2011 Lion Award winners

Community Supporter of the Year

Winner: Miss Paula Hames
Qualification: Level 3 Certificate in Children's Care, Learning and Development
Centre: Acacia Training & Development Ltd

Paula has a passion for helping to enable children with severe special needs to unleash their talent, and has the ability to help them engage with society by drawing them out from their isolated world. She has progressed from learning support assistant to a higher level teaching assistant who has made significant developments in her field.

Paula won a Medal for Excellence for her achievements earlier this year and has now been awarded the coveted City & Guild's Community Supporter of the Year at this year's Lion Awards.

Paula says: "I am delighted to have won City & Guilds Community Supporter of the Year. My qualification has helped to give me the confidence to identify ways to improve the current system for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties. I am determined to ensure that these children are given a voice within society."

Creative Craftsperson of the Year

Winner: Mrs Catherine Cleaver
Qualification: Level 2 Certificate in Creative Techniques - Fashion
Centre: North East Worcestershire College

Catherine has her own business as a dressmaker, which has continued to grow during her studies. Since taking the City & Guilds Level 2 Certificate in Creative Techniques, she has attracted more clients than ever.

Catherine's extensive research, knowledge and experience meant that she was able to support her peers and even her tutors, and she is now looking to complete teaching qualifications.

Catherine said: The future looks bright and I still feel like I have so much to learn, I would love to be involved with more exhibitions and pass my newly found knowledge onto as many people as possible".

Employee Learner of the Year

Winner: Ms Marion McClean
Qualification: Level 3 Award in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector
Centre: Charis Consultancy Services

Marion is a station commander in the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service. Marion carries out a great deal of voluntary work, coaching young people and adults to swim and also to swim competitively.

In addition to this, she carries out voluntary work in child protection and disability awareness, as she has for over 30 years. It is because she decided she wanted to enhance her knowledge and skills in teaching that she took up the City & Guilds Level 3 Award in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector.

Marion says "Winning a Medal for Excellence earlier this year was, until this point, the highlight of my academic life. I am so excited to have won the title of Employee Learner of the Year at this year's Lion Awards. I think it is important that I keep learning throughout my career so I can enhance my understanding of what I do and City & Guilds courses are a great way for me to do this. "

FE Sector Learner of the Year

Winner: Mr Benjamin Morgan
Qualification: Level 2 NVQ in Automotive Maintenance and Repair - Light Vehicle
Centre: Deeside College

Ben has always had a love of motor vehicles and has been working on them since he was six years old. He couples his natural ability with extensive knowledge and experience to support his fellow students and work colleagues alike. Ben has dedicated all his spare time and money into purchasing the latest automotive diagnostic equipment to ensure he is constantly up-to-date. He is now known as the 'go to man' within the Flintshire area, when others fail to identify and repair the most complex automotive electronic faults.

Benjamin said "I am always looking to learn and grow the knowledge I have around cars, I have loved cars ever since I can remember and to be able to work and learn about something I feel so passionate about on a daily is really a dream come true".

Innovator of the Year

Winner: Hannah Francombe
Qualification: Level 3 NVQ in Animal Care - Animal Training in the Audio Visual Industries
Centre: Sparsholt College

Hannah has worked with a large variety of animals during her City & Guilds Level 3 NVQ in Animal Training for the Audio Visual Industries, including; wolves, crocodiles, monkeys, racoons, snakes and a variety of farm animals.
She also underwent stunt training to improve her interaction with animals and uses her professional knowledge and extensive experience to support her peers in the industry.

Hannah said: "I am living my dream every day, having that one-to-one relationship with animals and getting to work with them on a daily basis is amazing. For anyone who wants to do a vocational course just go for it. The course allows you to gain an understanding and knowledge that you couldn't otherwise get. Every day is interesting and a new challenge and the most important thing about my job is experience. Animals are unpredictable and it can take years to gain that knowledge and trust".

Lifelong Learner of the Year 

Winner: Wyndham Sheryn
Qualification: Level 3 Certificate in Furniture Production (Making and Repairing Hand Crafted Furniture and Furnishings)
Centre: Burnley College

Wyndham has spent many years working in education. Since retiring 15 years ago he has attended various courses on offer at Burnley College, focussing his attention on his love of wood and the crafts associated with it. His commitment to learning and the enthusiasm he brings are a great inspiration to his peers and tutors and, at 75 years old, he is still hungry for more challenges.

Wyndam said: "For anyone who is thinking about doing a vocational qualification - just go for it. You are not only being taught but encouraged the whole way through. It is a fresh and invigorating way of learning and you can honestly say once you have completed your course you have been there, done that and got the t-shirt".

Outstanding Achiever of the Year

Winner: Peter Kernan
Qualification: Level 3 Construction Diploma Knowledge Tests - Construction Awards Alliance
Centre: Accrington & Rossendale College

Following Peter's successful completion of his level 3 NVQ and Diploma level 3, he set up his own business and also committed himself to last year's National Skillbuild competition. Peter was also accepted onto the Prince's Foundation where, on completion, he'll be awarded a Level 3 NVQ in Heritage Work.

Peter says: "I am a complete devotee of the NVQ and totally committed to training my workforce. Winning a Lion Award has really motivated me to keep working hard so that I can achieve the level of Master craftsman."

Small Business Learner of the Year

Winner: Simon Howe
Qualification: Level 3 NVQ in Logistics (Storage and Warehousing)
Centre: North Lancs Training Group Ltd

Following the successful completion of his NVQ Level 2 Apprenticeship in Logistics, Simon was identified as someone who held the appropriate attributes to successfully make the progression to warehouse manager within the company he was employed by.

Simon's hard work paid off when his team became the only hub in Europe to meet a major company target earlier this year - an amazing achievement when you consider he is just 25 years of age! He has now completed his Level 3 while juggling work commitments and has signed up for the Level 3 Management Apprenticeship.

Simon said: "To be judged to be of a standard good enough to win this achievement gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment, and the qualification has helped me enormously in working toward the position I am currently in."

ILM Learner of the Year

Winner: Alina Baldovinescu
Qualification: ILM Level 5 Diploma in Management
Centre: UMD Professional Ltd

Alina joined Central Dental Care as a trainee dental nurse and receptionist, where she gained a qualification in dental nursing and the ILM Level 5 Diploma in Management.

She has taken responsibility for maintaining key management systems and assists the directors in major projects such as the opening of new practices. Alina successfully prepared the practice for their Investors in People and BDA Good Practice assessments, and her work was commended by the IIP assessor.

International Winner of the Year

Winner: Lazyja Le Roux
Qualification: Level 2 IVQ in Beauty Consultancy
Centre: National Institute for the Deaf Salon Business Unit

Lazyja did an outstanding job managing the National Institute for the Deaf Salon business unit during her training. She has taken responsibility for organising the make-up at the college's annual pageant.

Lazyja continually strives to improve her knowledge, including her English language skills. She is the first deaf person in South African history to receive such a high accolade in the beauty industry and her commitment and enthusiasm is an inspiration to others.

You can view pictures from the Lion Awards and the winners by visiting the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/lionawards2011.