Achievements in the spotlight at Go Celebrate! Awards

June 7, 2024

Students from across NESCol’s three main campuses were recognised today at the annual Go Celebrate! Awards.

The ceremony, hosted in the Gate 63 training restaurant at City Campus, is a highlight of the College calendar.

NESCol Principal Neil Cowie said: “The Go Celebrate! Awards are one of the events that colleagues and I most look forward to. It’s a rare opportunity for students and staff to take a step back from what is always a busy and productive end to the year, and to celebrate the remarkable achievements of what is a very special group and all they have accomplished. 

“What matters most to our teams is that every individual has the chance to grow and thrive at NESCol, to be much more than just a number. The stories that sit behind each and every nomination for the students who have been recognised show why that’s so important.

“From excellence in the chosen fields of our students to dedication, resilience, innovation and commitment to helping others – all of those traits and more shine through.

“Our congratulations go to all of those who were in part of the ceremony and to the many more who were nominated by their peers and lecturers.”

Go Excel!

This award recognises a student who has excelled at College in the current academic year by achieving a high level of attainment, showing aptitude and in-depth understanding of course content as well as its wider application and by engaging with College life.

Winner: Chris Kelly

Chris is studying on the OPITO-sponsored process engineering course and received an incredible 17 nominations from his classmates. The students acknowledged Chris’s ability to shine in his studies, whilst going above and beyond for the College community.

With a passion for learning, Chris consistently achieves top grades and uses this knowledge to lift and support his classmates. In one example, Chris gave up two hours of his own time to video call a student who was struggling with their revision.

His fellow students also highlighted Chris’s commitment to making a positive impact on campus. He demonstrates excellent leadership skills in his role as Class Representative, championing the concerns and needs of the students and working hard to ensure any issues are resolved.

Chris is dedicated to supporting peers of the LGBTQ+ community at NESCol and advocates for inclusivity and equality. He works hard to foster connections between students and teaching staff, creating a safe and supportive environment for all.

Highly commended: Connor Sutherland

Connor is in his second year of the Shell Engineering Scheme and was nominated for his dedication and enthusiasm when it comes to his course. Connor is described to be “an extremely valuable asset to the course, even supporting his peers with their studies and learning”.

Connor consistently excels at any challenge set out for him and is fully committed to his studies and growing his engineering skillset. Not only has he secured HNCs in both mechanical and electrical engineering during his second year, but he has strived for perfection and achieved high marks in his assessments.

A credit to the course, Connor volunteered to attend a Modern Apprenticeship event at P&J Live alongside two of his classmates. The team were responsible for setting up the stand and displaying robotics, impressing attendees with their problem-solving skills when things didn’t quite go to plan – an essential trait for budding engineers!

Go Green!

This award was introduced to recognise the environmental focus of students and showcases the way in which sustainability has become integral to the ethos of NESCol.  

Winners: First year SECTT electrical installation group

The apprentices at Fraserburgh Campus have been praised for their hard work improving the sustainability of their course.

As part of their training, the apprentices were tasked to identify non-sustainable practices and ways to tackle these.

The class highlighted multiple areas for improvement, including reusing the waste materials left over from their practical work.

These were previously recycled, but the group decided that a better solution was to pass these on to the SVQ students for their work, giving the materials a second life and avoiding the need to purchase new.

A large number of students have also agreed to carshare on their commute to college, reducing the group’s carbon footprint.

They were praised in their nomination for helping to make innovative changes which add up to significant environmental benefits.

Highly commended: Attiqa Aman

Attiqa is part of the Girls in Energy programme for school pupils. Attiqa is an extremely dedicated individual – especially when it comes to environmental sustainability.

She is described as someone who “exemplifies the essence of sustainability, embodying a commitment to environmental responsibility through her actions and advocacy”.

As well as making conscientious lifestyle choices for herself, Attiqa shares her enthusiasm and knowledge with others, positively engaging with her peers in school.

Attiqa is an excellent communicator, and her passion is evident in her climate change research and presentations.

Highly commended: Robert Gibson

Robert is part of the REACH programme and was nominated for his sustainable attitude towards his group’s community project.

Robert decided to build planters to brighten up the space at Waulkmill Menagerie, a petting farm in New Deer. He came up with creative ways to repurpose waste materials which was not only great for the environment, but also for the tight budget he was on!

To build his planters, Robert dismantled old pallets destined for the landfill, which he then stained with leftover creosote. The planters were lined with buckets recycled from Tesco flower bins and filled with peat-free compost.

Robert’s brilliant work and innovative ideas demonstrate how thinking outside of the box can prevent excess waste going to landfill.

Go Innovate!

The criteria for this category includes embracing new technology and concepts, inspiring students and staff with a focus on future opportunities and demonstrating a passion for enterprise through ideas with the potential to capture the imagination of peers and the public. The winner receives The Kathy Horne Award for Enterprise and Innovation, named in honour of a retired colleague who still has a keen interest in the achievements of students. 

