Derwentside College student Reece Taylor has reached the final of a national competition that celebrates the outstanding achievements of students across the country.

Reece, 22, is one of three students to be shortlisted for the final of the Association of Colleges (AoC) Student of the Year Award 2015.

Reece was nominated for his outstanding commitment to his fabrication and welding studies, which culminated in him winning a Medallion of Excellence at this year’s WorldSkills competition in Brazil. Having left school with no qualifications Reece joined Derwentside College, where it was clear from day one that he had a natural talent in welding. Having recently completed an Advanced Apprenticeship in Fabrication and Welding, Reece continues to excel with the support of his employer, Dyer Engineering. On receiving the news of this latest achievement, Reece said. “I did not think things could get any better, but to be selected as one of three finalists, this is an unbelievable achievement.”

Karen Redhead, Principal and Chief Executive at Derwentside College said: “I would like to offer Reece my warmest congratulations as he is thoroughly deserving of this national selection. Reece has become somewhat of an ambassador to his fellow students, many of whom now aspire to reach his achievements on the international stage. The College looks forward to supporting Reece at the AoC national event.”  

AoC President John Widdowson, who led the judging panel, said: “This year’s nominations for the Student of the Year Awards were of an exceptionally high standard and it is both humbling and heart-warming to see the impact that further education has on the lives of so many of its students.

“Reece’s determination, spirit and motivation are truly inspiring and make him a worthy contender for this national award.”

The Association of Colleges (AoC) Student of the Year Award competition aims to highlight outstanding student achievement, often in adversity, while celebrating the amazing success stories so common to the further education sector.

The winner and runners-up will be announced by international designer John Rocha at AoC’s Annual Conference and Exhibition in Birmingham on 18 November.