WEARSIDE MATTERS: A hat-trick of awards for Sunderland College

Sunderland College has secured a trio of wins, at a regional awards ceremony celebrating the achievements of students returning to education in later life, and the providers who support them.

Wednesday, 27th April 2016, 9:25 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2016, 10:58 am
Sunderland College students and staff celebrate a trio of awards at a regional ceremony. Picture by Tom Yeoman

Students and tutors from the college - which provides A Level, vocational, apprenticeships and higher level training to more than 11,000 people at any one time - were on hand to watch the college named joint winner of Outstanding Commitment to the Student Experience, as well as seeing one of its tutors – Monica Pizzoli – scoop the Student’s Choice award at the One awards 20th anniversary celebration, which took place at The Sage, Gateshead.

Student Christopher Chicken also won the Higher Learning Higher Earning Award, at the event which celebrates the achievements of colleges and their access students across the North East.

Applicants at the Hilton Garden Inn, Sunderland.

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Christopher earned the award in recognition of his work to pursue an Occupational Therapy degree from York University, having studied at the college for a Pre-Access course then Access to Higher Education Diploma, allowing him to gain the level three qualification required to leave his job in the building trade, and progress with his studies.

Principal and chief executive of Sunderland College, Ellen Thinnesen, said she was proud of what had been achieved at the awards.

She said: “Awards allow us to really benchmark our work and understand how we compare to other colleges, so to come away with three awards is an outstanding achievement, and something the team at the college and all of the students should be extremely proud of.

“I’d like to congratulate Christopher, Monica and everyone at the college who played a part in the award wins. Access courses really are an invaluable route into education for those who have delayed their decision to study either for personal and professional reasons. For those who make the leap, the student success stories at the awards really do show that it can pay dividends.”

Applicants at the Hilton Garden Inn, Sunderland.

Former Sunderland student Dr Dan Reed, who completed an Access to Higher Education course with the college, and since gained a PHD in Zoology and lectures on the subject internationally, was a guest speaker at the event.

Dan said: “Sunderland College’s Access to Higher Education course was – for me – a pathway to achieving something I never imagined I could. I worked in a factory before I took the leap to go to college, and the decision has been totally life-changing for me. To have the chance to share my story on stage, and inspire other access students to aim high is a real privilege”

For more information about Sunderland College, visit www.sunderlandcollege.ac.uk or call 0191 511 6000.


A new North East hotel is proving that hospitality is still a popular career choice, after more than 2,000 people applied to join its team.

Hilton Garden Inn Sunderland, which is due to launch tomorrow, was inundated with applications after launching a recruitment drive to fill roles ranging from Chief Engineer to a night-time receptionist.

All of the vacancies, which included full and part-time positions, have now been filled, with around a third of the recruits aged 16 to 24.

“The hospitality industry is an exciting place to work and it’s full of opportunities for today’s young people. That’s why we’re pleased to receive such a high number of applications from this particular age group,” said Kim Kelso, General Manager for the Hilton Garden Inn Sunderland.

“We are thrilled to be able to give so many people the chance to begin or continue their career in hospitality and look forward to working with them all in the coming weeks and months.”

Hilton Garden Inn Sunderland’s new starters, who come from across Wearside, Tyneside and County Durham, are undergoing intensive training ready for tomorrow’s launch.

Once open the contemporary property, adjacent to Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, will offer 141 stylish en-suite bedrooms, as well as a 24-hour business centre, fitness suite and Pan-American in-house restaurant, the Karbon Grill Kitchen and Bar.

“We’ll be hitting the ground running when doors open,” said Kim, “with visitors from across the UK expected for SAFC’s last two home games of the season in early May alongside England’s match against Australia at the Stadium of Light.

“We’re confident that our new team members and their more experienced counterparts will be ready to cater for the needs of all of our guests and we are all excited to welcome them to the new hotel.”

For more information about Hilton Garden Inn Sunderland, visit www.hgisunderland.hgi.com or www.safc.com/hotel. Bookings can be made by contacting [email protected]

Further details about the hotel’s pan-American restaurant, the Karbon Grill Kitchen and Bar can also be found by visiting www.safc.com/karbongrill, emailing [email protected] or calling 0191 349 8500.