A galaxy of Highland stars shine at SQA awards ceremony

Manon Robinson
Depute Head Teacher Mr Iain Fulton and Glen Urquhart High School pupil Manon Robinson who was Highly Commended in the School Candidate of the Year category.

Issued by SQA

A trainee plumber from Fort William, a photography student from Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye, a high achieving school pupil from Inverness, and Highland Council’s learning and development centre were amongst those recognised at this this year’s Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) Star Awards.

William Grant, an apprentice plumber from Fort William, was Highly Commended in the Training Organisation Candidate of the Year Award category. William’s approach to work saw a dramatic change for the better after he received support from the Employment and Development Team at West Highland College. They helped him complete a SQA National 3 Employability Award and he is now a valued member of the team at Morrison Plumbing and Heating Engineers.

Danielle Stewart, from Kyleakin, was Highly Commended in the College Candidate of the Year category. Danielle is a mum of two young children who followed her passion for photography and self-funded her studies. She successfully completed the Higher Photography course and has sold her photography at an exhibition in Portree.

High achieving Glen Urquhart High School pupil Manon Robinson was Highly Commended in the School Candidate of the Year category after achieving seven Highers in the past year. Manon’s desire to learn was evident when she undertook Higher French and Higher German, despite already studying for five Highers. Manon also found time to play school football, and coach younger pupils on the school’s junior teams.

Highland Council’s Learning and Development Assessment Centre were recognised for helping make education accessible to council staff and other local employers across the Highland region. They were Highly Commended in the Lifelong Learning Centre Award category. Based in Inverness, they have encouraged people aged 15-73 to undertake a number of SQA qualifications.

The SQA Star Awards are unique, recognising both the individuals who work towards and the organisations that deliver SQA qualifications; rewarding those that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to learning.

Receiving SQA’s highest honour on the night, the SQA Fellowship, in recognition of his dedication to providing great learning and teaching, was Grant Ritchie, principal of Dundee and Angus College. Before becoming principal, Grant developed creative industries in the college and worked with SQA on developing the Higher National Certificate and Diploma courses in the Creative Industries.

SQA Chief Executive, Dr Janet Brown, said: “I have been overwhelmed by the dedication of our winners and have been privileged to hear moving stories of learning journeys. Our winners are an inspiration to us all!

“The SQA Star Awards shine a light on the incredible support provided to learners by teachers, lecturers, schools, colleges, employers, and training providers, encouraging them to reach their potential, and it is right that we give our exceptional centres the recognition they truly deserve.

Dr Brown continued: “This evening the excellent work of our colleagues in schools, colleges, workplaces, and training centres, and the achievements of young people and adult learners have been recognised, and we are delighted to shine a spotlight on their success.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “These awards are a wonderful opportunity to recognise the hard work and achievement of people across Scotland, and of our education and training providers.

“It is absolutely right that we should celebrate these achievements which demonstrate the best in Scottish education and training. I would like to congratulate all the winners and wish them every success for the future.”

The SQA Star Awards ceremony was hosted by TV and radio presenter Kaye Adams, and is supported by a number of sponsors, including the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership, and Skills Development Scotland.

7 Nov 2017
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