The outstanding achievements of Aliyah Black from South West College in Dungannon were celebrated on 7th July 2021 as she was awarded the prestigious Gold BTEC Award for Child, Health and Social Care Learner of the Year 2021.
Aliyah shone through, achieving full attendance and Distinction grades in all her units. Aliyah has cerebral palsy and hearing loss and used her experiences to launch the National Deaf Children’s Society’s ‘Deaf works everywhere’ campaign alongside the Education Minister. Her teachers say her energy ripples out and is backed by strong values and ethics. She is a mental health ambassador, an advocate for learners with hearing loss and an inspiration to all who meet her.
Aliyah’s hard work and dedication was celebrated at the 11th anniversary of Pearson’s annual BTEC Awards hosted online on 7th July 2021 at 2pm.
Co-hosted by presenter of the United View, YouTube influencer and BTEC alumnus and ambassador, Flex and sports presenter and events host, Gemma Care. 19 category award winners were celebrated from around the UK and internationally in subjects such as Health and Social Care, Performing Arts, Engineering, IT, Business and Sport.
BTEC alumni including Academy Award-winning producer and Head of Film and Animation at ScreenSkills Gareth Ellis-Unwin, entrepreneur and founder of SB.TV Jamal Edwards MBE, and award-winning actress Lucy Fallon were among those also presenting awards.
Camilla James, Deputy Head of School said: “The childcare staff and students of South West College are absolutely delighted that Aliyah is the winner of this award. Aliyah has continually pushed beyond her personal challenges to ensure not just success for herself in terms of her academic achievement, but to enhance the educational experience of her peers, and always with a smile. She is such an inspirational student and a dedicated advocate for enhancing the educational experience for those with hearing difficulties and for raising mental health awareness. Aliyah is a very deserving winner of this wonderful award. Thank you BTEC.”
Cindy Rampersaud Senior Vice President for BTEC and Apprenticeships at Pearson, said: “2021 has been another extraordinary year for our BTEC learners, tutors, teachers, colleges and schools and I am delighted that today we are able to come together and celebrate this year’s winners - and all of the individuals who will be awarded a BTEC qualification this year. The hard work and commitment demonstrated by our award winners, all of whom have achieved great things during a time of unprecedented disruption, is extraordinary and I am proud we are able to celebrate their achievements.”
During the ceremony hosted on YouTube, Pearson also announced the winners of the 2021 Showstopper Challenge, a competition that gives BTEC performers the opportunity to showcase their talents. The audience were treated to performances from:
Bishop Challoner Catholic College
Jackie Palmer Academy
D16 Performing Arts College
Nearly a million learners across the globe completed BTEC courses over the past year; the career-focused qualifications are a vital route for those pursuing careers in sectors such as IT, business, the creative industries, healthcare, engineering, construction and future industries. This is especially important in the current context as the UK responds to the global pandemic and looks to kickstart projects to speed economic recovery.
Jonathan Ledger, Skills Specialist at The Department for International Trade commented:
“I must emphasise the importance of BTEC as a career-focused type of qualification and that for me is key. This is all about delivering the right skills to the right people at the right time in the right way and BTEC qualifications do just that. For me, BTEC qualifications are a game changer. They change lives and they help people improve and contribute to business and society in a big way.
A huge congratulations once again to all the winners and all of the nominees.”