An Access duo from South Cheshire College has good reason to celebrate after scooping prestigious regional accolades against the odds.
Access Pair Break Down Barriers To Scoop OCN Awards
Corina Scanlan-Messam and Thomas Uda are over the moon after winning Access to Higher Education OCNWMR (Open College Network West Midlands Region) awards.
The pair, who are nearing the end of Access courses at South Cheshire College, have both received cheques for £500 each from the OCN.
Both students have overcome huge challenges and hurdles to excel on their Access course which gives students the opportunity to progress to university, often at a later stage of their life.
Thomas is one of the best examples of how Access courses can change people's lives while Corina has proved to be inspirational to her tutors and fellow students.
Thomas, 25, of Nantwich, has had a challenging past and came to England speaking Italian but very little English.
He was determined to turn his life around and after starting at college, Thomas quickly made friends with other students and also impressed tutors on the Access course.
He has gone from strength-to-strength on the course, despite joining two weeks after other students had received their induction.
Thomas has committed himself to and embraced the Access programme which has given him the opportunity to progress to university and look forward to an exciting future.
Meanwhile, Corina, of Alsager, has overcome huge personal problems and early motherhood to become a shining example on her course.
The 22-year-old was expelled from school and witnessed bouts of domestic violence and drug abuse at home from a young age.
Following a spell of home schooling which resulted in two GCSE qualifications, she was further rocked by the premature death of her father.
Help finally appeared from a Level 2 Moving On course at South Cheshire College and she soon made friends with and learned to trust her fellow students and gained a thirst for knowledge despite being pregnant throughout much of the course.
She then moved on to the OCN Access to Higher Education Level 3 course where she has continued to flourish and balance motherhood with her studies.
The duo were both nominated by Alison Fenoglio, Access Co-ordinator at South Cheshire College, who is delighted with their success.
Alison said: "We are absolutely thrilled for Corina and Thomas who are both incredible students.
"They fully deserve this regional honour and are a shining example of what can be achieved despite what has happened in the past.
"Both students have shown a wonderful desire to succeed and are extremely popular with their fellow students.
"We are very proud of them both and believe they will both go on to future success at university."
Corina and Thomas were both presented with the cheques by College Principal Peter Swift in front of their Access classmates.
Corina said: "I've achieved so much more than I expected, I'm looking forward to the future and believe my career goal is in sight."