From education to employment

Student success celebrated at Cardiff and Vale College Annual Awards 2022

Cardiff and Vale Collegehas celebrated the hard work, success and progression of its learners in the first live, on campus Annual Awards ceremony since the pandemic.

Hundreds of attendees from across the spectrum of local business, education partners and the community joined learners, their friends and families for the CAVC Annual Awards 2022. The glittering event was held in the College’s City Centre Campus and was hosted by broadcaster, journalist and CAVC alumni Jason Mohammad.

Showcasing highlights of the 2021-22 academic year (see full list of winners below), the awards also illustrate the unique experiences and progression opportunities CAVC has to offer.

All of the students recognised on the evening have either won national or regional competitions in their chosen disciplines; progressed into apprenticeships and employment with renowned companies; gained places in subject leading universities or performed exceptionally in their studies.

Cardiff and Vale College Principal Sharon James said: “The CAVC Annual Awards is always one of the main highlights of my year and to be able to welcome you back to have the ceremony live and in person for the first time in two years makes extremely special. But what it makes it all the more special is the amazing things you award winners have achieved despite learning, developing and progressing during a pandemic – I’m extremely proud of you all.”

CAVC Group Principal Kay Martin said: “The achievements of the award winners have been absolutely incredible. I would like congratulate them all – the brilliant students and apprentices and the talented and hard-working staff who have supported them to achieve so much.

“It is a privilege to be part of an organisation that provides learning opportunities to so many. Learning changes lives; sometimes subtly, other times it can be huge and life-changing. But it always makes a difference, as these awards show.”

The level of achievement against the odds was such that no overall Learner of the Year could be chosen. Instead, two were chosen – A Levels Award winner Annis Wiltshire and Apprenticeship Award winner Omer Waheed.

A student of exceptional ability, Annis achieved an A* in Classics and History, an A in Chemistry and a Distinction 1 in the Scholars Programme qualification. Their high level of achievement was rewarded in September when Annis was accepted at Wadham College, Oxford, to study Classics.

“I was very surprised when I found out that I had received the awards and I am very grateful to everyone at the College,” Annis said.

“I loved being at CAVC and honestly I really miss it! Coming back for the awards reminded me of how much I enjoyed studying here.”

Annis enjoyed studying A Levels at CAVC.

“I think the people I met were the best thing about my course, in particular my tutors Danny and Emma who supported me so much throughout my time at College, and are probably what I miss most now that I am university.

“There is no way I would be where I am now without CAVC – both in the help I received in my A Levels and university application, but also the support I got from my tutors and the ALN department in regards to my wellbeing. I am very grateful to everyone at the College how helped me.”

Apprenticeship Award winner Omer Waheed is a real ambassador for what can be achieved through career-focused learning at College and in an apprenticeship. After starting on a Level 2 Vehicle Body Repair course, he quickly secured an apprenticeship and completed three years of study.

During that time Omer won two Skills Competition Wales awards and one WorldSkills UK award – seeing him recognised as among the best new talent in the country in his country. Omer now works for Davies Motor Company in Cardiff, which deals with prestige vehicles such as Bentleys and Aston Martins.

“I feel absolutely lost for words!” Omer said. “It was a surprise – I knew I was getting one but the second was an absolute shock. It just feels like I’ve been doing something right!”

Omer thoroughly enjoyed his time at CAVC.

“The facilities and the tutors were the most important thing about my course,” he explained. “They made it a pleasure to work – it was almost like being at home. The practical side of the course was what I enjoyed the most.

“I’m now working for Davies Motor Company – that was the first ever employment I had. The College has absolutely helped me – if it wasn’t for the College I wouldn’t have won these awards.”

The Construction Award was one by a fellow WorldSkills UK competitor, Dylan Dumbleton. Level 2 Plastering apprentice Dylan excels in both the theory and practical elements of his course.

Successful in the regional heats of the SkillBuild competition earlier this year, Dylan accumulated enough points to qualify for the WorldSkills UK Finals which were held in Edinburgh last month. 

“I feel good about winning this award,” Dylan said. “It’s an achievement for everyone who has won one. I’m proud – it’s an accomplishment.

“My course has been good. It’s been good to meet new people. It’s just good to be in College and have people around you who are doing the same thing. The lecturers were all really good and very helpful.”

The experience of taking part in national skills competitions was a bonus.

“Competing in WorldSkills UK was good fun and I made new friends,” Dylan said. “I’m still speaking to a couple of the others who were there. Taking part really was an accomplishment for me.”

Dylan believes his time at CAVC has put him on the right path for the future.

“Eventually I would like to set up my own business,” he explained. “The College is very, very definitely helping me achieve my ambitions.”

Chamali Wickramaarchchige won the Public Services Award.

Chamali moved to the UK several years ago, not knowing anyone other than her husband. Despite initially lacking in self-confidence, Chamali went on to prove what she was capable of, with her excellent work achieving a Distinction.

