Derby College Celebrates Peak Performers

More than 200 people gathered for the 12th annual Derby College Peak Awards at the historic Roundhouse to celebrate the achievements of students across the organisation and at Merrill Academy which is sponsored by the College.

The awards were compered by sports commentator Andrew James and presented by a host of local businesses who had sponsored the awards.

Derby College Chief Executive Mandie Stravino said: “Learning is a journey of self-development which often leads to much more than a recognised qualification.

Therefore, it is fascinating to therefore hear not only about these students’ academic and vocational success but also their future goals and how many have gone the extra mile to develop wider personal, social and employability skills that are now able to translate into all aspects of their lives.

“Many businesses across all industry sectors continue to offer our students much needed work placements as part of their study programmes. This gives them a vital experience in the workplace, preparing them for the next stage of their lives and inspiring them to set their sights high for their future careers.

“The Peak Awards is the highlight of the College calendar and I want to thank everyone who has helped to support these and all of our learners to achieve their potential and set them on the path to their future careers.”

Two special prizes were awarded on the night – Learner of the Year and Apprentice of the Year.

Melissa Chimutanda (19) from Derby was named Learner of the Year and the winner of the Engineering Excellence Award, sponsored by Rolls-Royce plc.

She and her family came to the UK from Africa in 2011 and she was a pupil at Merrill Academy before coming to Derby College with her sights set on a career in Engineering. She was amongst a group of students who completed a work experience programme at a Derby advanced composites company who were keen to take her on as an apprentice.

She has decided to stay at College for the level 3 programme with a view to progressing onto university to study engineering.

Derby College Engineering Team Manager Will Overton said: “Melissa is a stand-out student and thoroughly deserves this award.”

Apprentice of the Year was Jordan Richards (19) from Awsworth who was also Construction Learner of the Year with the award sponsored by Bowmer & Kirkland.

Jordan started his College life at the Ilkeston campus on the bricklaying course and then gained an apprenticeship at GF Tomlinson. He now works on site – returning to the College on day release.

He represented Derby College and won the Junior Skillbuild competition last year and also joined the College’s European work experience project to Greece. The group explored different construction methods alongside learners from a host of other European countries.

Kevin Dodds, construction manager from G F Tomlinson said: "Jordon has been employed with us for two years as an apprentice bricklayer, as part of our ongoing commitment to the empa Training Academy. During this time he has proved to be a first class tradesman, showing real commitment and an excellent work ethic. He fits in well with the site team and consistently produces a high standard of workmanship. We look forward to continuing to support him in completing his Level 3 qualification next year."

Winners were then announced from across the College curriculum.

Academic Studies Learner of the Year, sponsored by Flint Bishop Solicitors, went to Shane Lee (21) from Chellaston who has been studying A levels at the Joseph Wright Campus. He has been offered places at Cardiff and Derby universities to study psychology and has his sights set on a career in behavioural economics.

Animal Science Award winner was Alysia Rowland (18) from Kilburn in recognition of the high standard of her work. Having completed work placements in various animal care settings, she has been offered paid work at a kennels and her career goal is to work in animal rescue.

The Business, Computer Science and IT Award, sponsored by Risual, has gone to Harvey Boyles (19) from Etwall was recognised for developing commendable employability, personal and business skills during his Business course. He now plans to go to Southampton Solent University to study Film Production.

The Care Award, sponsored by Rigby and Co went to Early Years Care and Education student Jodie Brookhouse (21) from Shelton Lock who has gained a number of additional qualifications and has successfully gained interviews for Teaching Assistant and Early Years’ Practitioner jobs.

Hospitality and Catering student Sophie Brassington (17) from Allenton picked up the award for that area, sponsored by Morley Hayes, after achieving high grades for every practical craft assessment. She also clinched a part time job at an artisan bakery after completing a work placement there.

The Media and Arts Award, sponsored by Maber, went to Lucija Hofstetere (20) who is originally from Latvia and was recognised for the standard of her Art & Design work. She continues her studies at Derby College and her goal is to progress onto university and then work in the fashion or interior design industries.

The Plant Science Award winner was mature student Begona Blanco Zaragosa (40) from Chaddesden who moved to the UK from Spain and has combined her studies with working as a gardener at Makeney Hall.

Derby County FC sponsored the Public Services and Sport award when went to Public Services student Lucy Bradley (19) from Riddings. She picked up an award for her consistent distinction grades, her leadership qualities and her volunteering work stewarding at various events as part of the course. She is now going onto university to study politics with future career goals of joining the civil service or the police.

Retail and Travel and Tourism Award went to Visual Merchandising student Thanyarat Lueanglue (18) from Spondon who is now going to Birmingham City University to study for a BA Honours Degree in Fashion Business and Promotion.

The Sensi award, sponsored by Pompadour, went to Kayleigh-Marie Gilliver (19) from Derby who has made it to the second stage of the world skills competition in theatrical, special effects, hair and media make up competition and has used her skills to do volunteer work including at Derby Museums.

Mature student Joanne Cresswell from Doveridge won the Higher Education Teacher Training and Access award, sponsored by Roundhouse Events. She has combined part time study on the Children and Young Peoples Services Foundation Degree at the College with her role as a teaching assistant at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Ashbourne.

Pre 16 Learner of the Year was named as Callum Poxon (16) from John Flamsteed School who has attended College one day a week as part of his GCSE programme on the motor vehicle course and is starting at the College in September. The award was sponsored by Armsons.

And the Merrill Academy Learner Award, sponsored by Geldards, went to year 11 student D’Arby Mawson (16) in recognition of her hard work. She is now going onto study A levels and aspires to progress onto university and become an architect in the future.

Employer of the Year went to East Midlands Trains in recognition of their commitment to staff training and development across the board from young apprentices to senior managers. Atlas Building and Civil Engineering in Pride Park were highly commended for their investment in apprenticeships with the College.

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