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6th July 2018

A student from Stafford College, part of Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group, has won a prestigious national education award at a glittering ceremony held at Central Hall Westminster in London, on 05 July 2018.

Matthew Risbey-Ward won the BTEC Award for IT and Computing Student of the Year in recognition of his achievement in the subject. The award was presented by Yvonne Kelly, Principal of Barking and Dagenham College.

Spanning 24 categories, the eighth annual Pearson BTEC Awards were hosted by financial journalist and TV Presenter Steph McGovern, and showcased the fantastic contributions made by students and young people studying for BTECs. The ceremony was attended by the winners, their families and lecturers as well as leading stakeholders from the education and business worlds.

An expert panel of 52 judges carefully considered each nominee before deciding upon a winner.

Former Walton Hall Academy pupil, Matthew, aged 19 from Great Haywood, also won a Special Achievement Award at the recent Stafford College Celebration Awards, having just completed the second year of his Level 3 Extended Diploma in IT, where he achieved exceptional distinction grades. Throughout his time at Stafford College, he demonstrated a very strong work ethic and commitment; reflected in his attendance and punctuality which was an exemplary 100%. Matthew has recently secured a full-time job as a Software Developer with local company, Business Safety Systems.

Pearson has been the guardian of BTECs for over 30 years and during this time the qualifications have facilitated the training of work-ready candidates with the knowledge and practical skills that employers need. These hands-on vocational qualifications continue to be respected as a valuable route straight into employment, and into employment via university.

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson in the UK, said: “I want to offer my congratulations to Matthew for winning this award. The judges were hugely impressed by the quality of nominations this year and this is a fantastic achievement.”

He continued: “The BTEC Awards are one of my favourite events of the year. They are a wonderful celebration, not just of the outstanding winners themselves, but of the value of the BTEC qualification to employers and universities around the world.”

On winning the award, Matthew Risbey-Ward said: “I was initially a little shocked to be nominated for this award, so to win feels absolutely amazing! I’ve really enjoyed my time at Stafford College, the support I’ve had has been second to none, and without this, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m now looking forward to taking all of the skills and knowledge I’ve learned over the last 2 years to my new role with Business Safety Systems.”

Karen Dobson, Principal and Chief Executive of Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group, said: “We are incredibly proud of Matthew’s achievement and we are delighted that he has been recognised at a national level. In winning this award, Matthew has set a fantastic example to current and future students that hard work really pays off, and no matter what barriers you are facing with the right support you can overcome them.”

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