Star students took to the stage in the annual Bedfordshire Achievement Ceremony hosted by The Bedford College Group.
A cast from Performing Arts wowed the audience with a set of the song This is Me before guest speaker, international author Ruth Hogan stepped up in style.
She told the audience: “Education is a gift but you are the magic ingredient.”
Ruth explained how many subjects she found boring at school had proved useful in her later career as a best selling author. But the route to her success had not been an easy one and her million-selling book The Keeper of Lost Things was only written when she was undergoing treatment for cancer.
She presented the certificates to those who joined the awards ceremony at the Bedford Corn Exchange alongside The Bedford College Group Principal and CEO Ian Pryce CBE.
Said Ian: “We celebrate the first full year of The Bedford College Group formed by the merger with Tresham College in August 2017. The event is made possible by the generous support of the BedfordBID (Business Improvement District), Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service, Innovation On-Site Ltd and Roseview Windows.”
The group works with almost 1,000 employers, has more than 2,400 apprentices who are included in a student body of 14,700 supported by 980 staff. It is one of the top 10% of colleges in the UK f or progressing students on to positive destinations and has secured millions of pounds of investment in an Advanced Engineering & Construction Centre at the riverside campus in Bedford, a Zoological Education Centre at Shuttleworth College and the Wellingborough campus of Tresham College.
Staff and students have been short-listed for, and won, a catalogue of national awards.
Joining the celebration was Bedford and Kempston MP Mohammad Yasin, Mayor Dave Hodgson and Head of the Chamber of Commerce Rod Calvert OBE DL together with major Bedfordshire employers like Vauxhall and more. Ian Pryce made a special thanks to Bedford Borough Council for supporting the college group in a bid to win the cash for the Wellingborough project.
Behind the scenes Roger Marriott Chair of Governors and various board members give their time and expertise free to help the college progress
“The Bedford College Group Corporation now oversees Bedford College, the National College for Motorsport at Silverstone, Shuttleworth College, The Bedford Sixth Form and Tresham College.
In addition it appoints all the Directors of the Bedford College Academies Trust that runs Wixams Academy and Wixams Tree Primary School, and one Director of the UTC at Silverstone. We also have a subsidiary BCS Ltd that runs community facilities in Bedford, Kettering and Corby including sports facilities, a swimming pool and theatres.
Outstanding Student of the Year: Liam Kilby who after a shaky start at school, excelled at college and took part in the World Skills competition. He is now studying for a BSc in Computer Science at the University of East Anglia.
Runners up were:
Janis Cirss who arrived in UK from Latvia aged 15. He was a “A” student and is now a trainee with Ernst & Young national accountants.
Summer Gill is currently on work experience with Vivienne Westwood having won the International Professional Clothing Awards student category.
Teacher of the Year: Susan McGrath
Staff Innovator of the Year: Natalie Morris
Staff Customer Focus Award: Amy Cleary
Inclusion Champions Award: Ashley Spears
Professional Services Staff of the Year Award: Saima Nasir
Student Participation Award: Suzanne Mugalu.