Olympian at Weston College celebration of success evening
By Carol_Deacon | Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 14:08
AN Olympic gold medallist inspired hundreds at a night of star-studded success celebrated at Weston College's annual student awards evening.
Dra Pun with Amy Williams MBE and Weston College chair of governors Jude Ferguson
Emma Rogers who took the Principal's award for Outstanding Achievement
Ian Banwell, took the Principal's Award for Student Entrepreneur of the Year
Amy Williams MBE who won Gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada spoke to staff, employers, governors, sponsors, family and friends at the town's Winter Gardens on Thursday.
The audience all enjoyed a three-course meal and entertainment from the College's Performing Arts department then saw winning students receive their awards.
The 30-year-old skeleton bob racer said: "Nothing is impossible.
"You can dream about something or you can go out and do it.
"When I was chosen as a reserve in the 2006 Olympics I was determined to take part in the next.
"I spent four years training in the gym three times a day. I've kept books of my training that go back 15 years of my life.
"I went to bed at 10pm every night, even Christmas and New Year eve's in order to achieve my goal and I hope you all go on to achieve yours."
She heard success stories from all walks of College life, including many students who had fought against the odds to achieve great things.
One of the evening's highest fliers was Emma Rogers who took the Principal's award for Outstanding Achievement.
Emma, 20, started an Apprenticeship with Weston College in April 2010.
She left in December to have her son and returned in February to complete her Level 2 Beauty course and won her first UK WorldSkills heat.
She scooped two WorldSkills rounds and then gold at the International final and as the top beautician in the UK is training to represent the United Kingdom in Germany this year.
Emma, of Nylands, near Cheddar, has just opened her own shop, Beauty by Emma, said: "Every time I win something it's a great surprise but it inspires me to go on to the next thing.
"I didn't do well as school because I am dyslexic but I found what I was good at and loved.
"My business is really successful and it's thanks to the training and support I've had at Weston College."
Higher Education Student of the Year, Dipendra Pun, who is studying a Foundation Degree in Uniformed Public services.
He has joined University Officer Training Course and aims to go to Sandhurst as an officer.
The 19-year-old came over from Nepal in 2005.
His father and both his grandfathers were in the British Army.
As well as his studies Dipendra set up and runs a youth football team for the Nepalese community.
He said: "I came from Swindon to an open evening at Weston College and I've really enjoyed my time here. There are fantastic opportunities and support."
Laurence Frappell, 19, of The Elms, Nailsea, won the Care and Early Years Student of the Year and is now studying to become a nurse at university.
Overcoming shyness Laurence became an Ambassador for the College and gave a speech at the end of the evening to more than 300 who attended.
He said: "I couldn't talk to five people once and now I can't believe I'm giving a speech to hundreds. I struggled at school but coming here completely changed my life."
Travel and Tourism student, Ian Banwell, took the Principal's Award for Student Entrepreneur of the Year.
Ian, 18, of Broadcroft Avenue, Claverham, runs a flourishing coach business which he started at 13. He now has six staff and a client base of 4,500 people who go on his coach trips across the UK and Europe, despite the fact he can't drive himself.
The College's Aspire Student of the Year is 42-year-old Amanda Williams of McFarlane Close, Weston.
The mum-of –three had never worked and lost her confidence.
She went on the Aspire course and is now working as a care assistant
She said: "I was very bored and very timid. I went on every course available here, then wrote to 50 employers with my CV and got six interviews in one week.
"I started work last May and I absolutely love it.
Her manager Mandy Timmins, of Innisfree Residential Home, added: "When we met we just clicked and she is a fantastic person to work with. I'm really proud of her."
Music student of the Year, Courtney Dove, 21, of The Swallow, Locking Castle, left her family in Cambridge to attend the Extended Diploma in Music Course.
She's achieved a triple distinction, has her own band and recording her own songs.
"It's been great coming to Weston College. I hope to be a songwriter and performer."
The Employer Awards category saw local businesses involvement praised for their commitment to training and outstanding business partnerships with the College.
Construction specialist BGH Training won Outstanding Business Partnership for their excellent success rates and exemplary attitude with College Apprentices.
Duets Restaurant in the town won the Outstanding Commitment to Training.
Owner Sean O'Flaherty was commended for his great teaching who also challenged his apprentices to improve their culinary skills and knowledge.
Dr Paul Phillips, Weston College Principal, said: "With 27,000 enrolments, 30 A Levels, more than 100 vocational courses and an expected turnover next year of nearly £45 million we are the best in the west.
"This has been a fantastic night and every single winner has been a worthy one.
"We celebrate the hard work, dedication and talent of our students across all areas of the College and aim to continue and expand the excellent partnerships we've developed with local businesses and organisations."
Celebration of Success sponsors included: Alliance Homes, The Royal Hotel, Bray and Slaughter, Doubletree by Hilton Cadbury House, Honeyfield Property Services, McDonald's, Pearson, Sedgemoor Publicity, Trowbridge Office Cleaning Services and Weston-super-Mare Football Club, Arturus Architects, Cadbury Garden and Leisure, Integral UK Ltd, M&O Training, Pace, Printing.com, Signs now.