Golden accolade awarded to former Gateshead College student

Gateshead College is celebrating after England footballer Jill Scott was awarded a prestigious Association of Colleges (AoC) Gold Award at the House of Commons. The award celebrates the success of further education alumni and acknowledges the vital role that colleges play in building the foundation of successful careers.

Jill was nominated by the college, where she studied from 2003 to 2005, completing a level 3 BTEC National Diploma in Sport Science at the Academy for Sport. She continued her studies with the college, gaining a Foundation Degree in Sport in 2006. She then went on to study at Loughborough University.

Staff and students from Gateshead College attended the awards ceremony in London on 8 June where Jill was presented with her AoC Gold Award by Baroness Sharp of Guildford.

On accepting the award, Jill said: “It's a fantastic honour to receive this award. My time at Gateshead College provided the platform for me to progress, and achieve my football dreams. For that I will always be grateful.

“I want to thank all those who played a part in my development. I was provided with excellent coaching and an opportunity to fulfil my potential. The invaluable input I received from coaches during my time at the college has fed my passion for coaching, and led to me opening the Jill Scott Soccer School.

“Although the opportunities for young players wanting to enter the game have never been better, it is vital that they are exposed to good coaching, and more importantly, good people. I had the good fortune of both at Gateshead College."

Gateshead College also nominated Bridget Galloway, 16, as a student showing promise in a similar field, to become one of the Association of Colleges’ ‘Future Stars’. Bridget is studying BTEC level 3 Sport Studies and would love to become a professional footballer.

She said: “Jill is a fantastic role model. She got her college qualifications, went on to uni and has worked really hard to secure her place on the national team. I really hope to be where Jill is in a few years’ time.”

Bridget was also chosen as one of three ‘Future Stars’ to receive a grant of £1,000 from the AoC Charitable Trust. After completing her course at college, she intends to progress to the University of Northumbria to study a degree in Sports Science.

She also intends to enrol on a Futsal training course, favoured by many internationally renowned footballers for helping them develop ball control, quick thinking, passing and dribbling.  The grant cheque would help to fund this as well as the specialist footwear.

In addition, Bridget wishes to undertake training to become a referee for small sided and 11-a-side matches. The grant cheque would again help with funding the training, registration with the FA and purchasing kit and equipment.

She also attended the award ceremony at the House of Commons where she had the opportunity to meet Jill to find out more about what it takes to carve out a successful career and the role that the college played.

Judith Doyle, principal and chief executive, Gateshead College said, “Jill is a shining example of the college’s ethos of hard work wins. We are very proud of Jill and what she has achieved. She is a fantastic ambassador and continues to engage with Gateshead College to inspire our students and enhance their learning."

Further education colleges provide high-quality technical and professional education and training for young people, adults and employers. The AoC Gold Awards highlight the role colleges play in providing over three million students with valuable employability skills, helping to develop their career opportunities and strengthen the local, regional and national economy.

Colleges are inspirational places to learn because education and training is delivered by expert teaching staff in industry-standard facilities. From basic skills to postgraduate degrees, colleges offer first rate academic and vocational teaching, in a range of professions including engineering, hospitality, IT, construction and the creative arts.

For more information about AoC Gold Awards, visit www.aoc.co.uk/gold