A student inspired to become a social worker from her own parents’ history of fostering and another who battled grief following the death of her brother were just two of the young people to be honoured for their hard work at a special awards night at Redcar & Cleveland College.


Ashton Tomlinson was named Heath and Social Care Student of the Year at the college’s Celebration of Achievement Awards for her determination to gain top grades in her quest to study a degree in Social Work.


And Danielle Nixon was recognised for her commitment to gain a Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care, despite losing her 13-year-old brother David to a brain tumour prior to her joining the college – and then going on to have a baby mid-way through her course.


She returned to college just two weeks after giving birth to a son, Layton, and went on to complete her course with flying colours.


Danielle, 18, from Skelton, was presented with an Achievement over Adversity Award for sticking at her studies and exceeding her target grades, always motivated to do her late brother proud.


Danielle, who cried when she was announced the winner, said: “If my brother had been here with me tonight he would have told me to pull myself together.

“The last few years have been hard. When David died I was broken and I didn’t think I would ever be able to move on. I came to college and was determined to do this course for him.

“I’m taking a year out now to spend time with my son, but hope to become a paediatric nurse.”

The girls were just two of a long list of students who were celebrated at Redcar & Cleveland College for going above and beyond to achieve top grades.

Lauren Milburn was named Full-time Student of the Year after gaining the highest possible grade of D*D*D* and gaining a place at university to study Adult Nursing.

She was noted for seeking out her own multiple work placements, often working through the weekends and holidays in order to gain work experience.

Josh Walsh was named Public Services Student of the Year while Cameron Appleyard –  an apprentice at Lucite International – was named HE Student of the Year for his extraordinary ability on the HNC Chemical Engineering course and his willingness to help others.

Ashton, 20, from Boosbeck, east Cleveland, said watching social workers assisting children in foster care with her family had inspired her ambitions.

“My family has fostered children for a number of years and I think the social workers do a great job. I want to make a difference and help kids to have a better life,” she said.

Her dad, John Tomlinson, said: “I felt very emotional when she was announced as the winner. She has worked very hard and has been determined from the start. I’m very proud.”

Winners on the night were:


  • Scott Petite – Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors Shield Award
  • Daniel O’Leary – Built Environment Student of the Year
  • Callum Wanless – Cliff Houlding Memorial Trophy Year 1 Award
  • Louise English – Computing, IT and Media Student of the Year
  • Jessica Thomas – Science Student of the Year
  • James Williams – Engineering Student of the Year
  • Dale Harris – Paul Stott Memorial Trophy Year 1
  • Steven Mays – Paul Stott Memorial Trophy Seniors
  • Michael McGlasson – The Institute of Measurement and Control Award
  • Pamela Teece – Beauty and Holistics Student of the Year
  • Sam Jackson – Hairdressing Student of the Year
  • Josh Walsh – Public Services Student of the Year
  • Ross Pickersgill – Sports Student of the Year
  • Ashton Tomlinson – Health and Social Care Student of the Year
  • Cathy Willis – Childcare Award
  • Daniel Frankish – Training Skills for Work
  • Danielle Nixon and Rhiannon Howard – Achievement over Adversity Award
  • Luke Thirlwell – Enthusiasm and Contribution to College Award
  • Stevie Leigh Ramsay – The Sir William Turner Foundation Vicki Lawrence Memorial Award
  • Kurtis Millward – Work-based Learning Student of the Year
  • Lauren Milburn – Full-time Student of the Year
  • Cameron Appleyard – Higher Education Student of the Year
  • Louise English – Maths and English Student of the Year


Principal Gary Groom said all students who had been nominated for an award had done incredibly well and should be proud of their achievements.

“The Celebration of Achievement Awards is the highlight of my year as Principal of Redcar & Cleveland College because we highlight the tremendous efforts of our students and staff, recognising just how hard they work to gain qualifications and enhance their career chances.

‘It is always difficult to pick winners because so many really deserve it. We are proud of them all. They will go on to achieve great things in their lives.”