Pride of Lions

Celebrating our 2015 Lion Awards

18 June 2015 / Jump to comment (1)

This week eight award winners joined the City & Guilds pride at London Zoo as they were recognised for their outstanding educational achievements with a prestigious City & Guilds Lion Award.

The Lion Awards showcases the very best talent in vocational education today at a glittering annual awards ceremony. This year’s winners, a mixture of tutors, students and one college, were chosen from over 200 nominations. They were joined in celebrating their success by TV presenter Kate Humble, Kirstie Donnelly, MD of City & Guilds UK, Chris Jones CEO of City & Guilds, the people that nominated them as well as a few of the residents of the Zoo.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, UK Managing Director at City & Guilds said: “The Lion Awards is one of the highlights of my year - I feel incredibly proud to be part of the journey that these inspirational individuals have taken to achieve their goals. They represent everything City & Guilds is about – commitment, passion, leadership and excellence.

“This year’s winners are shaping the future workforce - from young women such as winner Amy Rush who is blazing a path for other women in the UK’s male dominated motor industry through to the committed lecturers ensuring that individuals have the skills to allow them to achieve their potential and that organisations of all shapes and sizes have the expert employees they need to succeed.”

Winners included 20-year-old Polaris Dyas who won the Apprentice of the Year Award and the Outstanding Achiever Award. Polaris overcame personal tragedy following the loss of both of his parents in his final year of school to go on and excel in his business skills apprenticeship and revolutionise working practices at his workplace.

Polaris Dyas: “I wasn’t expecting to win two awards today so that’s absolutely amazing. I’m just really, really pleased that all of this hard work has actually paid off and now I’ve got something amazing to show my kids and my grandkids.

“My message to other learners is never, ever give up because if you do slip once it’s difficult to get back but you can do it. I believe in everybody. You always have that chance.”

The City & Guild’s Lion Awards is one of the most prestigious events in the skills education calendar and is a culmination of our Medals for Excellence awards programme which dates back well over 100 years.  This year over 200 nominations were submitted with the eight deemed to have made the most spectacular achievement receiving a Lion award. The awards not only recognise excellent results but also those who show a true journey of progression throughout the course of their learning, with many of those studying having overcome significant challenges to achieve their goals.

2015 Lion Award winners at London Zoo
This year’s winners are:

National People’s Choice: Amy Rush, 20 year old from Flint

Amy is an award-winning mechanic who’s determined to blaze a path in an industry dominated by men. She’s seen significant successful in skills competitions, beating older more experienced competitors and was the first UK female apprentice to have been chosen to represent a motoring organisation at the WorldSkills heats in Birmingham. She continues to inspire more women to consider the automotive industry. Importantly Amy was chosen by the public out of all the regional Medals for Excellence winners.

Apprentice of the Year Award & Outstanding Achiever Award: Polaris Dyas, 20 year old from Chester

Polaris overcome personal tragedy to excel in his business skills apprenticeship following the loss of both of his parents to illness as he finished school. Demonstrating his sheer determination to succeed, Polaris sought out an apprenticeship at a local printing firm following school, quickly becoming a highly respected employee. Using his extensive knowledge of IT he has excelled in his role revolutionising systems at his workplace. Not only is he a valuable asset to the company, he also finished his apprenticeship in just 12 months, 6 months ahead of schedule.

Learner of the Year Award: Anthony Gregg, 41 year old from London

Antony started his creative career path in his native home country of South Africa, coming over to England in 2000 where he got a job with a leading specialist art dealer. His passion for repairing and restoring damaged frames led him into perfecting his skills through a diploma in creative techniques in 2D and 3D. Thanks to his refined skills he been integral to the restoration of a Luca Giordano frame, one of Italy’s most important 17th century Old Masters, amongst other priceless restoration pieces.

Tutor of the Year Award: Scott Mitchell, 44 year old from Chatham

Scott is an ex-soldier who served with the Royal Engineers for 22 years specialising in areas such as the supply of power and air conditioning to Field Hospitals, acting as a military trade instructor. On leaving service he became a civilian Armed Forces engineers’ instructor, bringing that wealth of experience to his teaching. He is great at being able to relate his teaching to young soldier learners who will be applying their skills in demanding and dangerous places. He is meticulous in his lesson planning and has been instrumental in procuring new equipment to bring his department up to date with new technology. 

Centre of the Year Award: Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) /MKC Training headquartered in Chatham

The Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME) offers a wide range of specialist training which is absolutely fundamental to their armed forces learners – they not only train combat engineers but also chartered engineers, bomb disposal technicians, heavy plant operators, and even veterinary practitioners. They are constantly striving to design and deliver the most up-to-date training courses, using state of the art technology to support the soldiers in their learning experience. They have shown great commitment to delivering excellent training and retaining the very best teaching staff.

International Learner Award: Sisira Dharmathilaka, 44 year old from Sri Lanka

Sisira has worked for a number of NGOs helping people less fortunate than himself, in Sri Lanka and in the Maldives, and he has continued to develop his own skills and qualifications in quantity surveying often in the face of low wages, great family responsibilities and even severe danger posed by unrest in his own country. The project he was working on in the Maldives was terribly affected by the tsunami of 2004, but Sisira and the team still managed to make sure it was delivered on time.

Thanks to his new qualification and skills he has gone on to manage projects in Dubai and in Libya, and he remains committed to continuous professional development.

Future Leader Award: April Poblete, 25 year old from London

April began her journey at Lakefield two years ago doing the NVQ level 2 Hospitality Services. She decided to stay on and built her knowledge, progressing her learning up to NVQ Level 3 in Leadership and Supervision. From the very beginning of her learning journey she showed natural leadership and her practical work was always at an exceptional standard. She completed her course in one academic year and has since been asked to stay on as part of the team and help train new students and staff.

Comments 1 Comment

Heather Murphy

25 June 2015

Polaris you are AMAZING!! So proud of you.

Add your comment

All comments will be subject to moderation, please refer to the terms and conditions of the blog.


Our research reveals that three quarters of young people demand skills-based training to achieve their ambitions Read full research article