Winners of this year’s VQ Learner of the Year Awards were celebrating last night after receiving their prestigious prizes from entertainment icon Arlene Phillips.
The awards coincided with VQ Day, which celebrates vocational achievement with a range of activities across the UK to raise the profile of practical learning.
Ms Philips, who herself shunned a more traditional academic route to become an internationally renowned choreographer, dancer, director and television personality, helped judge the entries.
John Hayes, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, also attended the celebrations at London’s Horticulture Halls.
“Vocational qualifications deserve to be celebrated because of their importance to our economy and the difference they make to millions of Briton’s lives,” said Mr Hayes.
“They give people the skills they need to progress in employment, fueling social mobility and social justice.
“This day in the year provides a just chance to mark the importance of vocational qualifications and the achievements of those who complete them. For learners they can pave the way to advanced training, learning and employment.”
This year’s winners of the VQ Learner of the Year Awards are:
Learners of the Year under 24
- North East regional winner: Craig Biggins, Northumberland College
- North West regional winner: Jordan Foster, Salford City College
- South East regional winner Liz Bedwell, City College Brighton and Hove
- South West regional winner: Louise Dixon, Weymouth college
- East of England regional winner: Piya Das, City College Norwich
- East Midlands regional winner: Mark Taylor, South Nottingham College
- West Midlands regional winner: Danielle Bate, Solihull College
- London regional winner: Alexandros Pamnani, Croydon College
- Yorkshire and the Humber regional winner: Kara King, Barnsley College
Learner of the Year over 25
- North East regional winner: Bernie James, Gateshead College
- North West regional winner: Debbie Westwell, Preston College
- South East regional winner: Julie Bishop, City College Brighton and Hove
- South West regional winner: Paul Edmonds, McDonalds
- East of England regional winner: Johnathan Emery, College of West Anglia
- East Midlands regional winner: Stephen Shepherd, Derby College
- West Midlands regional winner: Gary Ramsden, Warwickshire College
- London regional winner: Natasha McDonald, College of Haringey Enfield and North East London
- Yorkshire and the Humber regional winner: Colin Pickup, Wakefield College
(Pictured: TV star Arlene Philips. Credit: Andrew Crimp)