16 September 2015

A teenager from Nottingham is the only student in the East Midlands to receive a Highly Commended award in the national Association of Colleges (AoC) Student of the Year awards 2015. James Grocock, 18, was nominated by Central College Nottingham (Central) for an award, due to his commitment to learning and his contribution to the college and the wider community.

The AoC Student of the Year awards celebrate the achievements and successes of exceptional students who stand out from the crowd.

Due to the impressive nature of the applications this year, a new category of Highly Commended has been created. James is among just 12 students nationally to have received an award in this category.

James said: “I’m pleased to have won, as I was surprised to even be nominated for an award! It’s the biggest award I’ve ever been given – I got an award at school for helping others with IT but this is something totally different!”

“I think my parents will think it’s brilliant –it will show I’ve done something that makes a difference to other students too, as well as playing computer games!”

Although James has dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism, a form of ADHD and autistic spectrum disorder, he is determined not to let this stop him succeeding. He said:

“I have good and bad days, but if I find something difficult I just try to find another way of doing it.”

His tutors say he made huge progress on a Level 1 Diploma in Health and Social Care and a Level 1 English qualification early this year, which has enabled him to progress to a Level 2 Childcare course at Central, which is a member college of emfec.

Earlier this year James helped lead a team of students who sold craft items to raise funds to help a village in the Gambia. Outside of College, he helps others in the community. For example, he worked at a YMCA children’s day camp this summer, acting as a positive role model for the young people. He has also been volunteering there for more than three years.

The AoC judges were particularly impressed with James’ commitment to his studies and his fundraising activities and felt that this needed to be recognised.

Yultan Mellor, Vice Principal – Curriculum at Central said: “We are absolutely delighted that James has won this award. He shows what further education is all about - giving every young person the opportunity to do their best and positively progress to their next step, no matter what their situation.

James plans to work with children in the future, and isn’t fazed by being the only male in a class full of female students. He said: “I know that the professionals would like more men to work in childcare and early years, and in my class last year there were lots of girls, so it’s the same this year really and it’s fine.”