advice and guidance service is providing students with excellent support.
“Every student deserves to receive the help they need to enjoy their educational experience, learn to the best of their abilities and leave having achieved to the full potential.
“In last year’s National Student Survey we were ranked top in the North East for teaching, student support and guidance, so clearly our students agree with the Department!”