City College Brighton and has been celebrating success in this year’s FE Sussex Spring Awards, with City College apprentices scooping both winner and runner-up accolades in the Barclays Sussex Apprentice of the Year category. In this prestigious ceremony, hosted at the Brighton Hilton Metropole, major players in the training and development world in Sussex and beyond joined together to celebrate the best and brightest achievements in training, development and lifelong learning. There was further success for the College with Carpentry student Renzzo De Souza winning the City & Guilds Sussex Learner of the Year award. Across Sussex, approximately 68,000 learners are taught in FE colleges each year and of these, just 13 receive a Spring Award and 13 are runners up. The scale of these numbers shows why achieving a Spring Award marks the recipient as a special person.
Winner of Sussex Apprentice of the Year was Health & Social Care Apprentice Bruce Daughtree. Having struggled at school and been in a variety of unfulfilling jobs, Bruce had found something he had enjoyed through voluntary work at the Grace Eyre Foundation -a local organisation that provides help and support to people with learning difficulties - and this gave him the opportunity to develop his knowledge and understanding while gaining some experience. Grace Eyre has provided the perfect setting for Bruce to really ‘come into his own’ and gain a real sense of purpose, direction and self-esteem through an apprenticeship. He has become an excellent support worker who has great rapport with his service users. His Assessor from City College, Lorraine Cummins, says: 'I’ve never met an apprentice who is so grateful for the time and effort spent with him. Bruce serves as a reminder that modern apprenticeships provide a framework for success for learners from a wide range of ages, backgrounds and career aspirations.'
City College success at Spring Awards
In the same award category, the runner-up was Business Administration Apprentice Joanne Williams. Alongside her full time job as Clinical Governance Facilitator at the NHS Trust Hastings - a very busy and demanding role - Joanne took on the additional responsibility of training towards a Level 3 apprenticeship. The Trust have been going through a major restructure over the past few years so Joanne felt this training would help secure her future and build her confidence. She also felt that it would be beneficial to revisit her functional skills as this is something she had not assessed since completing her ‘O’ levels some years ago.
Her Assessor Mike O’Rourke says: 'Joanne’s an exemplary student, and a true example of where passion, commitment and willingness to succeed are enough to achieve outstanding results. I personally feel that she is a prime ambassador for City College and a role model for others who are completing any apprenticeship while working full time.'
On top of this double-success, Level 3 Carpentry student Renzzo De Souza was named as winner of the City & Guilds Sussex Learner of the Year award. Renzzo came to the UK from Brazil aged 14 after his parents’ divorce. In his own words he 'couldn't speak a word of English not even to say hello' when he first started at secondary school and struggled to make friends and make himself understood. Since coming to City College in 2011, with much help from tutors, learning support team and mentors, Renzzo has become an outstanding Carpentry student and keen participant in many projects – this includes ‘Hangover Square’ which involved making a virtual movie set for the Brighton Festival, the multi-award-winning Waste House project at Brighton University, the ‘Void House’ project which involved refurbishing empty council houses, a project with the Railway Land Wildlife Trust in Lewes in which he helped make an interactive display about the creation of soil and another project at Brighton Racecourse, building accommodation for the stable lads and lasses. This year, he worked at the College’s East campus, building new facilities for Plumbing students and also worked on another high-profile Brighton Festival project, constructing a virtual film set based on the Brighton novel ‘Berg’. He’s also recently worked on building a straw bale house in Uckfield which featured on Channel 4’s ‘Building my dreams’. Renzzo is now working towards going to University to train as an engineer.
Senior Student Mentor Sharon Dowds says: 'Renzzo’s a thoroughly likeable and good-natured young man who has overcome huge challenges at a very impressionable time in his life. To cope with all of that says a lot for his determination to succeed and he really has proven himself as an outstanding young carpenter and joiner who his tutors think very highly of.'
City College’s Vice Principal Rebecca Conroy says: 'Attending the Spring Awards is always an inspiring and humbling experience and I felt incredibly proud to see our students and apprentices have their hard work and achievement celebrated when the calibre of all the winners and runners-up was clearly of an exceptionally high standard. I hope these awards provide a springboard into even greater success for Bruce, Joanne and Renzzo.'
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