James Marlow, 25, was presented with the Outstanding Academic Achievement award and received £500 in the Michael Sargent Bursary Awards 2021.
He achieved 15 Distinctions on an Access to Higher Education Diploma at CONEL last year and is now studying for a BSc (Hons) Computer Science at King’s College London.
Receiving his award at online ceremony on 19 January, James said: “It is a real honour to receive this award. It was a really wonderful experience studying the Access course and I learnt a lot of key skills, thanks to my tutors Muhammad and Amadu who were really terrific.
“Before I did my Access course I was working as a software developer and after five years I was ready to move on. I knew I wanted to move into academia but didn’t really know how to, because I didn’t have the qualifications. That’s where the Access course came in and now I’m at university.”
James, from Knebworth, Hertfordshire, impressed his tutors from the beginning with his drive and dedication. They also praised his excellent communication skills and friendly support for other students in his role as class representative.
Muhammad Ahmad, Lecturer in Engineering at CONEL, who nominated James for the award, said: “James was a very dedicated and hard-working student who performed outstandingly throughout the academic year and successfully achieved 45 credits at Distinction.
“James demonstrated excellent skills in all mathematical, physics and engineering modules taught this year. The evidence he produced in his take-home assignments was consistently of very high quality and the general presentation of his work was very logical and well-organised.
“I am extremely pleased to see James receive this award, which he thoroughly deserves, and I wish him well in his new adventure at university and all the best for the future.”
The Bursary Awards are presented by OCN London, a UK awarding body that provides qualifications for colleges, adult education centres, community groups, training providers, charities and employers.
They were established in memory of Michael Sargent, a trustee on the OCN London board and a member of its quality committee who was also one of its longest serving moderators for programmes from Basic Skills to Access to Higher Education Diplomas.
The Bursary Awards celebrate the achievements of Access to HE learners in two categories – Outstanding Academic Achievement and Outstanding Commitment to Study.
Jacquie Mutter, CEO of OCN London, said: “These awards are all about celebrating achievement and our winners are here today because of their hard work, determination, perseverance and because they’ve gone the extra mile to achieve excellence in the work they’ve produced.
Reflecting on the challenges of studying during the pandemic, she added: “They also recognise these students’ sheer endurance and that in spite of everything, they’ve achieved and moved on into higher education.”
Access to Higher Education Diplomas are one-year courses for adults looking to study at university or other higher education provider, but who do not have the qualifications needed for entry.
Students can pay for these courses using an Advanced Learner Loan that will be written-off once they have completed their higher education course.