Award for outstanding student Ash

An inspirational adult student at Cambridge Regional College has been named runner-up in an award for Access to Higher Education students.

Ash Aqui, 31, who achieved outstanding grades on her Access to Social Work course despite great personal difficulties, was runner-up in the regional CAVA award for Outstanding Commitment to Study.

The award recognises the achievements of students taking the Access to Higher Education qualification, which prepares people without traditional qualifications for study at university.

Ash, centre, with her lecturer Iris Delgado Rosas, left, and Associate Principal Penny Fawcus

Ash, who is going on to study Social Policy at Anglia Ruskin University, had to battle with health and financial problems, as well as a troubled home life during her course – but kept up her high standard of work even when she had to spend time in hospital.

She was nominated by her tutor, Iris Delgado Rosas, who said: “Ash is an inspirational student whose commitment, determination, resolve and stamina in the face of adversity is outstanding.

“Her willingness to learn and to help others exceeded all of our expectations. She organised study groups, supported her peers – her contributions in lessons were outstanding, and she would often bring in additional material that would encourage discussion and aid learning. 

“She completed the Access course in very difficult personal circumstances, and she still achieved a grade profile of straight distinctions.” 

Ash said: “I’m so proud of how far I’ve come, and this award reminds me of that.  The award also means that I can show my sons the value of education, and the rewards of working hard – they are thrilled that I won this.  

“A year ago I had no self-confidence but the Access course changed my life. I feel that I can do anything now, and the world is suddenly full of opportunities.  It was the best decision of my life and I’m so grateful for the support and encouragement from my tutors.”