From education to employment

Cambridge Regional College student is BTEC Adult Learner of the Year

Engineering student Leigh Sessions from Cambridge Regional College has won the Outstanding Adult Learner of the Year Award at the National BTEC Awards.

The 31 year-old, described as a “truly outstanding student”, was picked from hundreds of nominees across the country to win the award.

He joined CRC to study mechanical engineering after being made redundant from the army, where he served for 12 years and saw active service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

During his two years at college he drove a lorry at night to support his wife and two young daughters, but still produced outstanding work and was involved in college life as a student governor and president of the students’ union.

The award presentations were held at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London on 7 July 2016. Nearly 1,000 nominations were received for the 19 award categories for this year’s awards, which were hosted by Radio 1 Presenter Gemma Cairney.

Ahead of the ceremony, the winners, their family, friends and nominators attended a Parliamentary reception in the House of Commons, where they met their local MP.

BTEC winner biography: Outstanding BTEC Adult Learner of the Year, Leigh Sessions

“Leigh completed a successful career in the army before deciding to embark on a career in engineering. In addition to studying full time for his BTEC Extended Diploma in Engineering at Cambridge Regional College, after college finishes, Leigh drives lorries through the night to support his family. Described by his tutors as a role model for his fellow students, Leigh showed perseverance and patience in adapting his military skills and expectations to studying with students, who are not only much younger, but have widely different life skills. He produces consistently high quality work and uses his knowledge and skills to encourage other members of his cohort to do the same.

Leigh’s passion for Engineering shines through all aspects of his college life. He represents the college at community events and open days and is persistent in his promotion of not only engineering, but STEM within both education and industry. In fact, he impressed TTP Lab Tech representatives so much that he was offered a job as a field engineer, which begins in August, shortly before Leigh starts a TTP-funded HNC in Mechanical Engineering at college.

Leigh is an inspirational student and testament to what you can achieve with hard work and dedication to your chosen field.”

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson in the UK, said: “This year’s judges were impressed by the quality and number of nominations we received but Leigh really stood out as a truly exceptional student and deserves a huge congratulations”.

Leigh said: “It’s a huge honour to win this award. Deciding to train for a new career after I left the Army was a big step but Cambridge Regional College supported me all the way. It is fantastic to be leaving with a great qualification, a new job and a new future for my family. I’d like to say a big thank you to the tutors of CRC who have given me this opportunity, my wife for always being my rock and Naomi for nominating me and believing I could win this award.”

Naomi Larner, head of engineering at CRC, said: “Leigh is an inspirational student who has produced outstanding work and been a mentor to others. He has played a very full part in college life, as a student governor and as president of the Students’ Union – at the same time working through the night as a lorry driver to support his family. We’re absolutely delighted he has won this award.”

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For more information, please contact Lynn O’Shea, Cambridge Regional College Press Officer, on 01223 418773 or email [email protected]

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