Kerry Patrick, Information Systems Officer
I had the great privilege of attending the Keith Fletcher Memorial Access to HE Student Prizes 2017-18 presentation on 24th April 2019. This is an annual presentation held in memory of Keith’s commitment to Access to HE during his many working years at AVA’s in South West England and supported by all 13 AVA’s across England and Wales. For a number of years now we, at Open Awards, have had the tradition of passing ‘the baton’ on to another member of staff to attend this annual event and this year it was my turn.
Prior to the presentation, myself and fellow attendees were fortunate enough to be treated to an enlightening tour of the Houses of Parliament. It was unsurprising that, given the current ‘Brexit’ climate, we missed out on accessing the public gallery for Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons as all seats were taken! However the superb lunch, which followed the tour and preceded the presentation event, soon curbed that disappointment and provided an opportunity to chat with a few of the nominees.
The presentation, lead by Nic Dakin MP, was a small but joyous event, held at the Jubilee Room amidst the prestigious surroundings of Westminster Hall, and suitably celebrated the personal achievements of both winners and runners-up in the categories of Outstanding Academic Achievement and Outstanding Commitment to Study. The event was attended by winners, guests and numerous colleagues from fellow AVA’s who, like me, listened attentively to the inspiring personal stories behind each of the wining nominations. It was clear from the words of both nominating AVA’s and their successful and enthusiastic nominees, that undertaking an Access course had undoubtedly been the right programme of learning for their individual circumstances. These learners, mostly without traditional qualifications, are now flourishing in their respective University courses and jobs, having transformed their lives for the better. This is what the Access to HE qualification ultimately sets out to achieve, and for those committed to working within this regulated framework, this delightful event is a befitting and rewarding return for their efforts.
Warmest congratulations are extended to winner Chloe Buchanan (Laser Learning Awards) and runner-up Michael Allport (Gateway Qualifications) in the category of Outstanding Achievement, and to winner Kirsteen Turner-Jones (Ascentis) and runner-up Karly Jenkins (Agored Cymru) in the category of Achievement and Outstanding Commitment to Study. Open Awards wish them every success with their chosen route.
Gordon Laing, Trustee and Chair of Open Awards Access to HE Committee added:
...it was a humbling experience to part of the judging process back in early January and it was good to meet up with colleagues wholly committed to adult education and access provision from other parts of the country.