Star Wars actor John Boyega, writer Malorie Blackman and TV presenter and radio DJ Reggie Yates are among the high-achieving FE alumni who received a prestigious Association of Colleges' Gold Award this year.
The college alumni were recognised for their achievements at a presentation ceremony at the House of Commons this afternoon. The awards celebrate the success of further education alumni and acknowledge the vital role that colleges play in building the foundation of successful careers. The alumni were surrounded by staff and students from their former colleges as they were presented with their AoC Gold Award by Baroness Sharp of Guildford, president of the AoC Charitable Trust.
Other recipients included England football star Jill Scott.
Boyega (pictured) said: “I am so happy to receive this AoC Gold Award and to be part of the movement of actors and artists who have gone on to do great things but who value their education.
“Thanks to the AoC Charitable Trust [for this award]. Andrew Cowan [head of creative industries] and everyone at South Thames College – you guys literally got me through the first half of my career.”
Yates said: “I have had an exciting and varied career and the support I received from City and Islington College was integral in getting me where I am today. I hope what I have achieved so far can inspire young people to develop their own vision of what they want to achieve and go for it. My teachers at City and Islington College helped make my vision a reality and I'm grateful to them for nominating me for this award."
The 2016 Gold Award winners were:
- Charleine Wain, hair & beauty salon owner and finalist in the BBC’s The Apprentice – City College Plymouth
- Jamal Edwards, digital entrepreneur and founder of youth and music-focused media platform SB.TV – Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College
- Jill Scott, professional footballer for England and Manchester City – Gateshead College
- John Boyega, actor who is best known for playing Finn in the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens – South Thames College
- John Spencer, scientist at the Southwest Research Institute – Nelson and Colne College
- Malorie Blackman, author and former children’s laureate – City Lit, London
- Niall McKenna, chef and restauranteur – Belfast Metropolitan College
- Reggie Yates, television and documentary presenter, and radio DJ – City and Islington College
Alongside the Gold Award winners, eight current college students were nominated by their colleges to become a future star in a related field:
- Bridget Galloway, 16, who is studying BTEC level 3 sport studies at Gateshead College
- Cherry Watters, 35, studying a diploma in hairdressing for cutting and styling technicians at City College Plymouth
- Connor Bradley, 23, who is studying City and Guilds NVQ level 3 professional chef programme at Belfast Metropolitan College
- Deen Goss, 16, studying level 3 creative media at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College
- Lotte Gleeson, 18, studying A levels in physics, chemistry, maths and further maths at Nelson and Colne College
- Martyna Przybycien, 18, studying A levels in media studies, photography and geography at City and Islington College
- Michael Costello, 24, studying a University of the Arts London level 3 diploma in performing and production arts at South Thames College
- Nick Hardstaff, 19, studying writing teen fiction at City Lit, London
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Photo credit: Gage Skidmore