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ACL Essex Awards 2024: Celebrating our Award Recipients


Our annual awards celebrate exceptional individuals, staff teams and partner employers, recognising their accomplishments, and sharing their experiences. Over 40 awards were handed out during the event. This is a significant time of the year for us when all members of our community gather to celebrate the supportive and inclusive atmosphere that is ACL, and all the incredible individuals who contribute to our incredible community.

We celebrated our outstanding learners, staff, and partner employers at the ACL Awards ceremony held at Central Baptist Church, Chelmsford, on Wednesday 3 July.

Our annual awards celebrate exceptional individuals, staff teams and partner employers, recognising their accomplishments, and sharing their experiences. Over 40 awards were handed out during the event. This is a significant time of the year for us when all members of our community gather to celebrate the supportive and inclusive atmosphere that is ACL, and all the incredible individuals who contribute to our incredible community.

We were privileged to have Cllr Jill Reeves, Chairman of Essex County Council, and Ruth Gilbert, Director of Sustainable Growth at Essex County Council, join us to present the awards to the deserving recipients.

Lisa Jarentowski, ACL Essex Principal, was thrilled to present these awards to the recipients. She said: “This is my second year presenting awards at ACL Essex’s annual ceremony. It’s a pleasure to hand out these awards to our exceptional learners, staff and partners. It’s amazing to see all the incredible accomplishments they’ve achieved this year, it’s truly rewarding to acknowledge their hard work and success. Well done to everyone who received an award this year.”

ACL Awards 2024 recipients:

Volunteer Award

The Volunteer Award celebrates individuals who go above and beyond to positively impact the lives of others. Their selfless commitment to helping those in need within their community is truly admirable.

  • Antony Fobister (Learner)

“Antony volunteered to help in a construction class and fitted in straight away. He is great with the Learners and quickly gained their respect His dedication to the staff and the learners is commendable.”

  • Toni Meredith (Staff)

“Toni has volunteered for our Parent Ambassador Programme and encouraged others to come on board. She has, in her own free time, supported events to promote and champion Community and Family Learning and ACL.”

  • Marion Ely (Staff)

“Marion has become an essential member of our beginning to learn to read and write classes. The Learners and I look forward to Wednesday mornings, in large part because of her great company and smile.”

  • Kimberly Candler (Staff)

“Kimberly is a hardworking individual who kindly volunteers in art classes and her role is greatly appreciated within ACL.”

  • Ian Smith (Staff)

“Ian was a volunteer classroom assistant helping with a maths class in Witham. The learner loved working with him. He always arrived in plenty of time and helped set up the papers for the class. His support was invaluable.”

Connecting with Communities Award

This award acknowledges individuals who have fostered strong relationships within the community, assisting others in accessing valuable resources, and promoting awareness of meaningful initiatives.

  • Carly Everson (Staff)

“Carly is proactive in involving herself in community groups and events, to promote what ACL can do for residents. She is a very dedicated and conscientious tutor. Not only is she amazing in the classroom developing relationships with her learners, she is very generous with her time supporting others.”

  • Tania Shurlock (Staff)

“Tania actively fosters strong relationships within the community to cultivate a supportive and inclusive educational atmosphere. She has demonstrated her commitment by collaborating with local organisations, businesses, and families to provide valuable experiences for her students.”

Wellbeing and Inclusivity Award

This award is dedicated to those very caring and generous people in our community. They always have time for others, supporting them with their wellbeing and encouraging them to be the best they can be.

  • Coral Jones (Learner)

“Coral has become an advocate for others’ wellbeing and how they can be supported along the way. She is a campaigner for well-being and mental health needs in the local area and has often signposted other learners or community members to places where they can receive support or find information.”

  • Bianca Garcia (Staff)

“Bianca is an incredibly friendly individual who brings a positive energy to the Centre. Her skills are impressive, and she possesses a charming personality that allows her to connect with people from all walks of life. She has recently changed the window scene at Witham to a Spring one and this is a great talking point and showcase for the Centre.”

  • Jo Loss (Staff)

“Jo is encouraging and understanding and prioritises wellbeing alongside responsibility and productivity. She is an extremely supportive line manager who despite her busy schedule and workload, always has the time for her team.”

  • Hannah Pearce (Staff)

“Hannah’s learners absolutely adore her and appreciate all the time she dedicates to supporting them.”

Learning in the workplace Award

This award recognises those who have demonstrated a great aptitude to learning new skills and devoting their time to support others to do so in the workplace.

  • Fatmata Sawi (Learner)

“Fatmata has demonstrated a commitment to her residents and their families within the nursing home environment where she is employed as a Healthcare Support Worker while also completing her programme at ACL.”

  • Connor Furness (Learner)

“Connor is committed to learning and is here at the hub early, prepared, enthusiastic and ready to learn every Friday morning. He is working incredibly hard on his English GCSE with the aim of improving his employment prospects and hopefully entering the world of education and becoming a teacher.”

  • Yolanda Blas (Learner)

“Yolanda has been incredibly enthusiastic about her own growth as well as helping others. She has shown remarkable resilience and unwavering commitment, and she is now on the verge of completing her qualification.”

