Inspirational students at Bolton College have been recognised for their outstanding achievements at a special celebration.
More than 20 students were given accolades at the college's Community Learning Awards evening, which honours those who have gone above and beyond to better the community and improve their own lives.
The awards took place at the college’s Deane Road campus on Tuesday 28 May and celebrated the achievements of students from the college’s community learning centres at Brownlow Fold, Deane & Derby, New Bury and Westhoughton.
Marie Gilluley, Principal of Bolton College, said: "It’s always difficult to select a winner when all our students achieve outstanding things during their time at college. I have been overwhelmed by the exceptionally high quality of this year’s award winners and it is fantastic to see such a wealth of talent and promise among our students. Tonight’s winners are leading the way for their peers and making a real difference, both to the Bolton community and in their own lives."
Students were recognised in a number of personal, community and educational categories – award winners included a mix of adult learners, as well as 16-18-year-olds.
Among the winners was Stuart Green, who took home the Social Enterprise/Self-Employment award, after impressing the judges with his business. Stuart, 28, took part in a Bolton College NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) programme, before setting up his own venture, ‘Setting the Wheels in Motion’ – a bike repair service on the Washacre Estate. With the help of Halfords, which offered basic workshops at the college, Stuart learned skills that have helped him set up a successful start-up business that benefits the wider community.
"It’s amazing to have won the social enterprise and self-employment award," said Stuart. "I love bikes and having my own bike repair service is a dream job for me. I had been unemployed before I joined the NEET programme at BoltonCollege. Being part of the initiative gave me the skills and confidence to set up my own business venture, which I hope will grow from strength to strength.”
Another student who impressed judges with her determination was Tracie Smith. Given the Progression to Further Education or Employment award, Tracie stood out because of huge improvements in her confidence since starting at Bolton College.
A full-time mum, who hadn’t worked for 24 years, Tracie began volunteering at the British Heart Foundation to rebuild her confidence. She started a range of training courses at Bolton College after being referred by The Work Shop – a local employment clinic run by Bolton Council through its dedicated Work Programme.
Now in full-time employment at Wayne Walker Meats, she has rediscovered her self-belief and confidence in her work. She said: “The training courses I did at Bolton College have made such a huge difference to my life. They have given me a basic grounding in business which has given me confidence in my work and the courage to apply successfully for my job at Wayne Walker Meats.”
The Community Learning Awards were presented by Marie Gilluley and Sharon Marriott, director of adult learning and higher education at Bolton College. Guests of honour included the Mayor and Mayoress of Bolton, Cllr Colin Shaw and his wife, Dee, Sue Somerville, head of adult learning at Bolton Council, and Gareth Evans, chair of governors at Bolton College.
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