Aspiring stars shine at Student of the Year Awards

Fri 06 Jun 2014

MK College Student of the YearA budding makeup artist with her sights set on the big time has been named Milton Keynes College Student of the Year at last night’s ceremony.

Zoe Kennedy, who is studying for her Level Three in Make-Up Artistry this summer, received high praise from her tutors, senior college staff and her peers alike in the build up to her award. Her personal tutor, Tara Conway said, “This young lady has gratefully received every opportunity she has been given, Zoe is a great example of an outstanding MK College learner.”

This award, kindly supported by the overall sponsor of the night, Circle IT, will only add to a long list of achievements for this ambitious student. Her transferable skills have landed her some impressive working opportunities outside the classroom too. After her natural flare was noticed from afar she landed the opportunity to act as head makeup artist for an Yves Saint Laurent lipstick campaign, as well as working alongside an elite makeup team at London Fashion Week. In addition to the above, this year Zoe was recognised for her outstanding achievement in the VQ (Vocational Qualification) Learner of The Year Award, 2014 for the South East.

She said - “The thing about MK College is that yes, they teach you how to physically do the job, but also it’s the guidance on how to be “industry ready” – that is so valuable to me. Every hint and tip I’ve picked up from my tutors I use every day. The support has been fantastic.”  Earlier in the night Zoe had picked up the award as the winner in the Creative Industries category before being crowned the overall winner of the evening.

What is next for Zoe? “I’ve got a job for a high end cosmetic company all lined up for the summer, before I then go out on my own to climb the ladder within the industry as a freelancer. I’m so excited”.

Another winner from the evening was Jacob Reid, 18, who picked up the Sports Science Award, sponsored by POWRX UK, while studying for a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport.  When asked about the support he has received from the college he simply said with a beaming smile – “Top class”.  After three years of studying at MK College Jacob will head off to Kent University in September with the hope of becoming a Physiotherapist after studying for a Master’s degree.

Each winner had a unique success story of their journey to the winners’ podium, but they all had one thing in common and that was determination to go that step further.

A total of twenty-five awards were presented on the night which was punctuated with a number of imaginative and impressive student performances ranging from street dance to Classical cello, a gospel hymn, contemporary dance and an acoustic set from Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Bailey McConnell.  Bailey treated the audience to an exclusive first ever outing for a song he had written about his time on the talent show entitled “Now or Never.”  The food was prepared and served by the catering students and staff who are also the team behind the popular onsite The Brasserie restaurant.

College Principal, Dr Julie Mills, accompanied by Deputy Nick Isles, said, “This has been a breakthrough year for the College, our results this year, will be the best they have ever been. With more students passing more qualifications, getting better jobs, and better degree offers than ever before”.

When touching on the College’s valuable partnerships within the city itself, Dr Mills said, “What strikes me every year as I review and prepare for this event, is what an amazing city Milton Keynes is. If there’s something right for the city, the city will pull together to deliver it.”  Dr Mills went on to say how the “shared visions and shared ambitions” with these partners ensure that the College can continue to “give people careers and ensure their futures.”

Among the other awards were:
Lucy Simms - Care Professions Award (sponsored by PJ Care)
A mature student and mother of four who received the Care Professions Award for her “life- changing” work while studying for her Level Three Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care said – “This has changed my life, as a mature student I just had no idea what to expect coming back in to education, because I have a family as well, but the tutors have always given me the support when I’ve needed it, as well as the other students making me feel like one of them.” Lucy juggles a busy home and student life and is excited for the future after landing a place at Northampton University and in September will go on to study midwifery.

Michael New – Outstanding Achievement in Sport Award – (Sponsored by Milton Keynes Council).
Basketball player Michael, 18 was thrilled to learn of his award however almost missed the boat after his father, also named Michael, opened the letter thinking it was for him.  Michael’s father also happens to be the College’s Basketball director and head coach. The student said, “The first year was a challenge for me, but I think you have to have a good mix of self-motivation and a want to succeed and you’ll do great. If you want it enough, the College will support you.” The sporting student has been named the national Elite Academies Basketball League (EABL) player of the week four times this year and is ranked as the top scorer in the UK at thirty points per game.  He is currently waiting to hear if he will go to the US on a sport scholarship.

The 2014 Awards comprise:


•         Service industries; Sponsor: Spirit Group    Winner: Ellen Heavey
•         Music & Performing Arts; Sponsor: MK Orchestra    Winner: Jake Wong
•         Higher Education/Learning Skills; Sponsor: Aspers    Winner: David Hilliard
•         Leadership & Business; Sponsor: Santander    Winner: Leah Worth
•         Sports Science; Sponsor: POWRX UK    Winner: Jacob Reid
•         Creative Industries; Sponsor: MK Citizen    Winner: Zoe Kennedy
•         Construction & the Built Environment; Sponsor: Vinci    Winner: Boris Walderston
•         Sports Leadership Academy; Sponsor: MK Dons SET    Winner: Bethany Taylor
•         Learning Difficulties & Disabilities; Sponsor: Andrew Peck    Winner: Sam Harmes
•         Engineering & Technology; Sponsor: Niftylift    Winner: Saad & Fahad Javed
•         Community & Employment; Sponsor: MK Community Foundation    Winner: Maddison &
          Melody Slade
•         Enterprise Award; Sponsor: MK Business Leaders    Winner: Flowers in Arms
•         Apprentice of the Year; Sponsor: Chris & Sons    Winner: Hollyjane Jones
•         Academic Studies; Sponsor: Kingston Smith    Winner: Christina Avoumado
•         Computing & IT; Sponsor: Mirus IT    Winner: Amber Franklin
•         Offender Learning; Sponsor: Tribal Publishing    Winner: Phillip Purcell
•         School Links/Under 16; Sponsor: Blum    Winner: Shanine Prince
•         Public Services; Sponsor: Think Alumni    Winner: Harry Roberts
•         Care Professions; Sponsor: PJ Care    Winner: Lucy Simms
•         Outstanding Achievement in Sport; Sponsor: MK Council    Winner: Michael New

Awards made by outside bodies:

• MK Community Foundation Adams Engineering Prize sponsored by David & Jennifer Adams and won by David Maynard
• MKGU Rotary Bursary Awards sponsored by MKGU Rotary Club and won by Keith Prestidge

The evening’s entertainment in the form of the student performances were sponsored by Jardine Michelson Public Relations.  Three staff awards, chosen by the students themselves, were kindly sponsored by Protocol:

• Students’ Choice – Support Staff Member – Chloe Phillipson, Youth Team Worker    
• Students’ Choice – Teacher of the Year – Campus – Will Alleyne, Music Lecturer
• Students’ Choice – Teacher of the Year - Offender Learning – Geoff Sykes, Catering & Hospitality Lecturer

Special non-teaching awards went to:

• Jackie Eadie & Jeannette Williams for their outstanding and much-loved service in the Atrium coffee bar at the Chaffron Way Campus
• David Hill, Milton Keynes Council Chief Executive, for his unstinting support of the College

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