Celebrating Success at the Learner Awards 2023

The College welcomed learners, families and staff to celebrate the success and achievements of our students at the annual Learner Awards 2023 event which was held in the College’s Queen Charlotte Hall on Friday 7th July.

The event, which was presided over by Principal Gabe Flint, saw learners and community partners awarded prizes for their commitment, endeavour and achievement in six specific categories with the Learner of the Year award presented to one of the nominees.

Gabe introduced the awards and commended the nominees and winners for their achievement. She said: “Today is about celebrating the achievements of our learners and their tutors all of whom show great dedication to their success.”

Guest of honour was MP for Richmond Park Sarah Olney who gave an inspiring keynote speech and presented the awards to the deserving winners. Ms Olney said: “I am great supporter of the work undertaken at RHACC and am a fervent believer in the power of education to change lives”. Sarah recounted her own experiences of being an adult learner and how this helped her to change direction and her profession.

The Learner of the Year was awarded to inspirational learner Anupa Tanna. Anupa joined the SEND Pottery and Enterprise class in 2022. Despite a number of physical limitations, she has improved her pottery technique and has created a number of pieces including clay Divas to celebrate Diwali. Anupa said: "I am very grateful to be awarded Learner of the Year at RHACC, I love this college and have learned so much here and I am thankful to my tutors."

Anupa has shown complete dedication to her learning and is also a disability ambassador for Transport for London working to improve access to public transport for those with disabilities.


Endeavour Award Winner - Viktoriia Melnyk

The award for Endeavour went to Viktoria Melnyk, who was a tax accountant in Ukraine before she fled the war. Viktoria has been determined to overcome the language challenges she faced to gain UK qualification in accountancy where she has exceeded 80% in her exams. She is now going on to study to become a Chartered Accountant.


Endeavour Award Highly Commended - David Bennett


Learner Contribution Award Winners - Helen Ridgway and Janet White 

The Learner Contribution Award was a joint success as the judges awarded the prize to two learners Janet White and Helen Ridgeway. Janet and Helen are practitioners on the Advanced Practice Ceramics course and have been instrumental in helping other artists on their course to succeed. They have formed a collective called Clay Evolutions, which has provided a platform for many artists work at events and craft fairs. They are both active members of the London Potters Society and use their relationships and influence to support learners at the College.


Vocational Excellence Award Winner - Darren Wood 

The Vocational Excellence award was awarded to Darren Wood who invested in a completely new career developing his English and Maths and then embarking on a series of Hardware and Networking courses, completing Level 2 and then the internationally recognised qualifications of CISCO Networking Associate and CISCO Programming (Python). He has scored the highest gradings in the class. He has since secured a job as an IT Engineer supporting technical infrastructures in schools.


Creative Excellence Award Winner - Elene Montgomery 

Elene Montgomery was the deserving winner of the Creative Excellence award. Nominated by tutor Kit Mead – Elena has excelled in her Film and Video production course which culminated in her short documentary film about the renowned Georgian Artist Levan Lagidze. Elene has shown great innovation and tenacity reaching people of influence, including Katie Melua who supported her in getting technical clearance for the film. Elene is now looking to get this valuable film distributed in the UK.


Skills for Life Award Winner - Sarah Hawken

Sarah Hawken was a very deserving winner of the Skills for Life award which showed the incredible commitment Sarah has made to improving her English and as a result has boosted her confidence and her determination to develop her writing even further.


Community Partner Award Highly Commended - NHS South West London


Community Partner Award Winner - Surbiton Art Trail/Stephen Young

The Community Partnership award went to Stephen Young of the Surbiton Art Trail. Stephen has been working collaboratively with RHACC and other key partners to have the “Lambeth Mosaics” restored and installed as a living art exhibition in the Grade 2 listed Surbiton Station. Stephen was commended once again for his determination and tenacity in gaining funding for the project and his hands-on involvement in the restoration process.


The event also included a musical performance from the College’s house band “The Raccateers” and an inspiring performance about Wellbeing from our SEND Performing Arts Group.