SERC beauty student Rachel McMichael has been shortlisted for the inaugural British Education Awards which will be held at Grand Connaught Rooms, London, on 30 January.

Rachel is one of only three students from Northern Ireland to be shortlisted in the Vocational Qualifications category.

Students from across the UK are set to gather at the unique awards ceremony that will celebrate exemplary academic and extracurricular achievement. The event will be the first of its kind. Nominees are travelling from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England to attend the special occasion, which will honour them individually for their hard work and success.

19 year-old Rachel from Lisburn was nominated by her tutor Eunice Kerr for her exceptional marks, gaining straight distinctions in all modules to date. Outside of college Rachel is a Girl Guide leader, is involved with charity work and holds a Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold award.

Eunice explains: “Rachel has a very positive attitude to life and from a young age has had to deal with her father’s illness which has had challenging and demanding effects on her family.  Through this difficult situation Rachel has been a tremendous support to her mother in both a physical and emotional capacity, taking on the responsibility of helping with her younger brother.  She is an inspirational role model to the younger students.”

Candidates have been nominated in four categories: GCSE or Scottish National, A-Level or Scottish Higher, Vocational and Degree – with the winners in each category and region to be announced at the ceremony. Awards for Special Achievement will also bepresented on the night.

Rachel said she was ‘surprised and delighted to have been shortlisted’ and that she is ‘looking forward to the event, especially getting dressed up for the special occasion’ which she will attend with her tutor.

Organisers have been delighted by the diversity and calibre of applicants, with nominees entered for studies ranging from STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), to music and the arts and hospitality and catering.

Talented sportsmen and women feature on the final shortlist of 67 candidates, along with those dedicated to the uniformed services, health care and agriculture. Scientists, musicians, entrepreneurs and philanthropists are also included in an extraordinary list of talent, with candidates born in the UK and abroad, and of all ages and physical ability – showing that British education is open, inclusive and accessible to everyone.

Awards organiser, Amin Babor Chowdhury said: “Education has the power to change lives and in Britain there are so many ways to access it, if we choose to. This is reflected in our nominees, some of whom have overcome real adversity and personal hardship to gain their hard earned academic rewards.”

“All of our finalists have shown an exceptional level of commitment and focus to advance through learning and ensure they have the best opportunities in life. They are an example of what can be achieved, not just in terms of academic success, but as talented individuals and caring, responsible citizens. We are fortunate to have such remarkable people, as these BEA finalists are, to contribute to and help shape our society.”

“We are proud to have launched this first British Education Awards to honour these individuals – they are an inspiration to us all and we hope that as BEA Ambassadors their example will encourage others to seek growth through education and learning, and to be the best that they can be.”

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