Coulsdon Sixth Form College student Laura Smith has been recognised as Outstanding BTEC Hospitality, Travel & Tourism Student of the Year 2017 at the national BTEC Awards.

22 successful candidates were singled out for excellence in their area of study or work, after almost 1000 applications were made to this year’s judging panel. Winners received their awards at a ceremony on Friday 7th July, at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London, following a lunch reception in Parliament with MPs from across the political spectrum.

Laura came to Coulsdon Sixth Form College from Stanley Park High School in Carshalton. She took a mix and match programme, incorporating A Level Sociology and BTECs in Travel & Tourism and Law. She nominated by her teacher, Donna Hollick who wanted to recognise her hard work throughout her BTEC course.

Laura commented, “I was really surprised to win the award and didn’t expect to get this far. I knew I wanted to go to Coulsdon College because it offered the courses in Travel & Tourism which I couldn’t do at school. I try and work hard at College and this has been great recognition of all the hard work I have put in during my course. The support and resources I’ve received from the College and my teacher Donna Hollick, has been brilliant, especially the College’s link with the No1 Lounge at Gatwick Airport, where I’m now employed. I’m looking forward to continuing my career in travel once I leave the College this summer.”

The ceremony had celebrity guests present the awards including the BBC television presenter and journalist, Steph McGovern,  Peter Jones from BBC TV’s Dragon’s Den and other education and business leaders. Plus, Richard Atkins CBE, the government’s FE Commissioner, who presented the award to the College of the Year.

BTEC is now the nation’s fastest growing route into higher education, with almost a quarter of university entrants now having taken at least one BTEC. We are one of the only Sixth Form Colleges who offer a mix and match programme, allowing students to take BTECs alongside A Levels.

Rod Bristow, Pearson’s President in the UK commented, “The fantastic winners being celebrating at Friday’s award ceremony exemplify the dedicated students across the country who have been helped to make progress in their lives and careers through BTEC and I am delighted to congratulate them on their well-earned success”

BTEC provides a proven pathway, not just to a job, but to a career – whether that be directly, or via university. BTEC combines knowing with doing, practical with academic. It is the most highly regarded career-focused qualification in the world. This helps to explain why almost a quarter of new university entrants now start with at least one BTEC, and why BTEC is growing strongly internationally.”

Coulsdon College is very proud of Laura and wish her every success in her future career within the Travel and Tourism industry.


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