Refugees were among inspirational students at Mansfield’s West Nottinghamshire College who received accolades for their outstanding success and personal accomplishments during the year.
Syrian father-of-two Fahd Saleh, 32, earned a special recognition award for remarkable dedication to his studies that won the admiration of staff and students alike at the Derby Road college.
A former professional footballer who represented Syria’s national team, Fahd settled in Mansfield with his wife Tahrir and young sons Nrur and Omar in December 2015 and enrolled on an NVQ Level 2 course in activity leadership. Despite struggling with the language, he threw himself into the course, excelled on work placement and volunteered as a coach with the college’s football academy.
“I am very happy because I have worked hard,” said Fahd. “I am very proud of myself. It is important to have my children here to see their father do good things because I hope they also do good things in the future.”
Fahd was one of about 60 students to receive awards from college principal, Dame Asha Khemka, in front of hundreds of guests and VIPs. Others included fellow refugee Maha Alchayb, who fled Jordan with her mother and sister 18 months ago. The 22-year-old won one of three principal’s student of the year awards after defying severe hearing-loss and the challenge of learning a new language to become “an exemplary student”.
“I am so happy at college,” said Maha. “The people are very nice, and they have helped me a lot.”
The apprentice of the year award went to 19-year-old Kay Jay Rose, of Sutton, for impressing in her work as a warehouse supervisor with Nice UK Ltd, a Sutton-based designer and manufacturer of automated gates, garage doors, shutters and barriers.