Olympics inspired Awards night

Ian Banwell (centre) with Amy Williams MBE (left) and Judge Ferguson (right).

Ian Banwell (centre) with Amy Williams MBE (left) and Jude Ferguson (right).

An Olympic gold medallist inspired hundreds at a night of star-studded success celebrated recently at Weston College’s annual student awards evening.

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.

The 30-year-old skeleton bob racer comments: “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.”

Regarding the awards themselves, Emma Rogers walked away with the Principal’s award for Outstanding Achievement.

Emma, 20, started an Apprenticeship with Weston College in April 2010 and recently opened her own shop, Beauty by Emma.

She comments: “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.

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.

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 comments: “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 comments: “When we met we just clicked and she is a fantastic person to work with. I’m really proud of her.”

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.

Dr Paul Phillips, Weston College Principal, comments: “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.”