Meet the Inspiring and Exceptional Exeter College Student Awards Winners

Exeter College news article

Date: Friday 06 January 2017

The exceptional achievements of students have been celebrated at an inspiring gala, the annual Exeter College Student Awards ceremony. 

More than 190 students, guests, family, friends, sponsors, as well as community and business leaders attended the glittering awards event on Thursday, 5th January.  

The 27 student award winners represented the college’s broad range of full time and part time programmes and the growing range of apprenticeships on offer. The winning students came from Exeter, across Devon and further afield, highlighting the wide geographical reach of the college.

The guest of honour at the awards was Steve Hindley CBE DL, Chairman of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership. The evening also saw the Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines MBE honoured as the first ever Patron of Exeter College.

John Laramy, Principal of Exeter College, said: “These awards are, for me, a real highlight of the year, because our business is educational excellence and this event celebrates excellence in all its forms.  As a College we have had a spectacular year, but this success has not happened by accident. We have great students, exemplified by our award winners, and we also have a strong culture and great staff at all levels.

“Our Annual Student Awards ceremony is a moment to celebrate and recognise the combined impact of everyone involved in the College.  So I would like to thank our school partners, stakeholders, parents, university partners, civic partners and the employers who work with us – with your continued support we can achieve our new vision as an exceptional college.” 

The award categories covered the college’s broad offer of programmes, and included Apprentice of the Year, Access to Higher Education, Higher Education, Adult and Community Learning, Foundation Studies Student of the Year, Sports Academy Student of the Year, and many, many more.

The sponsors supporting the event, held at the Mercure Exeter Rougemont Hotel, Exeter, were: Arconic, Dana Mulligan Consulting, Exeter Airport, Exeter City Council, Express & Echo, Jones Lang LaSalle, Pearson, Santander, City & Guilds, Devon County Council, Exeter Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Exeter City FC, Foot Anstey, Phab, and Saxon Spence CBE.

The Winners 

Access to Higher Education Student of the Year
Confidence Tracy Mutandwa

Tracy arrived at college with a thirst for knowledge but no IT skills at all. By the end of the 36 weeks she had extensive IT skills and had achieved Distinctions in 14 out of 15 units. Tracy gained a place to study Adult Nursing at Plymouth University and saw every lesson that she attended at Exeter College as a step closer to her end goal. As a class member she was a great support to the rest of the group and to the teachers who taught her. Tracy was the type of student you may only see once or twice in your career and she will always be remembered.  

Adult/Community Education/ Employability + ESOL Student of the Year
Mariana Poth Frcek

Mariana has been awarded the ESOL Student of the Year award because she is an inspiring example to other women who are balancing childcare, family responsibilities and study while adapting to life in the UK. As a newcomer to this country, she first sought advice and information from the college in identifying her language needs and skills gaps. She has worked hard both in class and independently towards gaining the qualifications she needs for the job market. Mariana is an enthusiastic and committed student who takes responsibility for her own learning. Her outgoing personality, motivation and organisational skills will certainly help her in her future studies and career.

Adult Essential Skills Student of the Year
Paul Williams

Paul did not achieve his full potential when he was younger. He was expelled from school and left with no GCSEs. He says: “I spent 12 years on a ‘dark path’ and was on jobseekers when I signed up for the GCSEs at Exeter College.” Paul was determined to do well and worked very hard. He went on to achieve an A* in his maths GCSE and a grade A in his English GCSE. He now has a part-time job and is excelling on the Access to HE (Humanities) course. He is hoping to go to the University of Exeter and intends to train to be an English teacher.

Aplus Student of the Year
Paul Cookson

Paul began his accountancy studies whilst working in catering. Despite working long hours he was able to progress to Level 3 AAT. He was unable to find employment within accountancy which meant he had to work exceptionally hard to keep up with the course content and his peers. However, undeterred, due to his efforts and commitment he was able to complete Level 3 studies in eight months. He went on to gain a role within a finance epartment. He has been an outstanding student and has self-funded his studies in order to fulfil his goals.

Apprentice of the Year
Phoebe Craven

Phoebe has overcome some signifcant barriers to become a valued member of the staff at Foot Anstey, a leading law firm. Originally a full-time student at Exeter College, Phoebe was exceptionally keen to move on to an Apprenticeship and identifi ed business administration as a career pathway she would like to follow. Phoebe, by her own admission, was quite shy, at the start of her journey. However, she has made the transition into an outstanding student with a high level of professionalism and confidence. Phoebe does not resemble the apprentice of 12 months ago and is now looking to progress to study a Level 3 programme in the future.

