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Young people and adults who excelled in education and skills training, fought the odds, gave time as volunteers, and supported their peers, were recognised at an awards ceremony at The Beck Theatre in Hayes.

Uxbridge College’s Annual Awards returned to the stage with motivational speaker Cameron Parker sharing his inspirational story and presenting prizes, including awards for employer partners working with the west London college.

Performing Arts students from Uxbridge College’s Praxis theatre at the Hayes campus also played a key part, kicking off the evening with performances of You’ll reach up and you’ll rise again and You Will Be Found by music and acting students, and a dance performance of Another Day of Sun.

Cameron talked about his life, including playing American Football with the GB Lions, becoming the first university graduate in his family, and using his dyslexia and ADD to his advantage.

His story resonated with award winners - chosen from the college’s 8,000 part-time and full-time students - and their friends and family who came with them to the celebrations.

Award winners included:

George Penn: Super Star Award (overall winner) and Star Award for Sport, Travel and Public Services - for his outstanding academic and personal performance during his two years as a student. As well as achieving top grades in his BTEC Level 3 Sports Extended Diploma, he also successfully completed a Biology A Level in his spare time and is now studying Physiotherapy at Brunel University London. He took part in boxing lessons through college, and his studies included project-managing a new sporting initiative to help overcome racial inequalities in society.

Bistrit Gurung: Star Award for School of Business - a fantastic role model achieving perfect attendance and punctuality, and the maximum grades of D*D*D* in his BTEC Level 3. Secured a place on a degree in Law LLB at the University of York where he was also awarded an international scholarship - he is originally from Nepal - worth £20,000. Also represented the college in football in the First Team at Uxbridge College.

Mamati Malekei: Star Award Winner for English Language Teaching and Foundation Studies - originally from Afghanistan, he has worked extremely hard and made great progress, passing all his exams, despite many challenges. Awarded a Jack Petchey Award for overcoming adversity, he also plays for Uxbridge College Football Academy, and has now progressed to the Level 2 Diploma in Sport and Independent Skills.

Megan Hollyoak: Star Award for Hair, Beauty, Hospitality, and Early Years - a great all rounder with excellent soft skills such as communication and teamwork, as well as high standards of technical and theoretical knowledge, and she took extra units in her Level 1 qualification. Head chef Christian Turner at her work placement at Corbin and King described her as “a pleasure to have in our kitchen” praising her interest, attitude, and understanding of food.

James Makepeace: Star Award in Performing Arts - gained a distinction in his Level 3 Extended Diploma, often producing coursework to University standard. Has shown that he can work at a highly professional level and in fact often been mistaken by outside practitioners as a working actor. Works well in teams and alone. Now progressing to study acting at the University of Wales Trinity St. David, and sure to be a success on our screens and national stages.

Rukhsar Ahmad: Gavin Taylor Bursary Award - An annual bursary of £1,000 to help support her at university - she will be studying Medicine at King’s College London. She has been at Uxbridge College for five years, starting on an ESOL course (English for Speakers of Other Languages). Resat some A level exams to get the result she needed, and also volunteered in college and in the community, including at the Fara Charity Shop in Hayes. She also did relevant work experience in a GP surgery and pharmacy.

Alana-May Brannan: Intermediate Apprentice Award - works supporting autistic adults as a Life Skills Practitioner at West London Community College Colne Lodge. Quickly established herself in her role supporting autistic adults, soon becoming a very strong team member and developing high care standards. Now progressing to the Advanced Apprenticeship at Level 3.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust: The Work Experience Employer Award - provided placements for Health and Social Care, science, and catering students, throughout the year. Created a strong induction programme, and got colleagues on board so students could spend time working in their three hospitals, including during the third wave of the pandemic.

Charlie Bighams Ltd: Apprentice employer - their apprentice is on a Mechatronics training at Level 3, which entails maintenance on mechanical and electronic equipment, in this case the company’s Park Royal kitchens. Extremely supportive to their apprentice who they give very useful feedback on.

Dylan McTaggart, HCUC Deputy CEO and Principal of Uxbridge College: “It’s been really inspiring to see so many of our students and their families once again celebrating their achievements - especially when they’ve all had so much to contend with during the pandemic.

“We’ve had some particularly impressive young people and adult learners this year, and I have no doubt they will all continue to make fantastic contributions to their communities and the world of work, as well as fulfilling their own dreams.

“Every single student is an individual, and Uxbridge College is committed to helping them find the right path to their own style of success - be it achieving a university place, getting permanent work through an apprenticeship, or gaining enough skills to join the next level of study.”

Dr Darrell DeSouza, Group Principal and CEO of HCUC, the merged college group for Uxbridge College and Harrow College, said: “This event is a fantastic opportunity to step back and see just how much our students achieve in so many ways during their time at college. Whilst Uxbridge College and Harrow College both stand in their own right as colleges, our shared goals and partnership opportunities have a value for everyone.

“I’m also very pleased to honour our employer partners from across west London, who not only support thousands of learners across the college, but join in the vital dialogue about how best to fit further and higher level training to business needs.”