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WQE College reveals Purple Plaque to celebrate former student

WQE College (@wqecollege) hosted an event on 15th November to celebrate former student, Kate Parkinson, who has won the prestigious Women in Innovation Award from Innovate UK by unveiling a purple plaque in her honour on the college site.

The purple plaque is Innovate UK’s twist on the blue plaques seen in the UK. Purple plaques are being displayed at schools across the country to recognise the achievements of some of the female innovators who have won its prestigious Women in Innovation Award. The Award also sees recipients receive a cash injection of £50,000 and bespoke mentoring to scale up and bring to market their pioneering business ideas.

Currently, just 14% of blue plaques in the UK celebrate the achievements of women. This highlights a national issue of the under-representation of women in the media, the workplace and in the education system, resulting in a lack of relatable role models for children and young people.

Innovate UK hopes the plaque will inspire students at the college to follow in Kate’s footsteps.

Kate won the Women in Innovation Award this year with her idea to create virtual reality training for journalists who work in high risk and hostile locations. Kate was inspired to innovate media training when her cameraman, and now husband, was seriously injured while they were reporting on the civil war in Libya. She founded Head Set, with fellow foreign correspondent Aela Callan, and together they are creating immersive training solutions that help journalists, and others with high-risk and high-stress jobs, better prepare and build key skills in resilience.

Kate is one of a network of 64 Women in Innovation Award winners who are developing pioneering innovations to tackle pressing societal, environmental, and economic challenges; from delivering precision medicine to underrepresented populations, to offering eco-friendly materials for the aerospace industry and creating cutting-edge digital educational tools.

Kate Parkinson said:

“I’m so excited to be recognised in this way. College played such a big part in setting me on my journey and I want to help the next generation realise their ambitions. It’s critical that young people have strong role models to follow and I’m humbled to be recognised in this way – I hope it helps other young women with dreams of starting their own business to have the confidence to give it a shot.”

Paul Wilson, Principal of WQE College said:

“We want our students to be ambitious and to realise their potential, just like Kate. This plaque will be a continuing reminder to everyone here of what they can achieve if they set their mind to it and we hope that sharing the details of Kate’s journey will continue to provide inspiration to others. We’re delighted to recognise Kate’s achievements and are grateful that she has been so willing to remain in touch to inspire others in the future. We are excited to follow what comes next”.

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