Glasgow finalists set to shine at prestigious Education Awards | Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
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Glasgow finalists set to shine at prestigious Education Awards

A host of Glasgow colleges, training providers and students are amongst those in the running for accolades at this year’s Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Star Awards. 

An inspirational ambassador of the benefits of schools and colleges working together is Young Person of the Year finalist Leah Cairns. Leigh transitioned to college when school wasn’t working out for her, and has since gone on to gain a number of SQA qualifications. She has successfully completed a Modern Apprenticeship, and achieved a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Youth Work. She’s now acting as a role model for young people on the transitions programme.

The annual SQA Star Awards is a celebration of the outstanding achievements in education and training across Scotland, the UK and around the world.

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.

Using his learning experience to inspire others is College Candidate of the Year finalist Stuart Patterson. Stuart left school with no qualifications but has made a highly successful return to learning, as a student at Glasgow Kelvin College. He achieved this whilst also a busy Pastor in Easterhouse, and he now wants to use what he has learnt to help others in the community. 

Shining in the SQA Champion category is Glasgow Clyde College lecturer Kirsten Amis. Kirsten played a key role working with SQA on the development of the new Higher National Diploma (HND) in Counselling. The first cohort of students has recently graduated, and are ready to help meet the growing need for services which support good mental health. 

Glasgow Clyde College is well represented, with two projects in contention in the Promoting Inclusion category. An initiative between the college, Glasgow City Council and local schools that sees young people who are disengaged with the traditional school environment undertake SQA qualifications at college has been shortlisted in the Partnership of the Year Category. Meanwhile, the city’s Community Learning & Development Team are finalists in the Lifelong Learning Centre category after offering courses to parents which will help them engage with their child’s learning. 

Lifelong Learning Candidate nominee Sharon Logan is using learning to help others. Sharon is using her Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Training and Development in Teaching, amongst a range of other qualifications she has gained during her career, to give the best possible support to candidates at Glasgow’s Childcare Management Company. 

Providing rewarding learning opportunities for Glasgow’s young people is the expertise of the Carousel Training Company. The success of their Modern Apprenticeship programme, during which candidates work towards a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Social Services (Children and Young People) at SCQF Level 7, has seen them shortlisted in the Lifelong Learning Centre category. 

Glasgow resident Charles McLeod has been a valued SQA Appointee for over ten years, an achievement which has seen him shortlisted in the category recognising people who hold that role. 

Rounding off Glasgow success is Academic Excellence finalist Timothy Chan and School Candidate of the Year Award finalist Rachel Sweeney. Timothy achieved top exam results during his time at The Glasgow Academy, whilst Rachel provides study support to fellow pupils at Knightwood Secondary School and is looking forward to studying Chemistry at Oxford University. 

All the Glasgow finalists have been invited to a spectacular ceremony at the city’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on Friday 09 November. 

They will be recognised for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the success stories that have taken place within Scottish education and training over the past 12 months. 

In all, fourteen awards will be presented on the night for categories including School Candidate of the Year, Partnership of the Year, and Training Organisation Candidate of the Year. 

SQA believed that young people would be best placed to judge the Young Person of the Year category, and so a group of six young people reviewed the submissions. The judging panel included two of SQA’s own Modern Apprentices, along with a representative from youth charities MCR Pathways, Who Cares? Scotland, Young Scot, and the Scottish Youth Parliament. 

Of all the category winners, two will be chosen to collect SQA’s distinguished “Pride o’ Worth” awards; so named after the SQA motto and taken from Robert Burns’ poem, “A Man’s a Man for A’ That”. 

SQA will also offer its highest accolade, the SQA Fellowship, to an individual who has made exceptional contributions to education and training in Scotland throughout their career. 

SQA Chief Executive, Dr Janet Brown, said: “The quality of the nominations for this year’s awards has been outstanding. We have seen first-hand the dedication and commitment, shown by the candidates studying for SQA qualifications, and the passion and ingenuity of the teachers, lecturers, and specialists delivering our courses across the country, throughout the UK, and indeed around the world. I congratulate the Glasgow finalists, as well as all the other finalists, on making it this far. I wish them all the very best at the awards ceremony! 

“The SQA Star Awards provide a fantastic opportunity to recognise learners for their achievements, and also acknowledge the outstanding work of our centres – the schools, colleges, training providers, and employers who deliver our qualifications. The awards ceremony gives us a chance to thank those who give our learners the guidance, support, and encouragement they need to realise their potential.” 

The SQA Star Awards will be hosted by TV and radio presenter Kaye Adams and is supported by a number of sponsors, including the General Teaching Council for Scotland, Skills Development Scotland, and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership.

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