From education to employment

Cardiff and Vale College student Whitney wins national education award

A student from Cardiff and Vale College has won a prestigious national education award at the ceremony at Central Hall Westminster in London, on Thursday 5th July 2018.

Whitney Phillips won the BTEC Award for Child and Social Care Student of the Year in recognition of their achievement in their subject. The award was presented by Jackie Rose, Principal, Leeds City Academy.

Spanning 24 categories, the eighth annual Pearson BTEC Awards were hosted by financial journalist and TV Presenter Steph McGovern, and showcased the fantastic contributions made by students and young people studying for BTECs. The ceremony was attended by the winners, their families and teachers as well as leading stakeholders from the education and business worlds.

An expert panel of 52 judges carefully considered each nominee before deciding upon a winner. Whitney was also Highly Commended in the BTEC Student of the Year category as well as the judges were so impressed by her they felt that further recognition was due.

Pearson has been the guardian of BTECs for over 30 years and during this time the qualifications have facilitated the training of work-ready candidates with the knowledge and practical skills that employers need. These hands-on vocational qualifications continue to be respected as a valuable route straight into employment, and into employment via university.

Winner biography: Whitney Phillips

Having worked for a number of years after leaving school, Whitney returned to education to undertake an adult foundation course to allow her to access a level 3 course, and then enrolled onto the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care. During the course, Whitney achieved both her maths and English GCSE qualifications, whilst gaining one of the highest grades in her cohort.

Whitney is the mother of a little boy with additional needs, and devotes her time to him very well, whilst studying, completing her 100 hours of work placement and holding down a job to provide for her son, and managing her needs. She has proved a great role model for her peers, who admired her work ethic and home environment for her child simultaneously.

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson in the UK, said:

“I want to offer my congratulations to Whitney for winning this award. The judges were hugely impressed by the quality of nominations this year and this is a fantastic achievement.

“The BTEC Awards are one of my favourite events of the year. They are a wonderful celebration, not just of the outstanding winners themselves, but of the value of the BTEC qualification to employers and universities around the world.”

Whitney Phillips said:

“The BTEC helped me achieve things that I never thought I could do, improving my life, along with my son’s life forever. This could never have happened without the support of my tutors and I will never forget the importance of this experience and everything I have gained. Now my dream of working in mental health nursing is so much closer, and I can’t wait to move onto the next chapter of my life.”

Victoria Jenkins from Cardiff and Vale College said:

“Whitney is the perfect example of what a BTEC programme can do for a learner. She has achieved more than she thought she ever would and overcome the most difficult of circumstances to obtain her dream. Proving that hard work and determination enable you to reach your goals. As she moves onto her second year in higher education, studying Mental health nursing at Cardiff University, I cannot imagine a more deserving learner for this title.”

About Pearson: Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Our mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives. For more visit

The final judging panel was comprised of –

  • Cindy Rampersaud: Senior Vice President, BTEC and Apprenticeships, Pearson
  • Colette Burgess: BTEC Teacher of the Year 2017 and Course Director, West Suffolk College
  • Derek Richardson: Vice President, Responsible Officer Quality Services & Governance, Pearson
  • Ellen Morgan: Vice President Higher Education Services, Pearson
  • Manos Kapterian: Chief Operating Officer, Core Markets, Pearson
  • Shane Mann: Managing Director, Lsect Ltd
  • Sharon Hague: Senior Vice President, Schools, Pearson

Related Articles