Winners: Douglas Sharpe and Mitchell Wilson

Douglas and Mitchell are currently completing the SCQF Level 6 Computer Games Development course. They were nominated for “showcasing exceptional creativity and initiative, surpassing standard coursework to lead pioneering projects within the college”.

What sets Douglas and Mitchell apart is their ability to implement their innovative ideas. They don’t just come up with incredible concepts, they are able to turn their ideas into reality through dedication and resourcefulness.

Both are continually looking for ways to improve their projects, embracing changes and the opportunity to evolve as innovators. They are currently working with emerging technologies for a project that goes beyond the College campus, impacting communities and industries on a local and global scale.

Highly commended: Mikaella Dillon

Mikaella is also on the Girls in Energy course and is being recognised for what was described in her nomination as “an undeniable passion for innovative technology”.

Her commitment to innovation is evident in the production of professional-quality materials, adeptness in practical applications and ability to embrace new concepts.

Mikaella is also dedicated to driving innovation forward by inspiring others through training.

Highly commended: Daniel Benzie

As a student on the HNC Mechanical Engineering course, Daniel has demonstrated “a passion for enterprise and ideas with the potential to capture the imagination of peers and the public”.

Daniel is described as having a philosophical attitude towards engineering and a great aptitude for innovation.

He has shown excellent entrepreneurial spirit and is adept at using fundamental principles to explore applications. Examples of this include designing micro and nano-hydro projects for the stream near his house, and investigating how air lubrication could be used to reduce drag on wind turbine blades.

Go Make a Difference!

Coming to College isn’t only about achieving qualifications that are valued by employers, it’s about growing as an individual and being part of a diverse and vibrant community. This category is open to those who support others to work towards shared goals or who participate in voluntary work, whether on or off campus.  Most importantly it celebrates individuals and groups who represent the College in a positive way.

Winner: Viktorija Nikitina

Viktorija is a student on the SCQF Level 4 Beauty Therapy course and works tirelessly to help her fellow students and run the International Society and Languages Cafe.

The International Society celebrates the diverse student body at NESCol and gives students the opportunity to socialise and share their culture and language. Viktorija has arranged trips and social events which have brought students from across the College together.

The Language Cafe has been a huge hit, allowing students to improve their English and share their native language with others who would like to learn.

One of the students who provided a nomination highlighted the way in which Viktorija had also been a source of comfort for them, supporting them through their problems and guiding them to the right people to get help.

Another said: “We don’t know where she finds the time or energy, but we’re so glad to have her.”

Highly commended: Pippa Ferguson

Pippa is completing her HND in 3D Computer Animation and is known throughout the department and wider College community for the impact she has on course improvement and student life.

She volunteers wherever possible, including helping the Students’ Association under the guise of Steven the Seagull!

Pippa has made a huge impression on the animation department. She gives up her free time to help students in need and is the first person to welcome new students onto the course. Her kindness is also extended to her lecturers, and she checks in on their wellbeing regularly.

It has been highlighted that, thanks to her efforts, there is excellent dialogue between all levels of the course – with students collaborating and supporting each other.

Pippa is said to be “irreplaceable” and as she moves onto university will be dearly missed by the college community.

Highly commended: Victoria Grover

Victoria has been nominated for overcoming personal tragedy and achieving her HNC Social Services qualification, whilst advocating for the rights of those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

She is described as having the right attitude and tenacity to make a difference to those she supports both on her placement and in the wider city community.

Victoria was her brother’s next-of-kin and cared for him while she was at college, until he sadly passed away last year. Despite the incredibly challenging year that followed, she has managed to continue her studies at HNC level and thrive on her placement with Alcohol and Drugs Action.

Victoria is passionate about advocating for those in recovery and does so on a volunteer basis. In one example, she underwent training with the Scottish Recovery Consortium and co-delivered workshops empowering others with the correct use of language, and information about rights in recovery.

A few weeks ago, Victoria was offered a full-time position as a National Localities MIST Q Officer with the SRC, where she will no doubt continue to make a huge difference.

She said she feels honoured to be a voice for her late brother and hopes changes can be made so no one has to go through what he faced.

Go You!

The criteria includes commitment to studies and an enthusiastic attitude to learning and personal development.  Above all else, what lies at the heart of this award is resilience in the face of adversity and the admirable ability to overcome the most challenging of circumstances.

Winner: Aidan Bartlett

Aidan is set to complete the HNC Applied Science course, and throughout his time at NESCol, has shown incredible resilience and positivity in the face of significant health challenges.

Aidan has gone above and beyond with his learning, taking it upon himself to self-study and catch up on any work missed. He has put in an enormous amount of effort to complete his NC last year, continuing his studies over the summer to secure his place on the HNC programme.