Business and IT Student of the Year
Daniel Hajek

Dan completed the Level 3 Extended Diploma in IT, achieving Triple Distinctions (D*D*D*) with maximum marks in every unit. He is now studying for a HND in IT at Exeter College. He has been nominated for this award because of his exceptional achievement paired with amazing vocational skills. He is a confident communicator, good at understanding customer needs and is able to work independently to meet them. Dan took on the role of programmer in the commercially linked Running Wolves project last year at college. He worked really well with the team and made a great technical contribution to project. His initiative, personality and creative skills will take him far.

Art and Design Student of the Year
Jessica Lubrani

Jessica Lubrani (Jessie) completed the UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in art and design achieving a Distinction. Jessie is now studying Fashion Design at Ravensbourne. Jessie is an excellent role model for young women and any student studying a creative subject. She is enthusiastic, engaging and focused. Jessie’s final major project work was selected from over 400 entries from colleges nationwide for the UAL annual student exhibition at the central London Menier Gallery. Jessie’s work embraces imagery, form and structure which is thought provoking and supports her individual values in relation to human rights and feminism. Her determination, work ethic and commitment to her creative passions will no doubt see her realise an exciting career in the creative industries. She is certainly one to watch in future British fashion design.

Construction Student of the Year
Ray O’Sullivan

The Level 1 qualifi cation Ray achieved demanded a high level of motivation, accuracy and enthusiasm. Throughout the course, Ray showed drive and natural ability and could be trusted to complete all tasks, in a competent and mature manner. His quality of work has been outstanding and this was especially apparent when it came to completing any self assessments, as his own targets continually highlighted that only the best will do. He has been motivated to do well from his time as a 14-16 learner to where he is now as a 2nd year construction student. He has a great future ahead of him.

Engineering, Aerospace and Automotive Student of the Year
Peter Scrace

Peter started his apprenticeship with Milklink in 2010 studying engineering at Level 2. He progressed to the advanced apprenticeship and completed in 2016 at HNC level. Sometimes in teaching we get a student who, whatever problems may arise, is outstanding. Since his first days at the college Peter’s attitude; work ethic and general application have always been exceptional. During his HNC, Peter had to complete his studies while also focusing on his young family and work commitments. His work regularly had unsocial hours and long shift patterns, but despite this, his work was always completed on time and to a high level. Peter’s attitude is: ‘no matter what the difficulties – try your best to get it done’. Peter’s dedication and work ethic will ensure his future success on whatever path he chooses to take.

Flybe Academy Student of the Year
Abigail Carmichael

Abi completed the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Travel and Tourism following the Flybe Academy pathway. She achieved a triple Distinction* in her course, whilst maintaining a 100% attendance record during her two years of study, as well as balancing her coursework with part time employment. Abi was enthusiastic, engaging and focused in all aspects and was an active participant on the trips and excursions. She worked consistently hard with a driven and conscientious approach to her study. Abi is a very personable young woman, supportive to her peers and inspiring in her approach and positivity. She has excellent communication skills and the ability to use her initiative, yet work as a strong team member. Her potential was clearly spotted, upon completing her course Abi secured her dream employment, working as Cabin Crew for British Airways. A promising career and international future lies ahead!

English, Language and IB Student of the Year
Pablo Grant de Torres

Pablo was an exceptional International Baccalaureate (IB) student who persevered with unwavering determination throughout the second year to complete his course. Despite a number of personal setbacks, he overcame these with courage to go on and not only attain his Diploma Award but to achieve a 40-point score, the equivalent to five A Levels at A / A*.
This result places him in the top 5-10 per cent of students in the world. The Head of Faculty for English, Languages and IB describes Pablo as ‘one of the most memorable learners on the IB for his industry, his talent and his incredible sense of humour. It is an honour to recommend him for this award.’

Foundation Studies Student of the Year
Tyler Martin

Tyler completed Vocational Studies and Vocational Studies Extra, achieving all of his qualifications. He is now in sustained employment at The Range, Exeter. Tyler has been nominated for this award as he made huge progress during his two years with us and has developed into a confident, hard working young man. The distance travelled in Tyler’s social development has been exemplary. He is dedicated and reliable, completing his course with 100% attendance. Tyler completed such a successful work placement that he secured himself his job and has continued to impress, having recently had his contracted hours extended. During his time at Exeter College Tyler just needed help to discover what he was capable of. We are sure he has a bright future ahead.

Healthcare, Childcare and Public Services Student of the Year
Jake Robison

Jake is an exemplary student consistently working to the highest standards. He has had 100% attendance for both years of the Uniformed Public Services Level 3 BTEC. He has worked diligently to achieve distinctions in all units. He has secured a place at Exeter College to continue his academic life to study the FdSc in Public Services. Jake’s mature, motivated and committed nature is reflected in his impeccable organisational skills, dedication and determination. Jake is highly conscientious and his work is always presented neatly and with care. Jake has also completed the 55 miles Ten Tors challenge. He willingly supports his peers when help is needed so that others succeed too. Jake has a genuine warmth and kindness that underpins all he does. Jake is an inspirational student.