  • Cherry Pips Day Nursery (Employer)

“Cherry Pips Day Nursery in Rochford have provided an excellent environment for staff members to learn and develop. They offer a carefully designed, fully equipped and spacious setting for approximately 80 babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers. Their aim is to provide the highest quality care in a fun, safe and secure environment.”

Going the Extra Mile Award

This award recognises staff that have gone the extra mile in their roles, doing all they can to ensure that those around them feel valued and supported.

  • Claire Fletcher (Learner)

“Claire’s positivity and commitment to her learning is truly uplifting. She has a personality that always brightens the room no matter what she has going on. Her dedication and determination to both her Maths and IT courses is evident through regular attendance in the Skills Hubs for long independent study periods.”

  • Jazmine Turley (Learner)

“Jazmine always has a positive attitude towards learning and has had a positive impact on others. She always makes classes more enjoyable for others and if she sees someone struggling, she is first to help answer a question or simplify tasks for another learner.”

  • Debbie Harris (Learner)

“Debbie beganher learning journey feeling that maths was not her strong point. Through perseverance and hours of perfecting her knowledge, she mastered the scheme of work to a high standard. She not only pushed herself along her own path, but also encouraged others around her to excel.”

  • Angela Lewis (Staff)

“Angela goes above and beyond to ensure she has created a fun and enjoyable learning environment, that all the learners have a clear understanding of their learning and that they feel supported and encouraged.”

  • Anne Simm (Staff)

“Anne excellent manager, whose dedication and compassion have been pivotal in steering the health and social care team through numerous challenges. She has always had the ability to maintain a positive and supportive environment has kept the team motivated, fostering a culture of collaboration that has led to improved outcomes for both the team and the courses that learners are enrolled on.”

  • Tracy Row (Staff)

“Tracy is an exceptionally friendly and helpful person who goes above and beyond in her role. She has worked for ACL for nearly 29 years has always shown and great passion for ACL and not only ensure all learners are welcomed but receive excellent service in a clean inspiring centre.”

  • Savannah Rate (Staff)

“Savannah joined ACL just over a year ago as a Subcontracting and Projects Coordinator. She has fully immersed herself in ACL, working across multiple teams, taking on additional responsibilities, and demonstrating a remarkable “can do” attitude. She has been instrumental in the Digital Hub project’s success, coordinating presentations and launch events, and covering for absent staff.”

  • Julie Stowers (Staff)

“Julie is not only a fantastic line manager, but goes the extra mile to ensure her team are supported in everything that we do. She embodies the true essence of a calm and supportive manager, constantly going above and beyond to support and uplift those around her. Her unwavering dedication and tireless efforts never fail to inspire and motivate others.”

  • Chris Roe (Staff)

“Chris is a long-term integral part of the Premises Team for everything going on in Brentwood and has always been ready to assist in the wider ACL Team. He is cheerful, enthusiastic, willing to get stuck in and makes both learners and staff feel very welcome.”

Outstanding Achievement Award

This award recognises the standout individuals who have made wonderful progress in their learning, reaching goals and inspiring others along the way.

  • Alexandra Hadji (Learner)

“Alexandra has achieved such a remarkable outcome in mathematics which reflects not only her aptitude for the subject but also her perseverance and commitment to excellence. Her achievement serves as an inspiration to your classmates and a reminder of what can be accomplished through diligence and determination.”

  • Deborah Burgess (Learner)

Deborah has been an outstanding learner over the past two years. Her attendance is exemplary, and her support within the session to myself and peers is outstanding. She works to an extremely high standard, winning the intercollege massage competition with external parties.”

  • Kanjanarawan Lees (Learner)

Kanjanarawan has a positive attitude in class which is infectious, making lessons very enjoyable. She has tried extremely hard to learn the theory, despite English not being her first language. She is more than happy to help others and always plays such a positive role as part of the class.”

  • Kaye Hutton (Learner)

“Kaye is relatively new to pottery, she is also an asset to ACL and its principles. Her enthusiasm, interest and progress has been amazing since her start in pottery. She’s always keen to learn and try something new and gain as much knowledge to improve, progress and achieve better.”

  • Kiera Pickering (Learner)

“Kiera has been utterly committed to her learning from the start. She has not missed a session unless it is impossible! Not only that, she has completed every single piece of homework set (even the optional ones!) and is constantly striving to improve her work further, acting on my suggestions or rewriting pieces already submitted. Her positivity and “can do” attitude are really inspirational.”

Team Player Award

This award recognises individuals who are highly valued by those around them for being exceptional team players. They devote their time to collaborating with others in achieving shared objectives.

  • Helen Amstel (Learner)

“Helen has actively shared and promoted ways in which others in the class can use strategies to perform better, coping with pre-exam nerves and to help focus the brain more positively in stressful situations. She has also leant an ear to those in the class with similar learning difficulties and suggested ways in which they might harness their potential and where to look for further support.”

