Fifteen students from Cardiff and Vale College have been recognised for their inspirational work and dedication at a special ceremony to honour adult learners.
Organised by the Vale Learning Network, the Vale Inspire Awards 2016 celebrate lifelong learning in the Vale of Glamorgan. Held at the College’s Glamorgan Suite restaurant at its Barry campus, the awards were presented by the Vale’s AM Jane Hutt and its Deputy Mayor Cllr Eddie Egan.
Gareth Williams won Apprentice of the Year. Gareth, an apprentice with CAVC and personal trainer service Barry FITM8, overcame personal difficulties and is now training to be an instructor and hopes to progress on to becoming a personal trainer.
The Health and Wellbeing award went to Jordan Leach. Despite facing numerous barriers in life, Jordan found that returning to education contributed massively to his mental health and wellbing.
Jordan has been able to update is skills, apply for new jobs and is now on a CAVC Foundation Degree in Law. He hopes to progress on to university to top up to a full degree and then pursue a legal career.
Roda Hussein received the Lifelong Learning Award. Roda had no English when she came to the UK from Somalia aged 12 and was bullied at school. She applied to CAVC to study Health Sciences but was signposted to ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages).
From ESOL, Roda progressed to a Level 2 Business Diploma and then Level 3. She was accepted by Cardiff Metropolitan University to study a degree in International Business Management and plans to become a social entrepreneur.
“It’s amazing to win this award,” Roda, who is also a CAVC Community Governor, said. “I’m blessed to represent my community at the College – it’s been like a second home to me.”
Charlotte Mould won the Progression Award, having progressed from Level 1 Health and Social Care through Level 2 and Level 3, achieving the highest grades. Despite thinking she would never qualify for university, in part due to her dyslexia, Charlotte has received an offer from Swansea University to study BSc Mental Health Nursing.
Four CAVC learners also received awards for Progression into Higher Education: Shahana Raahat-Hussein, Megan Harrington, Spencer Penn and Andrew Gwynne.
Junaid Akmal was awarded for Progression to Work. Junaid lost an arm at early age and was fitted with a prosthetic arm. An infrequent attender at school, Junaid initially did not enjoy his Entry Level course at CAVC, but he and his tutor were able to set specific targets with the aim of getting him into work. Junaid is now working at the Royal Mail Sorting Office in Cardiff, and is waiting to find out if he will be awarded a permanent contract.
The Tutor Award went to Leham Abraham. Leham originally came to the UK as an asylum seeker and enrolled on an ESOL course with CAVC in 2004. She progressed over the next few years and successfully achieved a Level 2 Diploma in Business.
Always incredibly supportive of her fellow students on the courses she took, Leham volunteered as an assistant to her College department. She has now completed the Level 3 ESOL Practitioners course and is now an Adult Learning Support Worker – she has taught across a number of CAVC courses and within the community and is studying for her Postgraduate Certificate in Education at the College.
Harry Cole and Sabrina Islam both won Young Learner awards. Abouzar Noghani won the Sports Development Award for his work in supporting the CAVC ESOL football team and progressing from an ESOL course to a Sports Coaching degree from the University of Glamorgan. Abouzar has worked with CCFC’s U21 team and is moving to Lisbon to join the coaching team at a Portuguese club.
Mark Rees was honoured with the Role Model Award. A Health and Wellbeing learner, Mark has turned his life around, losing six stone before starting the course and completely transforming his approach to health.
Mark has recently run in the Cardiff Half Marathon, set up cricket tester days for fellow CAVC students and volunteers for Welsh Gymnastics, supporting heats for children with disabilities. He now wants to use his experience to inspire others and aims to become a fitness trainer.
The overall Vale Inspire Award also went to a CAVC student. Lydia Evans came to CAVC to study Childcare as a young single mother who was living in difficult conditions and was often supported by the student emergency fund.
An excellent student who always achieved top grades despite having to make many sacrifices, Lydia applied for sessional work at Flying Start and has now been taken on as a full time practitioner.
“It’s so nice to be recognised but I don’t think I have done anything special,” Lydia said. “I didn’t think I was going to get through the course – it was a bit of a struggle to get there.
“I did find my time at College really good, I met lots of really good people and the time flew by. My tutor Helen Middleton was the best! It has really helped me with my future and if I could go back to College tomorrow I would.”
Aviation company AerFin was also recognised for its work in supporting CAVC’s Aircraft Engineering students.
Jane Hutt said: “The stories of all of the winners we have heard this evening are so positive – they are absolutely remarkable. They have done through ambition, energy and skill and with the backing others, the Vale Learning Network and College tutors.
“All of the winners will go on to achieve even more and make a real difference to the economy and to other people’s lives.”
Notes to editors
- Photo shows the Vale Inspire Award winners with Vale AM Jane Hutt and Cllr Eddie Egan, Deputy Mayor of the Vale of Glamorgan
- Cardiff and Vale College is one of the top companies for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the National Centre for Diversity’s 2016 Top 100 Index
- Cardiff and Vale College was awarded College of the Year at the 2015 Insider Business and Education Partnership Awards
- Apply now to join CAVC in Sept 2016: visit for details
- Why not follow the latest updates from Cardiff and Vale College on Facebook or Twitter @cavc?
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