Pearson is the UK’s largest academic awarding body. Offering academic and vocational qualifications that are globally recognised and benchmarked, with educational excellence rooted in names like Edexcel, BTEC, EDI and LCCI to name a few. Every year, they hold the annual BTEC Awards, an event that recognises and celebrates the hard work and dedication of BTEC learners, educators and providers from around the world. This year saw Dearne Valley College’s own Emma Radcliffe crowned the winner in the category of Land-based Learner of the Year 2022.

Emma, who currently works as the Lead Land-based Technician, is also a former student of the College.

We caught up with Emma to find out more about this fantastic achievement, and how she found out she had not only been nominated but in fact, won the award.

She said: “It felt like I was receiving a ‘thank you’ for everything I’ve done. It felt good to be acknowledged, and to get gold too! It was against all Colleges and Universities across the country. I was probably up against thousands of other contestants.”

When asked about her future after finishing her Level 3 in Animal Management, she said “my original idea was to go to University to study wildlife and conservation, but I never thought about teaching, but when I was asked to help cover the Level 2 students, I really enjoyed it. I think I will be doing my Teaching course here and stay at the College as a tutor.”

As well as finishing her second and final year on her course, Emma has gone above and beyond in the Animal care industry, as she is also Lead Technician and Catch-Up Coach at the College.

Speaking about all her different roles she said: “As a student, I’m studying Level 3 Animal Management, I’m currently in my second year. I started off doing some work experience, and after a few months I progressed into the Weekend Technician role, before progressing again to Lead Technician when that position became available.”

Emma went on to talk about all the different roles she has. For example, not only is Emma a student and Lead Technician she is also working as a Catch-Up Coach and manages the College Cooperative, the campus farm shop located at Dearne Valley College. The farm shop is open to the public and is stocked full of produce made by the students from the Land Base course, all grown on-site at the College.

She said: “A Catch-Up Coach is someone that helps learners catch up on areas that they might be struggling with due to the complications to learning that Covid-19 brought on.”

Speaking about the College Cooperative, she said: “My long-term goal is to get the College Cooperative to a point where we can offer click and collect vegetable boxes to the public and have a heavy inventory to keep it going.”

Emma’s Manager – Liz Clifton, who works as Animal Management, Construction & Landbased Commercial Manager at the College, commented on Emma’s amazing achievement.

She said: “We are delighted that Emma has won the BTEC Land-based Learner of the Year Award. As a team, we are very proud of Emma and her achievements. She is a great role model for our students and a wonderful example of what can be achieved with hard work and the determination to succeed.”

She continued: “Emma is a highly organised, resilient and flexible member of our team. We have discussed what’s next for her as she has expressed an interest in becoming a lecturer within the Animal and Land-based department at the College so that she can continue to inspire students with her positivity and passion for the land-based curriculum.”

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