Hospitality , Hair and Beauty Student of the Year
Charlotte Fleet

Charlotte was a delightful student who was well liked by all of her peers and lecturers alike. Succeeding with near perfect grades throughout the two years of her VRQ Course, Charlotte made the most of every opportunity that came her way. Charlotte helped many of her peers succeed at times when they needed support. She would listen and respect others whilst being brave and bold in her convictions. Charlotte met all of her challenges head on and was a role model for all of her peers, never letting her smile drop and always succeeding in what she wanted to achieve. Charlotte demonstrated all of her best qualities when she organised and ran the student-led champions of champions’ competition, which saw her organising the promotion of student skills to enhance employability.

Higher Education Student of the Year
Nicole Woods

Nicole was an exceptional student; dedicated, hard-working and consistently engaged with her studies. She often went above and beyond the requirements of the course, volunteering for professional assignments and undertaking and overcoming technical challenges, which led her often to exciting outcomes. Nicole graduated with a distinction and has gone on to study at Plymouth University, paving the way for a successful career in photography. In addition to her academic and professional success, Nicole was a Student Representative at University Level Student Voice Forums and represented Plymouth students at the Plymouth University and Exeter College Joint Board of Studies. Nicole presented herself to a very high standard, articulately and objectively conveying feedback on behalf of her peers. She made an important contribution, not only to the development of her programme, but to enhancing the experience of the University Level Student community.

Humanities Student of the Year
Holly Harwood

Holly studied A Level Philosophy, Politics, English Literature and the Extended Project achieving an incredible A*A*A*A*. Holly had an infectious enthusiasm for her studies and was a pleasure to teach. Holly is a rare and unique talent and deserves recognition for her outstanding achievement of A*s across the board in her A levels and EPQ. She was an absolute joy to have in class as she always participated positively and clearly enjoyed the subjects she was studying. Holly was always keen to get involved in the wider college community through extra-curricular activities such as debating society, Reach Academy and helping out at open events. Holly always went above and beyond what was expected and thoroughly deserved her final grades.

International Student of the Year
Son Hoang Luu Nguyen (Louis)

Louis is a very gifted young man. He has a fantastic work ethic, with the self-discipline to work on his own effectively and take responsibility for his own learning. He sets himself the highest standards and has a determination to achieve. He arrived in the UK for the first time by himself only two days before he started his course. This reflects his ability to respond to the challenges faced in a very positive manner. He is also keen to contribute positively to college life, for example, being his tutor group rep, and attending college Learner Voice feedback meetings. He worked consistently well over his two years at college, and was very deserving of the impressive 3 A*s at A Level he finished with.

Maths and Science Student of the Year
Brandon Jones

Brandon came to Exeter College having underachieved on an AS programme elsewhere. Not daunted, he proved himself to be a most accomplished student on the BTEC Applied
Science course and his grade of D*D*D* is well deserved. He achieved this through distinctions in every unit of the course. He not only worked hard himself but was also a positive and supportive member of the tutor group. Most significantly, the Applied Science course has given Brandon an opportunity to truly shine, especially in his Biology units. Articulate, intelligent and thoughtful, he has progressed to study Biomedical Science at Cardiff University where we are confident he will continue to flourish.

JAx Journalism Academy Student of the Year
Kira Taylor

Kira was a standout student on the JAx Journalism Academy, proving that the more you put in the more you get from an experience. Kira showed her determination early, by pitching ideas to editors. This bore fruit when she was published in the Times Education Supplement, which then accepted another feature from Kira later in the year. At the same time Kira found other publications willing to take her work and soon built up a broad and lively portfolio. Kira was also a committed student on the Academy who was always willing to help other students. Her determination to succeed means that she stands out from the crowd.

Media and Performing Arts Student of the Year
Tynika Davidson

Tynika successfully progressed from BTEC Level 1 Performing Arts, BTEC Level 2, through the BTEC 90 Credit Diploma and successfully completed her BTEC Extended Diploma in Performing Arts. Throughout her four years at college Tynika was motivated, committed, imaginative and was continually willing to take risks. Tynkia always sought feedback and treated all staff and students with great respect. It was with great pride and joy that Tynika received enough UCAS points to take up a degree in Musical Theatre at Bath Spa University. Tynika’s smile, laugh, energy and determination were a great beacon of hope within the section, but although now gone, can still be heard echoing around the CCI as an inspiration to all our Level 1 and 2 learners about what can be achieved.

