A Syrian refugee who left “an indelible mark” on his peers and staff at West Nottinghamshire College has been honoured in a national competition highlighting exceptional students from across the country.
Fahd Saleh, who recently studied a sports and coaching qualification at the Mansfield college, has been highly-commended in the Association of Colleges’ (AoC) Student of the Year Awards.
The awards, which attracted 115 entries nationally, celebrate ‘truly unique students’ who have overcome adversity or have used their achievements to make a positive impact on their institution or community.
Tutors nominated 32-year-old Fahd for his “inspirational” approach towards his studies and for adapting to college life so positively. Fahd will receive a certificate from the AoC and has been invited to a reception at the House of Commons early next year.
The married father-of-two, a former professional goalkeeper in Syria, who represented the country’s national football team, enrolled on to the NVQ level two in activity leadership at the college in September 2016 after being resettled in Mansfield with his wife and young family the previous December.
Despite struggling with the language, Fahd threw himself into his studies and became a hugely popular member of his class. He excelled on his work placement at a local school and as a coach with the college’s football academy – and successfully achieved his qualification upon completing his studies in June this year. Fahd has since gone on to work as a teaching assistant at Queen Elizabeth’s Academy, Mansfield.
Sport and coaching tutor Rachael Evans said: “Fahd has left an indelible mark on students, staff and the college community. He overcame many significant challenges to thrive on his course; inspiring everybody that knows him with his determination to make a success of his new life in Mansfield.
“Fahd was an immensely popular member of the class, with fellow students benefiting not only from his footballing and coaching expertise but also from the cultural enrichment that came from him being here.
“He is fully-deserving of this national recognition and we’re really proud of him.”