STUDENTS celebrated their success at an awards ceremony.

More than 120 further education students from South Essex College’s 7,000 final year students from campuses in Southend, Basildon and Thurrock were up for a host of awards in their areas of study.

Handing out awards on the evening was principal and chief executive, Angela O’Donoghue CBE.

She said: “This is a real celebration of the diversity of courses, programmes and, indeed people at South Essex College. Our learners come from all walks of life; include young people from 14 upwards and adults of all ages, and a huge variety of personal circumstances.

“We are here this evening to celebrate the successes of our outstanding students. Congratulations to all of you. I hope your success this year will spur you on to even greater achievements in the future”

Hairdressing Student of the Year was named as 25-year-old Elibjonda Byberi from Grays.
Elibjonda, known as Eli for short, has shown fantastic enthusiasm, ability, and dedication to her qualifications in hairdressing which she studied at the college’s Thurrock Campus.

She said: “I’m just so passionate about hairdressing, most people think it is just about cutting someone’s hair but it is so much more and my courses at the college have given me so much, have been really in depth and my English has really come on in leaps and bounds. I’ve learnt a lot on so many levels.”

Originally from Albania, the course has also really helped progress Eli’s English, especially with the written terminology qualifications but also her conversational English.

Former student Zak Perrin was special guest for the evening.

In 2011, Zak completed his level 2 apprenticeship in Professional Cookery before moving to France to work for Frédéric Bau; an acclaimed chocolatier, cookbook author and celebrated head pastry chef and creative director of L'Ecole de Valrhona – the most famous chocolate school in the world.

In between the award segments of the show, students and guests were treated to performances from students.