Michael Caines Academy Student of the Year
Harrison Brockington

Harrison has perfectly demonstrated the journey it is possible to take with determination, passion and drive. Arriving in year one as a nervous, shy and retiring learner Harrison was not the best chef in his class nor the best waiter. Yet Harrison knew what he wanted to be and became a driven and determined individual after a successful work placement at the Royal Clarence. The change in Harrison was clear to see when he returned for Level 2. Harrison became a true student of the culinary arts, dedicating all of his free time to learning and maximizing every opportunity that came his way. This culminated in him being crowned Student South West Chef of the Year. Harrison’s knowledge of his subject is astonishing and his vision for a future career, style of food and even restaurant concepts are exceptional.

Reach Academy Student of the Year
Dylan Inglis

Dylan has been a fantastic member of the Reach Academy and a true ambassador for Exeter College. He has a huge amount of energy and drive, and an infectious enthusiasm for all that he does. Perhaps his biggest contribution came through the Academy’s Model United Nations diplomacy group. Dylan represented Exeter College at a number of conferences becoming a regular award-winning delegate. He also travelled to Frankfurt last year to represent college at a University Level conference, and helped organise our very own MUN conference. Dylan was also an active member of the Met Office Research Group, a student-led science research project in collaboration with Met Office. Now studying Geography at Durham University, we’re sure his energy and enthusiasm will make him a huge success there too.

Music Academy Student of the Year
Bethan Funning 

Bethan was an active and dedicated member of the Exeter College Music Academy who participated in all of our enrichment based ensembles including Jazz Project, Big Band, Chamber Orchestra, String Group and Student Choir. In each ensemble she made an extremely valuable and highly musical contribution, helping to inspire and motivate other students. Bethan also co-hosted the weekly Music Academy ‘Live lunch’ session in her second year and performed at college-wide events including award ceremonies over two years both as a solo artist and with her group Wolven. She achieved outstanding results in her studies. Bethan is currently undertaking a gap year before taking up a place at Birmingham University to study Music.

School of Art Student of the Year
Deborah Spencer

Deborah completed the FDA Graphic Communication course with a Distinction and has now set up her own freelance graphic design service. As a mature student with two school-age children, she started the course with limited confidence, graphic design skills and knowledge. Deborah was an exemplary student. Her good humoured, positive disposition was a great asset. She was always happy to support her peers and willingly volunteered to be the group’s Learner Voice representative. Her creative efforts paid dividends when her designs for the 2016 Animated Exeter branding were chosen. Deborah entered a highly prestigious national student design competition and was awarded the runners-up prize for the awareness campaign she created for the charity Save The Children. This accolade has been life-changing for Deborah, who can now look forward to a very bright future as a graphic designer.

Spencer Dale Economics Student of the Year
Thomas McShane

Tom completed A levels in Economics, Physics and Maths achieving exceptional grades of A*A*A. He also achieved A grades in A level Critical Thinking and Further Maths. Tom was an exceptional student throughout his college career. He was a mature, intelligent and considerate learner. He demonstrated a natural ability in all of his subjects as well as fantastic dedication to his progression. He was committed to extracurricular activities at college taking part in the Reach Academy as well as being a part of the very successful Model United Nations team. Tom is now studying PPE at Oxford University. Tom is an absolute credit to Exeter College.

Sport, Leisure and Tourism Student of the Year
Dryad Oak

Dryad completed the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Outdoor and Adventurous Activities, achieving D*D*D*. Dryad is now studying for a Foundation Degree in Applied Outdoor Adventure with us at Exeter College. Dryad was unanimously nominated for this award by all the staff who have taught him as he is an excellent role model. He is enthusiastic, engaging and focused. He is committed to everything that he does, with climbing being a particular area he excels in. Dryad achieves all this whilst being a young carer. In addition to this role, he travels a considerable distance from Dartmoor each day to attend college. He is always the first in and last to leave. Dryad has made a very strong start to his Foundation Degree. He is a true role model.

Sports Academy Student of the Year
Rachel Solway

Rachel Solway is an accomplished, humble and honest young woman. She is currently studying a Level 3 YMCA Certifi cate in Personal Training, having already achieved a triple Distinction* profile on the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport. Whilst at college, Rachel also captained the highly successful Netball 1st team and passed the CYQ Level 2 fitness instructors course. Rachel is very proactive and continually develops herself, which is highlighted in her approach towards both her academic achievements and also her sporting endeavours. She is approachable, kind and empathetic, which enabled her to create a strong rapport with lecturers as well as respect and trust from her peers, especially within the Netball Academy. In summary, Rachel is a well-rounded young woman with a bright future ahead of her. Her maturity, determination and ethics will continue the success she has achieved so far.





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