Three adult students from Sandwell College are celebrating award wins for their outstanding commitment and determination to their studies during lockdown.
The winners of the West Midlands Open College Network Awards were nominated by their tutors for their impressive achievements in the face of difficult and emotional personal circumstances.
– Anthony Chinembiri, who has gained maximum grades while studying Access to Social Sciences, won the Outstanding Achievement Award.
He said: “My family members are all studying in Higher Education and said you can do it. They saw something in me which I myself didn’t. The Access course has opened doors for me really and I’m actually enjoying studying. I want to go and do Psychology and Criminology together, so I’m going into teaching. I would highly recommend this course especially for people who haven’t been in education for a long time.”
– Amy Cooper won the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award for accomplishing Distinction grades throughout her Access to Health Professionals course and for a Double Award at undergraduate level – all during her maternity leave!
Amy, who aspires to become a paramedic, had just given birth to a baby girl and was on maternity leave from her security systems office job.
She said: “When I found out I won, I actually didn’t believe it was true! Then Mandy called me and her first word was ‘Congratulations’ and I was so overwhelmed that I actually cried! It’s not often I’m proud of myself, but in that moment, I truly was! All my hard work has paid off!
“It’s a lot of work, a lot of sacrifice, but when you’re an adult learner that’s what you have to do, and it’s so worth it in the end. I did pretty much the whole course online from home, having a young baby, but because of swapping to Zoom lessons, the support has been unreal. The support, the learning, the understanding that they have for your personal circumstances, everything all in one is why I recommend it 100 per cent.”
– Nicola Marr won the Outstanding Commitment to Study Award as she also achieved Distinctions in all of her Access to Health Professionals coursework.
Nicola said: “I was nominated by my tutor as I never asked for extensions, and I had a lot of personal stuff going on at the time so she thought I deserved the award. From January until now we’ve done all our college work and teaching online and it’s been exactly the same as it would have been in class. All the teachers have been very supportive and there’s been no change in the support that you’d receive from any of the lecturers.”
Head of Section, Justine Williams, said: “I am so proud not only of the students but of the staff and their hard work and commitment to these students and their groups during lockdown. Their consistent professionalism and positive outlook have not only supported these students to success, but all the Access provision. There were 50 centres in the country who nominated their students for 10 awards, and we received three which is an amazing achievement for the students and staff.”