  • Angela O’Malley (Staff)

“Angela is a wonderful LSA and a truly valuable team member of the Supported Learning team. She is selfless, kind and caring. A fantastic aid to each learner and every lesson. As a new member to the team in June 23, Angela was more than welcoming and helpful and assisted me to settle in really quickly.”

  • Rebecca Hobson (Staff)

“Rebecca’s dedication to her role in the health and social care team shines through in the way she supports everyone’s learning journey, from the learners to the tutors, and to our whole team. She is always committed to helping learners achieve their qualifications and for the team’s continuous professional development, shows her passion for ACL, and the teams professional growth.”

Innovation Award

This award recognises individuals who have demonstrated their resourcefulness and ingenuity in helping ACL adapt for the future. By harnessing their creativity, they constantly seek out fresh approaches to push the limits.

  • Jeannine Rotondo (Staff)

Jeannine has consistently demonstrated a passion for sustainability and an unwavering commitment to fostering innovative solutions within her subject area. Her teaching methods have sparked curiosity, fostered critical thinking and empowered learners to tackle real life problems.”

  • Claire Barclay (Staff)

“Claire has such passion and enthusiasm for her professional industry and has created opportunities for her learners to gain industry experience, show off their skills and support local communities. She really has gone above and beyond to create a really rich experience for Hair and Beauty learners that has a positive impact on their futures and for residents.”

Lifelong Learning Award

This award recognises individuals who embody the spirit of lifelong learning, constantly pushing themselves, motivating others, and highlighting the transformative power of learning new skills.

  • Cornelius Keating (Learner)

“Cornelius embarked on his digital journey last year with no prior computer skills. He attended our Let’s Get Digital course, where his enthusiasm each week inspired others to continue their learning and practice actively outside the classroom. Each week, he expressed how the course had transformed his life, and it was evident from the positive impact he had on his peers.”

  • Lauren Henley (Learner)

“Lauren has been studying both GCSE Maths and English this year. After meeting the National Careers’ service advisor she discussed her options for a future career and decided on pursuing a career in counselling. She has pushed herself to complete her self-study and attend every week.”

  • Gary Starkings (Learner)

“Gary is a committed learner who values the importance of learning and adapting to the modern world. He has passed multiple Ms Office unit courses to build both his IT skills and CV to get back into employment. His commitment to learning is evident through is regular attendance in the Skills Hub for practice and course attendance.”

  • Etti Boyce (Learner)

“Etti is a committed learner who puts in so much time and effort to her learning of IT, Maths and English, all in her second language. Her determination is evident and her friendly personality is a joy to encounter. Etti regularly visits the Skills Hub to practice her skills and further her knowledge.”

  • Abbie Cairns (Staff)

“Abbie’s commitment to learning translates into her inspirational approach at ACL. In her art and design classes, students learn new techniques and skills through guidance, exploration and discovery and are given the opportunity to explore new media with some outstanding creative outcomes. Learners are stretched and every week learners are moved out of their comfort zones. I have seen how learners with low self-confidence and health issues have grown and flourished”

  • Toni Peers (Staff)

“Toni has transitioned from a dedicated learner and parent ambassador into an inspiring tutor in the creative industries. She has ignited learners passion to create bespoke pieces of jewellery using silver clay. Learners are proud of their achievements and Toni has put them on the best path to achieve their creative qualifications, honing their design skills and exploring innovative techniques to set up exhibitions and sell their work.”

  • Jan Rodwell (Staff)

“Jan has provided outstanding support and guidance to others in the Math department. Her unwavering assistance is invaluable, and she has shown great dedication in helping others to succeed. Her expertise and encouragement have played a significant role to the growth and achievements of others in the department.”

  • Ian Hyde (Staff)

“Ian has introduced innovative ideas, processes, and methods that significantly impact others. He exemplifies this criteria through his exceptional dedication and creativity in enhancing our learning environment.”

Great Places to Learn Award

This award recognises those who make a substantial contribution to creating a warm and inclusive environment at ACL, where everyone feels welcome and can thrive in their learning journey.

  • Alan Vousden (Staff)

“Alan has worked at ACL for six years. Many of the learners know him from his time at Shorefields School in Holland-on-Sea. They all remember him well and show great delight to know he is now working at ACL, often seeking him out for a regular catch-up chats on the days he is teaching. He is a well-respected member of ACL and will be greatly missed by all when he retires this academic year.”

  • Natalie Lenton (Staff)

“Natalie has now been working with ACL for a year and has very swiftly settled and made her mark. Her cheerful and supportive approach to all colleagues and learners brightens up every day. Her highly organised approach to her work ensures she always has time to help out wherever it is needed, whether that’s taking the time to chat with a learner or offer help to centre staff when there is a high workflow.”

  • Helena Bailey (Staff)

“Helena is a long-standing member of the ACL family and fully embraces it, she always motivates the class alongside the tutors and is always helping learners to achieve their learning goals. She makes the classroom a happy place to be and has a great sense of humour, engaging with learners at all times.”

  • The ACL Premises Assistant Teams (Staff)

“The premises team at ACL plays a crucial role in ensuring the centre operations run smoothly, but they go above and beyond to provide support and a warm welcome to everyone. They truly are the unsung heroes of ACL.”

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