Chatteris engineering student Leigh Sessions builds himself a new career after picking up top national award

Leigh Sessions with Radio One DJ Gemma Cairney

Leigh Sessions with Radio One DJ Gemma Cairney - Credit: Archant

A Chatteris student has won a top national award at a prestigious presentation ceremony in London.

Leigh Sessions who studies at Cambridge Regional College won the BTEC Award for Outstanding Adult Learner of the Year at the event held in the Royal Horticultural Halls in the capital on Thursday.

The event celebrates achievement in the country’s most widely taken vocational qualification and recognises the nearly one million students around the country who are studying BTEC qualifications this year.

Pearson, who own BTECs, received nearly 1,000 nominations across the 19 award categories for this year’s Awards.

Now in their sixth year, the Awards were hosted by Radio 1 Presenter Gemma Cairney and attended by the winners, their families and teachers as well as stakeholders from the education and business worlds. Dragon’s Den judge, and BTEC champion, Peter Jones also presented the award for Business and Enterprise Student of the Year via video link.


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Ahead of the Awards Ceremony, the winners, their family, friends and nominators attended a Parliamentary reception in the House of Commons, where they met their local MP.

Leigh completed a successful career in the army before deciding to embark on a career in engineering. In addition to studying full time for his BTEC Extended Diploma in Engineering, Leigh drives lorries to support his family.

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Described by his tutors as a role model for his fellow students, Leigh showed perseverance and patience in adapting his military skills and expectations to studying with students, who are not only much younger, but have widely different life skills.

Leigh impressed employers TTP Lab Tech representatives so much that he was offered a job as a field engineer, which begins in August, shortly before Leigh starts a TTP-funded HNC in Mechanical Engineering at college.

Leigh said: “It’s a huge honour to win this award. Deciding to train for a new career after I left the Army was a big step. It is fantastic to be leaving with a great qualification, a new job and a new future for my family. I’d like to say a big thank you to the tutors who have given me this opportunity, my wife for always being my rock and Naomi Larner (head of engineering) for nominating me and believing I could win this award.”

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