From education to employment

College tutor goes back into learning after more than 15 years

A 37-year old college tutor has been named as this year’s “Student of the Year” at West Cheshire College’s Higher Education & Professional Presentation Evening.

Attended by celebrity chef Aldo Zilli, the prestigious event saw Martin Walker, from Penymynydd, walk away with the coveted prize after being nominated by his tutors for his dedication and enthusiasm.

“It was a complete shock to receive the Student of the Year award. I really wasn”t expecting it so I”m completely amazed. I”m sure lots of other students worked just as hard as me but I”m very pleased with my award”, he explained.

Hailing from the carpentry and joinery industry, Martin joined the college in 2003 and is now Programme Leader in Wood Occupation. Feeling that the move from industry to education would benefit his future career, he said: “Going back to college as a student was a strange experience. I hadn”t studied since 1989 when I did my City and Guilds trade qualifications. It was quite enlightening and hard work at times but I am now planning to go on and do a teaching degree part time at university”.

On hand to present all the winners with their prizes and proffer some advice was Mr Zilli. “Two and a half years ago I took a call that changed my life”, he explained. “I was offered the chance to go on a slimming programme and I ended up losing three stone in three months. It changed my life completely and my career re-started”.

“Sometimes you have to do things out of your comfort zone to get what you want in your own profession but as long as you want it enough then anything is possible and anything is achievable”, Mr Zilli continued.

And West Cheshire College Principal Sara Mogel was quick to thank the students and winners at the ceremony, noting that it is these students who are closing the skills gap between local needs and employers.

“So not only are they securing our future, but they do all of this while juggling home and work responsibilities with their studies and so deserve our admiration”, she said.

Vijay Pattni.

Next week on FE News: The vocational/academic skills debate ““ we ask six FE leaders what they think

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