Taking pride in our success is so worthwhile

Wed 11 Jun 2014

Education is the ultimate treadmill, but one which is so fulfilling it’s hard to step off.  For our students, every piece of work they do is a step along the way to their ultimate goal of successful study and a career.  For the staff, it’s a constant round of lesson planning, teaching, marking and assessing, not to mention updating their own knowledge and skills, all leading towards helping the students in their care achieve their dreams.  Each academic year has a rhythm from welcoming new members of our community, getting them settled in and working effectively, through to final exams and results.  Then it all starts over again.

This is why Students of the Year is so important.  It is the beacon moment, the reddest of red letter days, because it reminds us of what we are all here for; to achieve excellence in providing teaching and learning opportunities in a safe, happy nurturing environment, and to celebrate that same excellence, talent and hard work among our students.

A perfect example is Zoe Kennedy who won the award for Creative Industries and was also named the overall Student of the Year (sponsored by Circle IT).  Zoe is a makeup artist and she is already proving that the kinds of skills and training available from a Further Education College like Milton Keynes can lead to exciting, fulfilling careers.  On top of all her successes here (and they are many) she has already worked as head makeup artist for an Yves Saint Laurent lipstick campaign, and been part of an elite makeup team at London Fashion Week, not to mention being named 2014 Vocational Qualification Learner of the Year for the South East of England. 

Then there’s eighteen year old Michael New, who won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Sport (sponsored by MK Council).  Michael is top scorer in the UK for his age group at thirty points a game and has been named Elite Academies Basketball League (EABL) player of the week four times in 2014.  He’s hoping to win a scholarship to a US university on the back of his success.  However, he wouldn’t even have made the team if he didn’t keep up with his studies.  It’s an unbreakable rule that if the students want to play they have to work too on top of their training.  His commitment and that of his teammates is exceptional.

Students don’t make a college on their own.  It was brilliant to be able to give awards to staff members too, like Will Alleyne, a music lecturer who the students chose as the Campus Teacher of the Year (sponsored by Protocol).  Will is a perfect example of the kind of exciting and engaging teacher who has a wealth of experience in the real world of music production and performance and knows how to get that across to his students.

I’ve deliberately given a name check to some of our sponsors from the event because our job as a college is not just to give education and training to people, it’s also to ensure that we’re providing the workforce this growing city needs.  Our relationships with these and so many other companies is about far more than one night of the year.  We are constantly looking to forge new partnerships, whether to provide tailor-made apprenticeships or specific courses designed to help fill whatever skills gap there might be.

We’re just entering our busy (aren’t they all) recruitment phase now and will be going out and about to all kinds of summer events in the city, answering questions and handing out prospectuses.  But it’s not just about “getting them in.”  Now is the time when young people need the right advice.  They need to know not just what courses are on offer but what they will lead to, and in particular the careers in which they will give students a head start.

And so the treadmill comes round again.  Very soon, more hopeful, excited, perhaps even apprehensive students as yet unknown to us will come through the doors, waiting to have their potential developed, their talents unleashed and their futures shaped.  Among them there will be stars and of course a future Student of the Year.  The beauty of it is, the potential is there and at this point, it could be any of them.

Back to all articles