'Fantastic' Oldham College star is Higher Education Student of the Year

Date published: 14 February 2022

An Oldham College student has been crowned as the Association of Colleges’ Higher Education Student of the Year.

Ian Kenworthy, 20, beat off stiff competition to win this national accolade at the AoC Student of the Year Awards today.

Ian, who lives in Bury, enrolled at University Campus Oldham (UCO) – Oldham College’s Higher Education Faculty – on a BA (Hons) Business and Management course in 2019.

His story since then is an inspiring example of what an individual can achieve with the right attitude, self-determination and ambition.

Ian had an EHCP throughout his previous education but has grown beyond measure in his personal and academic confidence, and now makes almost no use of additional learning support.

An ECHP is an Education, Health and Care Plan for young people aged up to 25 who need more support than is available through special educational needs support.

Ian has also become a learner who uses his own diversity to show others that neuro-diversity conditions do not need to be a barrier to success.

Speaking about the accolade, Ian said: “I’m so delighted and really happy to have won this award."

“It was a shock to find out that staff had nominated me last year and it made me reflect on how I’ve developed as a person.

“I mainly just use academic support now and am more independent since becoming a student representative for my class with extra responsibilities. This is my final year of study, so next I’m hoping to go into employment in the business and management field.

“I want to thank my mum and dad (Cheryl and Anthony) and the staff here for all the support I’ve had to make this possible.”

Alun Francis, Oldham College Principal and Chief Executive, said: “Ian’s story is a fantastic example of UCO at its very best – supporting learners in a close-knit and positive environment to achieve their full potential.”

“Ian constantly engages with tutors and the support team to improve his work, contributes positively to the wider student experience, and his grades are consistently high.

“Everyone is incredibly proud of this recognition, but Ian was already a winner in our eyes. Our sincere congratulations go to him, and his family, for the amazing journey that he has been on.”

Sally Dicketts, President of the Association of Colleges, added: “Each year the level of applications is extremely high, and it goes to show the fantastic work that students are doing in colleges as well as the lengths colleges go to support their students.

“It is particularly amazing to see the achievements of students and positive impact that colleges have on the students and community. Ian Kenworthy has done amazingly well to finish first and should be extremely proud.”

Due to there being no physical awards ceremony, Student of the Year 2021/22 award winners were announced by the Award Sponsors (NOCN Group, Pearson, Shakespeare Martineau, and Edge Foundation) online on the AoC website and Twitter account.

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