Being at the College also gave her the confidence to learn to drive, passing first time. Her tutors said that Chamali is shining example of what conquering your fears can do, adding that if could bottle and sell her humility and respect and it would make a fortune.

“Winning this award is amazing,” Chamali said. “I’m very proud and very happy about myself.

Despite finding it all a bit daunting at first, Chamali quickly got into the flow.

“I really enjoyed my course,” she said. “I returned to my studies after a long time and I really enjoyed it. I liked the younger students and all of the staff.

“I came back to education because I thought it would be good to get more qualifications so I could go for a good job, so the College seemed like the right place.”

Chamali soon settled in to CAVC life.

“In the first year I took part in the Netball Academy, which I really enjoyed, and we did lots of outdoor activities and I really enjoyed that as well.”

She has ambitions to join the public services.

“I would like to join the police,” Chamali said. “The College has really, really helped me and it’s still helping me now.

“I was a totally different person when I started. Coming back to education was a big step for me and I was very nervous. I was also the only darker and older student but everyone was welcoming and very friendly.”

Former student Tom Caple was one of the CAVC Family Award winners. Well known in the College for his achievements in the Rugby Academy, Tom led the team to winning the Welsh Rugby Union Schools and Colleges Cup in 2021.

Jack Boston was an Alumni Award winner. A former student on what was then CAVC’s Foundation Degree in Music Technology, Jack has forged his own career in the music industry and is now main recording engineer at Rockfield Studios – famous for recording Queen, Oasis, Iggy Pop and Black Sabbath to name a few.

College partners organisations FinTech Wales, Football Class Academy, Ministry of Life Education, Dow Chemicals and Transport for Wales were also celebrated for their innovative approaches and outstanding commitment to education and training.

Cardiff and Vale College would like to thank the University of Wales for sponsoring the event ensuring the event could celebrate learner achievement in style.

Award winnerCategoryCourse
Lucy HughesAccessAccess to Nursing and Midwifery
Jacob ScottAerospaceLevel 3 Enhanced Aeronautical Engineering
Annis WiltshireA LevelsA Levels
Jarred SullivanArt, Design and MultimediaLevel 3 Creative Media Production and Technology
Keighton-Leigh MorganAutomotiveLevel 2 Heavy Vehicle Apprenticeship
Tahira KhalidBakeryLevel 3 Bakery, Patisserie and Confectionery
Nikita WheelerBeauty and Complementary TherapyLevel 3 Theatrical, Special Effects, Hair and Media
Aram ElbadianBuilding ServicesLevel 2 Wall and Floor Tiling
Hanifah SalamBusinessLevel 3 Business Administration
Maisha HaqueChildcare and Early YearsLevel 3 Children’s Care, Play, Learning and Development
Dylan DumbletonConstructionLevel 2 Plastering Apprenticeship
Sudhuf KhanEducation and TrainingPGCE
Mitchell PerrettEngineeringLevel 2 Apprenticeship in Performing Manufacturing Operations
Mina MahtabESOLESOL+ Business Administration
Shirin TalebiESOLESOL+ Business Administration
Samuel HowellsHairdressingLevel 2 Barbering
Sarah HartHealth and CareFoundation Degree in Youth and Social Care
McKenzie SkuseHospitality and CateringLevel 3 Hospitality
Grace LewisITLevel 3 Computing
Mehmet OngunPerforming ArtsLevel 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts
Ocean CottyPreparation for Work, Life and LearningVocational Access Gateway
Chamali WickramaarachchigePublic ServicesLevel 3 Public Services
Josh BrownSportLevel 3 Extended Diploma in Sport
Megan CurtisTravel and TourismLevel 3 Travel and Tourism
Faye SahoAdult and Community AwardFamily Learning
Omer WaheedApprenticeship ~AwardLevel 3 Vehicle Body Repair Apprenticeship
Mollie DainesJunior Apprenticeship AwardJunior Apprenticeship in Hair and Beauty
Annabel LegerHigher Education AwardBEng (Hons) Aircraft Engineering
Rosalie (Yuncong Li)International AwardA Levels
Grace McDonaldBilingual Learner AwardLevel 3 Children’s Care, Play, Learning and Development
Ffion LlewellynOutstanding Commitment to the Welsh Language AwardA Levels
Lucas De La RuaPerformance Sport AwardRugby Academy
FinTech WalesBusiness and Partner Award 
Football Class AcademyBusiness and Partner Award 
Ministry of Life EducationBusiness and Partner Award 
Dow ChemicalsBusiness and Partner Award 
Transport for WalesBusiness and Partner Award 
Saffron Vanderkolk-PellowCAVC Family AwardA Levels
Tom CapleCAVC Family AwardA Levels
Tegan FrizelleCAVC Family AwardA Levels
Jack BostonAlumni AwardFoundation Degree in Music Technology
Annis WiltshireOverall Learner of the Year AwardA Levels
Omer WaheedOverall Learner of the Year AwardLevel 3 Vehicle Body Repair Apprenticeship

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