Sunderland College has secured a trio of wins, at a regional awards ceremony celebrating the achievements of students returning to education in later life, and the providers who support them.
Students and tutors from the college – which provides A Level, vocational, apprenticeships and higher level training to more than 11,000 people at any one time – were on hand to watch the college named joint winner of Outstanding Commitment to the Student Experience, as well as seeing one of its tutors – Monica Pizzoli – scoop the Student’s Choice award at the Oneawards 20th anniversary celebration, which took place at The Sage, Gateshead.
Student Christopher Chicken also won the Higher Learning Higher Earning Award, at the event which celebrates the achievements of colleges and their access students across the North East.
Christopher earned the award in recognition of his work to pursue an Occupational Therapy degree from York University, having studied at the college for a Pre-Access course then Access to Higher Education Diploma, allowing him to gain the level three qualification required to leave his job in the building trade, and progress with his studies.
Principal and chief executive of Sunderland College, Ellen Thinnesen, said she was proud of what had been achieved at the awards.
She said: “Awards allow us to really benchmark our work and understand how we compare to other colleges, so to come away with three awards is an outstanding achievement, and something the team at the college and all of the students should be extremely proud of.
“I’d like to congratulate Christopher, Monica and everyone at the college who played a part in the award wins. Access courses really are an invaluable route into education for those who have delayed their decision to study either for personal and professional reasons. For those who make the leap, the student success stories at the awards really do show that it can pay dividends.”
Former Sunderland student Dr Dan Reed, who completed an Access to Higher Education course with the college, and since gained a PHD in Zoology and lectures on the subject internationally, was a guest speaker at the event.
Dan said: “Sunderland College’s Access to Higher Education course was – for me – a pathway to achieving something I never imagined I could. I worked in a factory before I took the leap to go to college, and the decision has been totally life-changing for me. To have the chance to share my story on stage, and inspire other access students to aim high is a real privilege”