Star Award winners shine bright on night of celebration

Monday, 14 November

Our Pride o' Worth winners are congratulated by John Swiney MSP, Dr Janet Brown, and Graham Houston

Our Pride o' Worth winners are congratulated by Dr Janet Brown, SQA Chief Executive, John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, and Graham Houston, SQA Chairman

An apprentice community youth worker, and a partnership between one of Scotland’s top universities and dozens of Glasgow’s secondary schools, were among the big winners at this year’s Scottish Qualifications Authority Star Awards.

Jason Smith celebrates with John Swinney MSPJason Smith, a youth work apprentice with Y-Sort It in Clydebank, who recently achieved his level 2 SVQ in Youth Work and is working towards the level 3 qualification, was named Individual Pride o’ Worth winner in recognition of the dedication and commitment he has shown to young people across the community in West Dunbartonshire. Jason was earlier named Training Organisation Candidate of the Year.

Glasgow Caledonian University’s Advanced Higher Hub, a partnership with Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Funding Council, was announced as the Centre Pride o’ Worth winner, after being recognised in the Partnership of the Year category.

The Advanced Higher Hub sees sixth year pupils who would not normally have access to Advanced Higher in their school, enrol at the university campus to complete their qualifications and get a taste for university life. The 2015/16 cohort of Hub students achieved a 91% pass rate in the Advanced Higher courses, with over 80% of them going on to study at university.

The SQA Star Awards are unique, recognising both the individuals who work towards, and the organisations that deliver SQA qualifications; rewarding those that have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to learning.

This was also the first year SQA presented its new award for Promoting Inclusion. Lifting the inaugural prize was Dundee and Angus College, which impressed the judges with its Cashback Academy, which invests the proceeds from crime to improve the education employment prospects for local 18-24 year olds.

Among the other winners on the night were Natasha Kerr, a student at Ayrshire College’s Kilmarnock Campus, who was named College Candidate of the year, recognising the 800 hours of community work she does across the region’s disability sports and athletics clubs.

Former Coatbridge school pupil Erin McDermott, was announced School Candidate of the Year, rewarding her commitment to reducing educational inequality.  Earlier this year, she was chosen by the US Embassy to be part of the youth audience to hear an address from President Obama during his last visit to the UK.

Other stars on the night were Fiona Murray from Dundee who was named Lifelong Learning Candidate of the Year, and Mark Frith from Renfrewshire, who lifted the title of SQA Champion.

Cornerstone, an Aberdeen based charity that provides help and support to over 2,000 adults, young people, and children with disabilities in the north east of Scotland, was named Lifelong Learning Centre of the Year; while Perth College UHI was presented with the Innovation Award in recognition of their innovative approach to delivering a number of catering and hospitality qualifications.

This year, the International Award was on its way to Latvia, after being awarded to BA School of Business and Finance in Riga. The Award for Centre of the Year in the Wider UK and Ireland was presented to ACoP Training Ltd from Llanelli in Carmarthenshire.

Rounding out the category winners was Lyn Zambonini, who was named Appointee of the Year, and Gordon Kumar, a former pupil of James Gillespie’s High School in Edinburgh, who received the award for Academic Excellence.

Bruce Robertson OBE, and Rob Wallen are presented with their SQA Fellowships by Dr Janet Brown, and Graham Houston

Receiving SQA’s highest honour on the night, the SQA Fellowship, in recognition of their dedication to education and training, were Bruce Robertson OBE, and Rob Wallen, Principal and Chief Executive of North East College Scotland, and chair of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership.

SQA Chief Executive, Dr Janet Brown, said: “I have been overwhelmed by the great stories that I have heard from this year’s finalists and have been privileged to hear of some incredibly inspirational moving journeys. Our winners provide a shining example to us all.

“While our learners’ achievements are rightly being recognised, these success stories don’t just happen on their own. It is worth remembering the help and support of schools, colleges, employers, and training providers and the  people who give learners the guidance and encouragement they need to realise their potential. It is right that we shine a light on all our Stars tonight.

Dr Brown continued, “Sometimes the excellent work of our colleagues in schools, colleges, workplaces, and training centres, and the achievements of young people and adult learners are overlooked. But not tonight. These awards are their opportunity to shine in the spotlight."

Deputy First Minister, and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney MSP presented the Promoting Inclusion award, and both Pride o’ Worth awards. Congratulating all the winners, Mr Swinney, said “The SQA Star Awards are a fantastic way to celebrate the exceptional talent, hard work and achievements we have in Scottish education and training. I would like to congratulate all of the winners and wish them every success for the future.”

The SQA Star Awards were hosted by TV and radio presenter Kaye Adams, and is supported by a number of sponsors, including Education Scotland, the SCQF Partnership, and Skills Development Scotland.

SQA Star Awards 2016 - Winners and Highly Commended Finalists
Academic Excellence School Candidate of the Year

Winner
Gordon C Kumar, James Gillespie’s High School, Edinburgh

Highly Commended
Sam Ward, Dollar Academy
Annie Mackley, St Margaret’s School for Girls, Aberdeen

Winner
Erin McDermott, St Ambrose High School, Coatbridge

Highly Commended
Gregor Downie, Oaklands School, Edinburgh

Elise Prentice, Smithycroft Secondary School, Glasgow  

College Candidate of the Year Training Organisation Candidate of the Year

Winner
Natasha Kerr, Ayrshire College

Highly Commended
Zeki Basan, West Highland College UHI
Andrew Ferguson, SRUC Elmwood Campus

Winner
Jason Smith, Y-Sort-It, Clydebank

Highly Commended
Nadia Allan, Barnardo’s Works, Renfrewshire
Reece Young, Riddrie Training Centre, Glasgow

Lifelong Learning: Candidate of the Year Appointee of the Year

Winner
Fiona Murray, Angus Council

Highly Commended
Sheonagh Stewart, Angus Council
Ada Pagan, Edinburgh College 

Winner
Lyn Zambonini, Glasgow

Highly Commended
Ann Morgan-Thomas, Edinburgh
Jenny Williams, Fife

SQA Champion Innovation of the Year

Winner
Mark Frith, Inverclyde Council

Highly Commended
Ian Archibald, Dumfries Training Centre
Billy Hutchison, Ayrshire College

Winner
Perth College UHI

Highly Commended
Glasgow Clyde College
Dundee and Angus College

Lifelong Learning: Centre of the Year Partnership of the Year

Winner
Cornerstone, Aberdeen

Highly Commended
Fife Council, Adult Basic Education

Community Learning Development, West Dunbartonshire

Winner
Glasgow Caledonian University in partnership with Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Funding Council, Advanced Higher Hub

Highly Commended
Conservation and Traditional Skills Partnership, Edinburgh
Clyde Built Engineering Partnerships, Glasgow Clyde College

International Centre of the Year Centre of the Year in the wider UK and Ireland

Winner
BA School of Business & Finance, Latvia

Highly Commended
LCCI Nepal

Winner
ACoP Training Limited, Carmarthenshire

Highly Commended
Collins Training, Nottinghamshire

Promoting Inclusion

Winner
Dundee and Angus College

Highly Commended
Craigroyston High School, Edinburgh
West Highland College UHI

Pride o’ Worth (Centre) Pride o’ Worth (Individual)

Glasgow Caledonian University in partnership with Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Funding Council, Advanced Higher Hub
Jason Smith, Y-Sort-It, Clydebank
SQA Fellowship SQA Fellowship

Bruce Robertson OBE

Rob Wallen