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Current Derby College Student Union President, Carl Anderson has been highly commended in the Association of Colleges (AoC) Student of the Year Awards 2017.
Carl (18) studied ICT at the College and, having held the positions of student ambassador, vice-president of the Student Union at The Roundhouse site and Inclusion Champion, is now employed as President of the Derby College Student Union, voted for by his fellow students.
He is one of just two young people across the UK to be highly commended in the Young Student of the Year category of the annual awards.
Carl has a diagnosis of Autism and was selected in 2016 to be included in a nationwide development programme with the Education Training Foundation where students with special educational needs or disabilities from colleges across the UK talked about their ambitions for the future and the support they benefit from.
One of the most significant areas of difference for someone with Autism is communication, often making social situations and speaking in front of others difficult. Carl constantly stretches and challenges himself in this area and now excels at speaking in meetings and at events with staff, students and other professionals.
Carl was nominated by Derby College Inclusion and Support Co-ordinator Peter Benyon in recognition of his inspiring approach to education and life and for being a role model to all learners.
Peter said: “Carl enrolled at Derby College in 2015 as a young man who had encountered a number of barriers to his learning during secondary school, including bullying and meltdowns. However, he was determined that starting in further education was going to be a new start for him.
“From the moment he started at College, he has not only made exceptional progress academically, socially and personally, he has also made a significant difference to his peers, the staff who teach him and support him and to Derby College as a whole.
“He has used his own experiences as fuel and inspiration to spend his own time supporting his peers and prospective students in college at events and he has even visited schools to talk to their autistic pupils about college life.”
Carl, who has taken a year out of his studies to take on the Student Union President role, said: “I am honoured to have been recognised with this highly commended award.
“College has set me free and I hope that this will encourage other young people with Autism to recognise that there is a wide range of support available at College and so many opportunities to develop as an individual and gain good qualifications.”
David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “The Student of the Year awards showcase the very best of college students across the country.
“They celebrate the achievements of the exceptional students who stand out from the crowd. It isn’t only about whether someone has achieved the top grades, but rather the inspirational nature of accomplishments.”
“This year’s awards saw 115 nominations across the three categories. The judging panel, including representatives from the National Union of Students and Step up to Serve, were overwhelmed by the variety of applications and the extent of the success of the students.”
More information on the awards can be found at the AoC website: https://www.aoc.co.uk/soty