From education to employment

Sandwell College lecturer wins Bronze award at the 2021 BTEC Awards


The exceptional achievements of Art lecturer Rupinder Sandhu from Sandwell College were celebrated yesterday as she was awarded the prestigious BTEC Tutor of the Year 2021 Bronze Award. Her hard work and dedication were recognised at the 11th annual BTEC Awards virtual ceremony which was live-streamed yesterday and co-hosted by YouTube influencer Flex.


Rupinder was nominated by her peers for her outstanding commitment to promoting students’ wellbeing and positive mental health during lockdown. She also recorded online art video tutorials to support online classes and set up a number of workshops with external clients and organisations to motivate and inspire students.


Due to Rupinder’s dedication, art students were able to produce architectural drawings for Multistory’s Wednesbury project with Birmingham-based artist Claire Leggett, and work with artist Sophie Huckfield as part of the prestigious British Art Show 9. Rupinder’s class also hand painted Christmas baubles which were then donated to Sandwell Hospital NHS staff as a token of gratitude.


On receiving her Bronze Award Rupinder said: “I am over the moon to have been awarded this prestigious award! It still feels so surreal. I am so grateful to have been recognised for my outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the young people I work with every day at Sandwell College and externally, particularly during the pandemic. Teaching is my passion. I love to see students develop and progress within their education and to be an influential part of that is a huge privilege. I want to thank my students, colleagues, friends and family for their ongoing support.”


Sandwell College Principal Graham Pennington said:We’re all hugely proud of everything Rupinder has achieved and it’s so inspiring to see how much she gets out of all of her hard work and how generous she is in offering help to her students and peers. Lecturers like Rupinder are what makes our college a truly wonderful place to work and learn.”


Senior Vice President, BTEC and Apprenticeships at Pearson, Cindy Rampersaud, said: “2021 has been another extraordinary year for our BTEC tutors, teachers and colleges and I am delighted that we are able to come together and celebrate this year. The hard work and commitment demonstrated by our award winners, all of whom have achieved great things, during a time of unprecedented disruption, is extraordinary and I am proud we are able to celebrate their achievements.”


Nearly a million learners across the globe completed BTEC courses over the past year; the career-focused qualifications are a vital route for those pursuing careers in sectors such as IT, business, the creative industries, healthcare, engineering, construction and future industries. This is especially important as the UK responds to the global pandemic and looks to kickstart projects to speed economic recovery.


Skills Specialist at the Department for International Trade, Jonathan Ledger, added: “I must emphasise the importance of BTEC as a career-focused type of qualification and that for me is key. This is all about delivering the right skills to the right people at the right time in the right way and BTEC qualifications do just that. For me, BTEC qualifications are a game changer. They change lives and they help people improve and contribute to business and society in a big way. A huge congratulations once again to all the winners and all of the nominees.”

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