Students at Northampton College have been praised for their “ambition, adaptability and academic excellence” during an awards ceremony to recognise their progress.

The annual presentation held at Booth Lane on Tuesday, July 4 honoured 60 students who have excelled over the past 12 months, both in terms of academic performance and personal progress.

Among the winners was Level 3 hospitality and culinary arts student Cara Payne who won the Jeff Whitaker Award in memory of the Whitco founder. Presented by Jeff’s wife Vita, the award recognised Cara’s passion for the food and drink industry, her appetite for learning and determination to develop her skills further.

Her prize includes the opportunity to spend a week in the kitchens of The Dorchester Hotel in London, where she will work under the team of Michelin-starred chefs.

Cara said: “I’m so excited. It’s a brilliant opportunity to work in an amazing restaurant.”

Matt Jones won the Rising Star award in recognition of his work on the Level 3 music performance course. Matt has put on solo performances at a number of college events over the year and has been working with studio engineers from the University of Northampton who have produced albums for stars including Bob Marley and the Wailers.

He said: “I owe everything to this college. The last two years have been the best two years of my life. The music scene in Northampton is incredible and being here has given me so many opportunities, including getting involved with Northampton Music Festival.

Level 3 health and social care student Jackson Cose won the Principal’s Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the course and his achievements during a work placement which saw him immediately offered a job.

He said: “I have loved my time at college and it has given me way more opportunities than I ever thought possible.”

Ellie Dodwell was named the winner of the Katy Wright Award having demonstrated “unwavering enthusiasm” during her time on the Access to Health Professions course.

The 22-year-old returned to education to gain the qualifications she needed to progress onto a degree in Occupational Therapy and she will start at the University of Northampton this September.

The ceremony featured a stunning performance from musical theatre students who performed songs from the musicals Cabaret and Oklahoma, while catering and hospitality students helped serve food and greet guests.

Pat Brennan-Barrett OBE, principal of Northampton College, said: “When our students leave us, they go on to make a difference, both in the workplace and in the community. We are producing responsible young people who are showcasing their ambition, adaptability and academic excellence every day and they are going to be tremendous assets in whichever field they choose.

“These awards are a chance to celebrate them, to praise their progress and to give them the public ‘well done’ they so richly deserve.”

The awards were sponsored by Cosworth, Fablink, NME Electrical Services, Sytner Jaguar Land Rover, DSV, Northampton Partnership Homes, Grosvenor Decorating Supplies and Vintage Guru.