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Halifax student named Yorkshire VQ Young Learner of the Year 2009

22nd June 2009 <b>Halifax</b> student named Yorkshire VQ Young Learner of the Year 2009

Mark Spencer from Calderdale College in Halifax was today named VQ Hero - Young Learner of the Year 2009 for Yorkshire and the Humber. The VQ Hero Awards are part of VQ Day taking place on 24th June, a national celebration of vocational achievement and the many paths to success taken by learners of all ages. The Awards demonstrate the talent, commitment and rigorous standards involved in gaining a vocational qualification. Mark, 18, has now been invited to represent the region at the national VQ Day ceremony in London where the overall national VQ Hero for England will be presented their award by celebrity chef James Martin, who is a vocational learner himself. National awards will also be presented to winners in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on VQ Day.

Mark Spencer from Calderdale College in Halifax was today named VQ Hero - Young Learner of the Year 2009 for Yorkshire and the Humber. The VQ Hero Awards are part of VQ Day taking place on 24th June, a national celebration of vocational achievement and the many paths to success taken by learners of all ages. The Awards demonstrate the talent, commitment and rigorous standards involved in gaining a vocational qualification. Mark, 18, has now been invited to represent the region at the national VQ Day ceremony in London where the overall national VQ Hero for England will be presented their award by celebrity chef James Martin, who is a vocational learner himself. National awards will also be presented to winners in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on VQ Day.Mark was selected by the judges for his dedication to vocational learning and success in his chosen field. Mark started his BTEC National Diploma in Business last year despite not having GCSE Grade Cs in English or Maths. Mark applied himself exceptionally and completed Key Skills Communication and Application of Number at Level 2 in the first year, in addition to his main qualifications. Support from his college and a lot of hard work led to Mark achieving distinctions from the second term and maintaining this profile ever since. Mark has been accepted to study International Business at Cardiff University. Mark said "I was shocked to hear that I'd won. It's pretty overwhelming. I didn't appreciate how important education was when I was younger and my mum was diagnosed with a tumour at the beginning of my GCSE course. The college has given me a second chance in life and completely changed my perspective on things and changed me as a person. I'm pretty much guaranteed a place at Cardiff University and I have the college and my tutor Karen to thank for that. If Calderdale College hadn't let me in, I don't know where I'd be now." Mark's tutor Karen Porter, course leader for BTEC National Diploma in Business, said "Mark wasn't accepted anywhere else because he didn't meet the standard entry criteria but he was so convincing in his interview that we took him on. He's achieved over and above what was required and been a distinction level student from his second term in spite of his mother's illness and extra commitments at home. He's just been the best student you could hope for." John Kerr, operations director at independent education foundation Edge and a member of the judging panel, added: "It's an absolute pleasure to be able to be able to honour someone like Mark. He is a fantastic example of the progression and opportunities that vocational qualifications can offer, living proof that there are many paths to success and an inspiration to us all. Mark is one of the millions who take a vocational qualification every year as a stepping stone to a brighter future - VQ Day celebrates these learners' achievements and those who help them gain this success." Colleges, learning providers and employers around the country nominated their high-flying vocational students for the VQ Hero Awards in two categories: • VQ Hero - Learner of the Year • VQ Hero - Young Learner of the Year Over 400 learners were nominated in total, with nominations judged by a panel comprising representatives from Edge, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, the Association of Colleges and the Association of Learning Providers. For more information about VQ Day and the VQ Hero Awards, please visit www.vqday.org
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