On Thursday 27th June 2024 leading vocational and technical qualification regulators NCFE announced the winners from the Aspiration Awards. Now in their seventh year, the Awards recognised the success of learners, apprentices, educators, support staff and educational organisations across the UK within six categories. Southern Regional College had finalists in three of the categories, Learner of the Year, Educator of the Year and Centre of the Year.

Ava Hamill a Level 2 Children’s Care, Learning and Development Traineeship student was one of nineteen finalists within the category Learner of the Year. Ava is a well deserving finalist after organising a charity sleep out in December 2023 and raising £2,900 for the Simon Community.

Speaking on Ava’s nomination, Lisa Browne, Curriculum Area Manager at Southern Regional College commented:

“Ava Hamill, a dedicated student from the Level 2 Traineeship in Children’s Care, Learning and Development has made a remarkable impact on our community through a charity sleepout. Alongside 5 peers, Ava organised the sleepout and endured the harsh wintery December conditions to raise £2,900 in support of the Simon Community Northern Ireland. Her actions not only generated significant funds but drew attention to crucial societal issues. I am delighted that Ava was recognised as a finalist at the NCFE Awards and look forward to seeing her future endeavours.”

Caroline Kerr, a highly deserving finalist in the Educator of the Year category, has dedicated the past 31 years of her career to working with children and young people. Multi-talented Caroline began her career as a classroom assistant before transitioning to leading teams of over 20 staff members at daycare settings. Caroline has been passionate about advocating for the welfare and rights of children and creating environments where every child has the opportunity to thrive. Additionally, Caroline leads the annual childcare conference at Southern Regional College each May. The conference is open to all practitioners and has proven highly successful.

In the third and final category, the College was delighted be to be named as a finalist for Centre of the Year. Over the past three decades, the College has successfully enabled thousands of students to achieve NCFE qualifications, equipping these students with the skills and knowledge to excel to early years professions. The College provides diverse early years qualification pathways. From classroom assistants to leadership roles and specialised in demand areas of autism, playwork and understanding speech, language and communication needs of children and young people, the College has set itself at the forefront of specialised early years education and training. Being recognised as a finalist within the Centre of the Year category is a remarkable achievement reflecting the College’s commitment to providing high quality early years education and training.

Lee Campbell, Interim Principal & CEO of Southern Regional College commented:

“We are immensely proud of our early years team for being recognised as finalists in multiple categories at the prestigious NCFE Aspiration Awards. This outstanding achievement is a testament to their unwavering dedication, innovative teaching practices, and steadfast commitment to nurturing the next generation of young learners. Their exemplary work has not only elevated the standards of early childhood education within our College but has also inspired our students to pursue their passion for shaping the lives of children”.