Star Awards 2017

An image showing Kay Adams presenting the night.

Pupils and students, teachers, lecturers, employers, and training providers from across Scotland and further afield gathered in Edinburgh on Friday 03 November to hear a host of success stories at the 2017 Scottish Qualifications Authority Star Awards

The ceremony, held in the city’s Assembly Rooms, was hosted by TV and radio presenter Kaye Adams and with the support of a number of sponsors, including the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership, and Skills Development Scotland.


The SQA Fellowship

An image showing Grant Ritchie being presented with his award.
Dr Janet Brown, SQA Chief Executive, and David Middleton, SQA Chair, present Grant Ritchie with the SQA Fellowship.


The SQA Fellowship was presented to Grant Ritchie, principal of Dundee and Angus College.

Joining the then Dundee College as a lecturer in 1985, Grant has overseen the growth of creative industries throughout the college, including the development of the Space Dance Centre, and the £50m redevelopment of the Gardyne campus in Dundee.

Grant has worked with SQA since the early 1990s, first as an external verifier, before going on to lead the design team for Higher National qualifications in the creative industries.  He currently chairs SQA’s College Curriculum Group. 


SQA Pride o’ Worth (Individual) – Tricia Lowe

An image showing tricia Lowe being presented with his award.
Tricia Lowe, is congratulated by Dr Janet Brown, SQA Chief Executive; John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education; and SQA Chair, David Middleton.

Tricia Lowe, an Acting Assessment Centre Manager within Angus Council’s Social Work department, was named the SQA Pride o’ Worth winner after earlier presented with the SQA Champion Award.

Tricia was nominated by her colleagues at the council, in recognition of the support she has provided many of her co-workers, helping them to build successful careers by encouraging them to undertake Scottish Vocational Qualifications.

Speaking about her colleague, Fiona Murray, SQA Coordinator at Angus Council, said of Tricia: “She has a real passion for championing qualifications. She continues to look for opportunities for staff, she’s a fantastic role model, and she has dedicated a massive part of her life to learning and development, and installs that passion in others”.


SQA Pride o’ Worth (Centre) – Muscat College

An image showing Sharifa Ahmed Al-Ghazali, Vice Dean of Muscat College in Oman,  with Dr Janet Brown, John Swinney MSP, and David Middleton.
Sharifa Ahmed Al-Ghazali, Vice Dean of Muscat College in Oman, is pictured with Dr Janet Brown, John Swinney MSP, and David Middleton.


Muscat College in Oman is one of SQA’s longest established international centres, and was named International Centre of the Year, before going on to lift the prestigious SQA Pride o’ Worth Centre award.

The college is one of the oldest further education institutions in the country, and has been delivering Scottish Qualifications Authority certificates and diplomas for over 16 years.

The college has an articulation agreement with Stirling University, allowing students that complete SQA diplomas in Computing Science, and Business and Accounting courses to progress onto years two or three of degree level programmes at the Scottish university.

Yasmeen Al-Bulushi, Dean of Muscat College, added “Our graduates are well received and perform very well in the next destinations, whether that’s in a higher education programme, or in the workplace. The feedback we have from our SQA alumni is very positive, and we are proud that our graduates, and we as a college are doing very well.”


Other winners on the night

An image of other winners on the night.

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.

Other highlights include, James O’Neill, who was named College Candidate of the Year; Jack Park, and Elle Wyatt, who were winners of the School Candidate of the Year, and Academic Excellence Awards respectively.

Susanne Arnott was named Lifelong Learner of the Year, while Roxanne Kerr received the award for Training Organisation Candidate of the Year. Teacher Audrey Diamond was the recipient of the SQA Appointee of the Year Award.

SilverNote Music project at North East Scotland College in Aberdeen won the Innovation award, and Angus Council was named Lifelong Learning Centre of the Year. The University of Strathclyde was the winner of the Partnership of the Year Award, while the Darlington-based Thermal Insulation Contracting Association was named the winner of the Centre of the Year in the Wider UK.


Entertainment and Sponsors

An image showing various entertainment on the night.

Special thanks go out to all the performers who entertained our finalists and other guests at the ceremony. Pupils from the Gaelic School of Glasgow Anna NicGriogair and Abigail Cavanagh put on spell-binding performances of the clàrsach during the drinks reception, while Conundrum from North East Scotland College, and the Boca Bellas acapella group from Boclair Academy, raised the tempo during the ceremony. 

String group Craicte Leis from Gaelic School of Glasgow, and classically-trained soprano Nicole Dickie, a sixth-year pupil from Craigholme School received standing ovations from the audience as they saw out the ceremony.

A special mention also goes out to the pupils from Castlebrae Community High School, who designed and served the delicious canapés that were served during the drinks reception.

An image showing pupils from Castlebrae Community High School.
Pupils from Castlebrae Community High School are congratulated by John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education.

SQA Star Awards 2017 - Category winners and highly commended finalists

Thanks once more go out to all our SQA Star Awards sponsors, without whom the ceremony could not take place.