St Alban’s student wins ‘Learner of the Year’ at awards ceremony

Ali Amir, a Year 12 student from ARK St Alban’s Academy in Highgate, Birmingham, won the ‘Learner of the Year’ award last week at a ceremony organised by Aim Higher West Midlands – ahead of 600 other young people from schools and colleges across the West Midlands.  The ceremony was the culmination of the Aim Higher undergraduate mentoring programme which pairs school pupils from families with no experience of university with undergraduate students from the University of Birmingham, Aston University, University College Birmingham, and Birmingham City University.

After winning the award Ali said, “I was really surprised to win – but very pleased as well.  I’ve really enjoyed being involved in the mentoring programme – I’ve learned a lot and it has opened my eyes to university life.  I definitely want to go to university after I finish my A levels next summer”. 

Ali’s mentor, Fatima Ahmed from Aston University said, “I nominated Ali for this award because he made such good progress throughout our sessions.  To begin with he was unsure of what career path to take and was even considering choices outside of higher education.  He had little confidence in his abilities and just needed a little help to find the right path.  I have witnessed an indecisive, shy boy transform into a confident, determined young man, who knows exactly what he wants in life.”

Susan Smith, Director of Post 16 Progression at St Alban’s said, “Ali has been on a journey with his mentor that has opened his mind to the opportunities Higher Education can provide and is now looking forward to applying to universities.”

St Alban’s Academy had seven pupils from Years 9 and 12 who were nominated for the ‘Learner of the Year’ award and they all attended the lunchtime ceremony which was held at Aston University.  The awards were presented by Professor Les Ebdon, Director of the Government's Office for Fair Access, and the afternoon also included some thought-provoking performance poetry from Matt Windle, former Birmingham's Young Poet Laureate.