Pupils from schools in and around Hillingdon borough picked up awards for their achievements after following vocational courses at Uxbridge College.

Swakeleys and Bishopshalt Schools in Hillingdon, and Bishop Ramsey in Ruislip, were among those whose pupils won prizes at the School Link Awards ceremony on 6 June. A total of 450 pupils from 18 secondary schools have taken part in the courses at Uxbridge College over the last year.

The event, held at Hillingdon Athletics Stadium in Gatting Way, Uxbridge, honoured youngsters who took vocational subjects in addition to their school work. Courses included hairdressing, health and social care, motor vehicle mechanics and childcare.

The highest achievers won Star Awards, with certificates also awarded for Best Attendance and Most Improved.

Many of the youngsters are now planning to go on to courses at the College in September.

Claudia Fernandes (15), was given a Star Award for outstanding work, consistent self-motivation, and completing all her work to an excellent standard on the Childcare Year 10 Vocational Preparation Programme.

Claudia, who goes to Bishop Ramsey School and lives in South Harrow, said: "It's been really nice studying at Uxbridge College - you feel more like an adult than at school. It's nice to have the chance to do something different. I'm really honoured to have won a Star award."

Claudia's mother, Claire Mitchell, said: "It's given her much more confidence and helped her improve her self-esteem. She comes out of college really happy and feels valued there."

Dr Darrell De Souza, Director of 14-19 Strategy at Uxbridge College, said: "Some of these youngsters have made amazing journeys since joining us - many were not achieving their potential at school and needed a different type of stimulus. The College works closely with local schools in the design and planning of these programmes and the students have really responded to learning vocational skills in our adult environment. Congratulations to everyone - and we look forward to seeing everyone who will be coming back next year."

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