From education to employment

National education awards open looking for inspiring individuals and outstanding organisations

A celebration of learners and educators across the country has opened for nominations today (22 January) to recognise learners, apprentices, educators, support staff, and institutions all over the UK.  

The Aspiration Awards, created by the educational charity and leader in vocational and technical learning NCFE, is now in its seventh year and showcases the impact further education is making across the country.

David Gallagher, Chief Executive of NCFE, said:

“There isn’t just one definition of success – from going above and beyond to exceed expectations, overcoming obstacles to achieve the unexpected, or coming up with new and innovative ways of working to help others achieve. 

“Whatever success looks like; we need your help to recognise those doing exceptional things in education. We received a record number of entries to last year’s awards – more than the previous two years combined – making it the toughest judging year yet. These awards are a reminder of the transformative power of education.

“As we celebrate our 175th anniversary throughout the remainder of this academic year, we’re looking forward to celebrating the incredible achievements and stories of the individuals and organisations that make our sector such an inspiring and impactful place to work.”  

Having grown in popularity each year, the awards now provide more opportunities for recognition than ever before. The full list of categories includes: 

  • Against All Odds 
  • Apprentice of the Year 
  • Centre of the Year 
  • Educator of the Year
  • Learner of the Year 
  • Support Staff of the Year.

A shining example of last year’s success, 16-year-old Christopher Ademola, from Salford near Manchester, won Apprentice of the Year in 2023 after being inspired by his mum and moving from Nigeria to work in the care sector.

After starting an Adult Care Worker apprenticeship at Wigan Council, Christopher went on to set up a YouTube channel – UNIFIED OSCE – alongside his mother where they share knowledge and guidance, such as around working with Alzheimer’s patients.

On winning the award, Christopher said:

“I’ve got big plans. To me, there’s nothing more satisfying or rewarding than helping people to regain or maintain their ability to perform an activity. It’s liberating and it’s life-changing.” Watch his full winner story here

Reflecting on their first meeting, Karen Bradshaw, Service Manager at Wigan Council, said:

“When I first interviewed Christopher for an apprenticeship, he stood out from the crowd. 

“He told me he had always looked out for others. His passion was to make people happy, and he wanted to make a difference to people’s lives. He told me that anything worth doing in life must benefit the people around him. His smile and kind nature shone through the whole time.” 

The application window for NCFE’s 2024 Aspiration Awards is open from now until Friday, 22 March. More details on the categories, links to the online application form, and terms and conditions can be found here

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