library for webAn innovative programme to improve digital literacy among students at Northampton College has been praised for its “ingenuity and proactivity” - having landed a national award.

The DigiCap scheme was introduced by staff working across the college’s libraries with the aim of helping to improve and develop IT skills and confidence in using new technology across all levels, from very basic to advanced.

The scheme was named the winner of the Best Practice category at the Library and Learning Resource Centre Awards, organised by the Council for Learning Resources in Colleges (CoLRiC). The ceremony celebrates best practice in the Further Education and College sector.

Kate Brown, Learning Facilitator Coordinator at Northampton College said: “Winning the Best Practice Award means so much to everybody on the team. We’ve worked hard to deliver DigiCap to as many students as possible; to ensure that they are prepared for the technological challenges they will face in employment. DigiCap has raised the standard of digital literacy in our students and they are more likely to succeed in their chosen careers.”

The awards showcase the ingenuity, proactivity and fight across the library and learning resource centre sector.

CoLRiC Co-Chairs Mirna Peach and Corinne Walker added: “CoLRiC is delighted to celebrate excellence and to recognise the efforts of both teams and individuals as they strive to deliver relevant and high-quality services during a time of austerity across the sector. Year on year we have honoured innovation with our prestigious awards. This year was no exception. Congratulations to our winners, and to all the colleges who nominated their colleagues.”

resizedAward-winning students have been urged to “be bold and aspire for greatness” during a ceremony to celebrate their hard work and success.

More than 50 Northampton College students, including designers, stylists, engineers and apprentices, were honoured at the annual Daventry Campus Awards.

The ceremony was held at the college’s state-of-the-art campus in Badby Road West on Thursday, June 20.

Cllr Chris Millar, Leader of Daventry District Council, congratulated the award winners and told guests: “Be bold, be creative, strive for all you want. This is the time in your life to take risks and aspire for greatness - and I am once again humbled and impressed by all the students and staff here at Daventry Campus – congratulations to you all.”

Most Determined Student award went to Vritika Mistry, who was commended by her art and design teachers for her ‘can do’ attitude and love of art. Guests were told that Vritika “works extremely hard, acts upon advice and never gives up”.

Jack Shepherd scooped the Best Apprentice award, having quickly impressed the team at boutique hair salon Rocco & Co, where he has now been offered a job. “I want to thank the college and staff for being so supportive and patient,” said Jack, “I am so excited for my future.”

Principal of Northampton College, Pat Brennan-Barrett, said: “These awards are a wonderful and fitting opportunity to celebrate the lives and achievements of our inspirational students, who are helping to make Daventry Campus an incredible place to study.”

Other winners on the night include vehicle maintenance student Zak Marklew-Perkin. His teachers described Zak as “enthusiastic and conscientious, always eager to learn and often early to lessons to get a head start.”

Iuliana Lisnic, who moved to the UK three years ago with her husband and young son, is doing a Business Administration Apprenticeship at Daventry District Council.

“I am totally committed to my studies. I love my job at the council and hope to work there after my apprenticeship finishes,” said Iuliana. “I am now working hard to improve my English reading and writing skills. I couldn’t have done any of this without such wonderful teachers.”

Michael Quinn, a health and social care student, has an apprenticeship at drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic Charterhouse Clinic. He said: “I missed a lot of school due to illness so when I came to the college I was so grateful for the supportive atmosphere. My ambition now is to become an addiction councilor or therapist.”

Pictures of all the Daventry Campus award winners can be seen on the @NorthamptonCollege Facebook page.

vita whitaker

A 19-year-old Northampton College student will have the chance to cook alongside celebrity chef Raymond Blanc in his Michelin-starred restaurant having been named ‘Student Chef of the Year’.

Josie Milicevic will spend up to four weeks at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire on a work placement scheme later this year.

The teenager is the first beneficiary of the Jeff Whitaker Award. Jeff was the founder of Whitco Catering and Bakery Equipment and a leading light in Northamptonshire’s food and drink scene. The annual award is part of a programme of wider support for the county’s food and drink sector. It gives young chefs the opportunity to work in some of the country’s leading kitchens, developing their talents and preparing them for a life working in food and drink.

A total of £3,000 has been donated to the college through Jeff’s Way – a foundation designed to make a positive difference for young people by supporting three broad aims: education, opportunity and security.

Josie, who currently works at The Plough in Shutlanger, said: “It’s an incredible opportunity and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve loved food all my life and it’s all I want to do. I really enjoy working with good quality meats such as duck and steak and this is an amazing opportunity to experience life in a Michelin-starred kitchen. It’s a dream come true.”

In addition to Josie’s placement, Level 3 student Brandon Wilkinson, aged 20, will receive a year’s mentoring and guidance from the Whitco team – helping him to establish himself in the hospitality and catering industry while he completes the second year of his course at Booth Lane.

The money will also be used to enable a group of students to experience fine dining and five-star service at a leading London hotel.

Vita Whitaker, who set up the Jeff’s Way fund in memory of her husband, said: “Jeff built a career, a business and a national reputation in the catering industry. And while he enjoyed the fruits of his work, he never lost sight of his origins or missed the opportunity to help others.

“Young people are our future. Our aim is to help them to benefit from education, opportunity and security. In this way they can grow, thrive and develop into a generation of adults that make a positive difference.

“We are thrilled to have Josie and Brandon as our first winners. They represent the future of food and drink in Northamptonshire and we look forward to helping them on their journey to be the leaders, pioneers and employers of tomorrow.”

Principal of Northampton College, Pat Brennan-Barrett added: “We are incredibly grateful to Vita for her extremely generous donation through the Jeff’s Way fund. It will make a huge difference to Josie and Brandon, giving them an amazing opportunity to make their mark in what is one of Northamptonshire’s flagship industries.”

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