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College Staff and Student Recognised for Prestigious National Aspiration Awards

Posted: 7th May 2024 - 4:22pm

Three dedicated individuals from across the College are representing Loughborough, as they have been nominated for the esteemed NCFE Aspiration Awards.

The NCFE Aspiration Awards are renowned for honouring the success of learners, apprentices, educators, support staff, and educational organisations from across the UK. In this year’s shortlist, we are proud to see three outstanding individuals from Loughborough College representing a diverse range of fields and accomplishments.

Learner Bethany Hands, lecturer Deborah Spiers, and EDI Manager Dannii Donovan have all been nominated for titles in Learner of the Year, Educator of the Year, and Support Staff of the Year respectively.

Curriculum Manager for Caring Services, Sharon Geary-Neal, nominated Bethany who last year reached the national finals of the WorldSkills UK Health and Social Care Competition. “Bethany’s unwavering commitments to academic excellence is one of the many reasons she deserves this award,” said Sharon. “She has showcased outstanding leadership skills, and her willingness to support others embodies her qualities as a true leader.”

Beyond life at Loughborough College, Bethany has undertaken a placement at a residential care home for service users with dementia. Sharon added, “It’s this ability to show care and empathy for the service users that reflects her genuine commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of others.”

Across the other categories, Deborah Spiers was nominated for Educator of the Year. Her nominator, Advanced Practitioner for Hospitality and Travel, Elizabeth Gensler said, “Deborah brings her expertise and enthusiasm to her role. Every year she produces successful graduates...and runs her classroom with friendliness, professionalism, and clarity. Deborah makes learners believe in themselves."

In the Support Staff of the Year category, EDI Manager Dannii Donovan was shortlisted for the finals.  Her nomination cited her “steadfast dedication to fostering inclusivity, promoting wellbeing, and championing the values that underpin the ethos of Loughborough College.” Alongside her own work, Dannii’s nomination also praised her pioneering pet therapy initiative, which saw cockerpoo Mylie act as the first therapy dog in further education in the UK.

The Aspiration Awards, organised by NCFE, an educational charity and leader in vocational and technical learning, celebrate individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment, resilience, and achievement in education and training.

Last year, Loughborough College T Level learner and volunteer first responder Harry took home the prestigious Learner of the Year title.