Staff achievements recognised at annual AAA Awards

Outstanding staff at South Essex College have been recognised at an awards ceremony.

Trophies and certificates were handed out during the college’s annual staff AAA Awards to staff who go above and beyond the call of duty.

Anthony McGarel, Deputy Principal and Chief Executive of the college and Kathy Mulvey, Vice Principal Student Support, presented the awards.

More than 760 nominations were received from students and staff to recognise members of the college across different categories. A total of 31 awards were presented on the day.

Many of the nominations came from students themselves who were keen to thank members of staff who have encouraged and supported them to achieve.

Senior Learning Resource Centre Co-ordinator, Sarah Vadevalloo, was nominated for her caring nature and regard for her work. Her nomination continued: “She is always smiling and ready to help and support, both staff and students and it really feels as though nothing is too much trouble. She is, without exception, always helpful, friendly, pleasant, supportive and polite.”

Another winner, A-Level tutor Fiona Watson, was praised by a student for ‘going above and beyond.’ The nomination read: “I can say with absolute certainty that I would not be capable of, nor would I want to do, the course without her as a teacher. She instils curiosity, the love of learning, and ambition in her students, and is admired and respected by each and every one of us.”

Anthony McGarel, Deputy Principal and Chief Executive handed out the awards and congratulated the recipients.

He said: “It is wonderful to hear so many stories about staff going the extra mile to help students achieve and support colleagues. Everyone plays a crucial part at the college and these awards are an excellent opportunity to recognise great efforts from staff. Congratulations to all our winners.”

Kathy Mulvey from the college’s Senior Leadership Team was also presented with an Outstanding Contribution to the College award, to recognise her 17 years of service.


And the winners are…


Student nominations

Steve O’Shea, Digital Technology, Media and Performing Arts
Karen Davenport, Employability
Nicola Palmer, Foundation Learning
Kirsty Poulton, Employability
Jonathan Bradford, Engineering and Construction
Damien Gearing, Health and Science
Simon Horrocks, Engineering and Construction
Rhys Hawkins, Health and Science
Denise Harley, Service Industries
Jack Bryant, English and Maths
Fiona Watson, A-Levels
Zoe Viscardini, Health & Science
Henry Williams, Additional Learning Support
Maria Swepson, Higher Education
Helen Adeniyi, ESOL


Colleague award
Sarah Vadevalloo, Learning Services
Nikki Hill, Student Services
Ben Aston, Apprenticeships and Subcontracting
Sam Morrison, Health and Science
Helen Sharpe, Apprenticeships and Subcontracting


James Hinton-Lever, English and Maths
Alex Shaw, Marketing and Communications
Gemma Ball, Additional Learning Support


Business Support
Chris Bignell, Computing Services
Glen Pinder, Computing Services
Rosa Reale, Commercial Services


Nicky O’Brein, Employability
Helen Topliss, Health and Science
Hannah Johnson, Art, Design and Business


Team of the Year
Employability Team


Outstanding Contribution to the College
Kathy Mulvey, Senior Leadership Team

Success stories

Celebrating Success 2022: Maison Lundrigan

Celebrating Success 2022: Maison Lundrigan

Course studied

Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Level 3 Diploma

It’s a great college, especially for people with disabilities. The support I received from my tutor Charlie was brilliant. I really enjoyed the practical, hands-on aspect of the course.

Maison Lundrigan was named Motor Vehicle Student of the Year for his dedication and the consistent hard work he put into his studies.

The 18-year-old was praised for the high quality of his work and the fact that he was the first to pass his online exams. 

He has excelled during his time at the college, so much so, he is now embarking on a three-year apprenticeship programme at the college.

Maison has achieved all this despite living with additional needs.

He said it felt ‘brilliant’ to win the award and ‘it’s made me realise that I can achieve even with my disability.’

He added: “I chose the college because it offered the right course for me.

“It’s a great college, especially for people with disabilities. The support I received from my tutor Charlie was brilliant. I really enjoyed the practical, hands-on aspect of the course.”

Maison is now looking forward to his apprenticeship so he can pursue his dream of becoming a car mechanic.

His tutor said: “He is a pleasant and well-mannered young man that any college or employer would be pleased to have. Maison has a very bright future ahead of him.”

Celebrating Success 2022: Luke Lambert

Celebrating Success 2022: Luke Lambert

Course studied

Performing and Production Arts (Musical Theatre) Level 3 Extended Diploma

I have enjoyed receiving honest feedback and having the opportunity to grow as a performer. Tutors really encourage their students.

Performing Arts Student of the Year, Luke Lambert, has won his award because in every respect, his development and improvement has been outstanding.

Luke said that he feels extremely proud and grateful for the recognition. 

He said: “I chose to study at the college because I went to the open day with my parents. We were all really excited by the course and impressed by Richard and his ambition for his students.”

He added: “The course has been great for learning professional etiquette, as well as the actual training. I have enjoyed receiving honest feedback and having the opportunity to grow as a performer. Richard and Neil really encourage their students.” 

Luke’s tutor said: “Luke is an outstanding student. The development of his skills set during his time at this college is phenomenal which has been rewarded by casting him in the lead of the cohorts FMP production of ‘Spring Awakening’. As a result of his continuous diligence and want to improve, he has achieved offers from four top London Drama Schools to study Musical Theatre, Bird College, Arts Educational, Italia Conti and Guildford Conservatoire (GSA). This is far above what was expected at the beginning of his training. 

“He has demonstrated that he is highly motivated to succeed in this industry and aspires to always do his best. He is polite and well-mannered at all times to both his peers and his tutors. He is extremely well respected  by his cohort. He is always supportive of them and goes out of his way to help them. 

“He has become a very influential member of the group in so many positive ways. Behaviour, focus and attention to detail is impeccable and cannot be faulted. He has met every deadline for both practical and academic tasks. A faultless time at this college.”

Luke will be studying for a BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre at ArtsEd in London from September and his ultimate ambition is to be performing leading roles in the West End. 

Celebrating Success 2022: Zoe Souto

Celebrating Success 2022: Zoe Souto

Course studied

Animal Care Level 2 Diploma

Zoe Souto, 17, from Rayleigh, studied Level 2 Animal Care at the college’s Southend campus.

She was nominated for the award for her excellent attendance and attitude to college life and for completing work before deadlines to a very high standard.

Her tutor said: “Zoe is a very calming influence on the group. She keeps up-to-date with all work and goes above and beyond what is expected.

“Zoe may be hearing impaired but she never lets that act as a barrier to her learning and does everything to a great standard. I often have to set her work from level 3 to keep her ticking over.”

Zoe said: “I feel so proud of myself and surprised as I didn’t expect to be nominated, let alone win. I enjoyed all the support that was given during my course and have always been made to feel at home at the college.”

Zoe’s ambition for the future is to run her own pet services business or run her own cattery.