Aidan is described as having borne his illness with a very positive attitude and a good humour. He is a very popular class member who is always happy to share his knowledge with others, and his lecturers say he is a joy to teach.

With a passion for marine biology, Aidan plans to move on to the University of Aberdeen after the summer and has worked exceptionally hard to do so.

Aidan has demonstrated an ability to balance personal struggles with academic responsibilities and his perseverance and determination to succeed is truly commendable.

Highly commended: Kim Downie

Kim returned to college to develop her knowledge and skills on the SCQF 5 Childcare and Development course. She has had to overcome a number of challenges during her time at NESCol and demonstrates amazing resilience as a mum, wife and student.

As well as juggling family responsibilities, Kim suffered a difficult family loss. Despite this, she showed enthusiasm for her course and a gentle and kind approach.

Kim then faced further challenges during her placement, with her husband taking ill, at which point she did consider leaving college. However, with the encouragement of her husband, she kept going and has thrived on placement, coming up with innovative, child-centred ideas.

As highlighted in her nomination: “Kim is well suited to the role of a childcare professional and even though she has been faced with more than her fair share of adversity this year, her drive to ensure her best effort to achieve the college course is commendable.”

Highly commended: Nataliia Shavala

Nataliia is in her second year of the HND Web Development course and has been nominated for her “exceptional academic performance, remarkable personal resilience and valuable contributions to the college community”.

Nataliia has unfortunately suffered a tragic bereavement during her time at college. She has navigated the grieving process with admirable strength, while taking on substantial family responsibilities as well as her studies.

She continues to demonstrate a high standard of academic achievement, which is a true testament to her dedication and focus.

Nataliia is a Class Representative, a role in which she has proven to be an effective leader with a proactive approach. Outside of college, she also manages to find the time to engage in competitive running and boxing.

Looking to the future, Nataliia is hoping to continue her education in Digital Media at RGU. Her resilience, combined with her academic achievements and community involvement, make her an incredible role model for young women in STEM.

The Amanda Mills Award

Presented annually in memory of a much-loved former student, the award recognises outstanding achievement in HND Social Sciences. The category brings nominations from the Social Sciences team and was judged by staff who work closely with the students.

Winner: Molly Clark

Molly joined NESCol in 2020 on the SCQF Level 5 Social Sciences course and has progressed through to the final year of her HND. She is set to continue her education at the University of Aberdeen, with a place in the third year of the Sociology MA degree programme lined up.

Molly has demonstrated determination and gratitude through every stage of her education and progressed consistently to become the academic she is today. Her work is insightful, and her nature encourages an inclusive learning environment for all.

Molly has had to overcome some barriers to her learning. Like many women with autism, she was not diagnosed until her teenage years and has had to work hard to understand the challenges she experiences. This has inspired her graded unit project which analysed the toll that undiagnosed autism can have on women.

Molly’s lecturers highlight her amazing potential and attitude, with her graded project tutor describing her as “an exceptional person”.

Grampian Motor Training Trust awards  

The GMTT Awards are presented each year by the Trust in recognition of excellence in the automotive sphere and cover specific elements of the courses delivered at the Aberdeen Altens and Fraserburgh Campuses through the apprenticeship programmes that support the industry in the North East. Each winner is selected by those who work closely with them at College and is recognised for their technical excellence, knowledge and attitude towards the trade.

Apprentice of the Year Award for Body and Paint at Altens: Fiona Campbell, of Autospray

After a career transition from dentistry to the automotive industry, Fiona started the full-time Vehicle Body Repair and Refinishing course and completed this during the challenging times of the pandemic.

Fiona then successfully completed her SCQF Levels 5 and 6 at college, always demonstrating fantastic core skills and an exceptional quality of work in her portfolio.

At her workplace, Fiona’s mentor was very complimentary of her commitment and passion for paint spraying, and her SVQ work was of a consistently high standard.

Apprentice of the Year Award for Light Vehicle Maintenance at Altens: Matthew Wilkinson, of the Braemar Service Station

Matthew demonstrates true dedication to his apprenticeship and has shown his commitment to learning, travelling back and forth to college from Braemar – a three hour round trip!

Despite the long commute, Matthew’s portfolio work has always been completed on time and to a high standard, and he puts in a real effort into his written submissions.

Apprentice of the Year Award for Light Vehicle Maintenance at Fraserburgh: Ben Emslie, of Massie Mechanical Services

Ben originally joined at Fraserburgh Campus on the Schools-College Introduction to Vehicle Technology course back in 2018. He showed a great attitude towards learning and a keen interest in motor vehicles.

On completion of his course, he began his Modern Apprenticeship. His employers have been impressed with Ben’s attitude and his willingness to tackle any task presented to him. He progressed through the City and Guilds qualification during the difficult times of the pandemic, where theory work was taught remotely.

Despite this, Ben gave 100%, passing all online assessments with good results and producing excellent practical evidence for his portfolio.