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Belfast Met student wins national education award

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Clare Magowan from Belfast Metropolitan College has won Outstanding Public Services Student of the Year at the National BTEC Awards. 

The event, which celebrates achievement in the country’s most widely taken vocational qualification, was held at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London on Thursday 7th July 2016. 

The awards recognise the nearly one million students around the country who are studying BTEC qualifications this year. Pearson, who own BTECs, received nearly 1,000 nominations across the 19 award categories for this year’s Awards. 

Now in their sixth year, the Awards were hosted by Radio 1 Presenter Gemma Cairney and attendees by the winners, their families and teachers as well as stakeholders from the education and business worlds. Dragon’s Den judge, and BTEC champion, Peter Jones also presented the award for Business and Enterprise Student of the Year via video link. 

Ahead of the Awards Ceremony, the winners, their family, friends and nominators attended a Parliamentary reception in the House of Commons.

Winner biography: Clare Magowan, Outstanding BTEC Public Services Student of the Year 

Carrickfergus girl, Clare is a determined, resilient student who refuses to let anything stand in her way. After being diagnosed with Chrohn’s Disease in school, she was too unwell to sit her GCSEs but Belfast Metropolitan College accepted her onto the BTEC Level 3 Public Services course. Alongside her BTEC, Claire also gained qualifications in Event Stewarding, Essential Skills Numeracy Level 2 and ICT Level 2 in addition to gaining her GCSE in Maths after attending evening classes.

Her dedication to her education is extraordinary, despite her often debilitating illness, she has worked as Games Ambassador for various events including the World Police and Fire Games and Giro D’Italia and is now a qualified part-time event steward at many other public events, such as BBC Sports Person of the Year. Clare is also a local Fire Cadet and was the first female to win runner up for Best Cadet. After completing her BTEC, Clare began a History degree at Ulster University, after which she intends to join the Fire Service or another public service, contributing to society and helping others. 

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson in the UK, said: “BTEC is a high quality and demanding qualification with those in possession increasingly sought after by universities and employers. This year’s judges were impressed by the quality and number of nominations we received but Clare really stood out as a truly exceptional student and deserves a huge congratulations.”  

Winner, Clare Magowan, said: “I never thought that I would win such an award, I could not have achieved this without the support of my amazing lecturers at Belfast Met. I will be forever grateful to them. This has been an honour and will be a day I never forget. Thank You.” 

Head of Sport, Care Services, Health & Supported Learning at Belfast Metropolitan College, Paul Boyle, said: “On behalf of the College I would like to congratulate Clare on her outstanding achievement. It is because of students like Clare, that my colleagues and I are involved in education, and it is extremely rewarding to be part of this success story. Clare has shown enormous resilience to overcome many challenges along the way and this Award is a fitting tribute to her diligence, enthusiasm and commitment. I am in no doubt that Clare has a very bright future ahead of her and we all wish her every success in her endeavours.”

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