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15th July 2021

The exceptional achievements of Lily Carcaterra, from Newcastle and Stafford College Colleges Group’s (NSCG’s) Stafford College campus, were celebrated today as she was awarded the prestigious BTEC Award for Business and Enterprise Learner of the Year 2021 and Young Learner of the Year Award.


Lily was praised for juggling numerous commitments – volunteering, advocating for others at her college and working several jobs in tandem with her studies - all powered by the determination to build a bright future through sheer hard work and academic achievement. Lily’s tutors described her as independent, emphatic, high achieving, resilient and remarkable.

Lily’s achievements were celebrated at Pearson’s annual BTEC Awards hosted online on 7 July 2021.

Award winner Lily Carcaterra said: “If you asked me two years ago if I could win this award, I would have laughed and probably shrugged it off. My BTEC course came to me during such a hard period of my life, but it allowed me to push for a better me, a me with a thirst to learn more and to be better; it gave me an alternative path to studying, which in hand allowed me to grow my self-confidence. To be nominated for this award is absolutely amazing and without the support of NSCG Stafford College I wouldn’t be where I am today! I can see a clear path in regard to where I want to go in life and I’m grateful to BTEC for giving me an incredible springboard to my future.”

Cindy Rampersaud, Senior Vice President for BTEC and Apprenticeships at Pearson, said: “2021 has been another extraordinary year for our BTEC learners, tutors, teachers, colleges and schools and I am delighted that today we are able to come together and celebrate this year’s winners - and all of the individuals who will be awarded a BTEC qualification this year. The hard work and commitment demonstrated by our award winners, all of whom have achieved great things during a time of unprecedented disruption, is extraordinary and I am proud we are able to celebrate their achievements.”

Learners, tutors, teachers, colleges and schools also saw their achievements recognised in the 11th annual BTEC awards ceremony, held online for the second year running due to coronavirus.

The ceremony was co-hosted by presenter of the United View, YouTube influencer and BTEC alumnus and ambassador, Flex and sports presenter and events host, Gemma Care. 19 category award winners were celebrated from around the UK and internationally in subjects such as Health and Social Care, Performing Arts, Engineering, IT, Business and Sport.

BTEC alumni including Academy Award-winning producer and Head of Film and Animation at ScreenSkills Gareth Ellis-Unwin, entrepreneur and founder of SB.TV Jamal Edwards MBE, and award-winning actress Lucy Fallon were among those also presenting awards.

During the ceremony hosted on YouTube, Pearson also announced the winners of the 2021 Showstopper Challenge, a competition that gives BTEC performers the opportunity to showcase their talents. The audience were treated to performances from:

  • Bishop Challoner Catholic College
  • Jackie Palmer Academy
  • Clevedon School
  • D16 Performing Arts College

Commenting on Lily’s achievement, Becky Sargeant, Curriculum Manager for Business at NSCG Stafford College, said: “We are incredibly proud of Lily and delighted that she’s been recognised with a national BTEC award. From the very first time I met Lily at her interview for the course, her determination shone through and I instinctively knew I was talking to someone special. Lily’s work is exemplary and in winning this award, she has set a fantastic example to current and future students that no matter what barriers you are facing, with hard work, resilience and the right support you can overcome them. The future is very bright for Lily, we wish her all of the luck in the world as she leaves NSCG Stafford College to embark on the next stage of her educational journey at university.”

Nearly a million learners across the globe completed BTEC courses over the past year; the career-focused qualifications are a vital route for those pursuing careers in sectors such as IT, business, the creative industries, healthcare, engineering, construction and future industries. This is especially important in the current context as the UK responds to the global pandemic and looks to kickstart projects to speed economic recovery.

Jonathan Ledger, Skills Specialist at The Department for International Trade commented: “I must emphasise the importance of BTEC as a career-focused type of qualification and that for me is key. This is all about delivering the right skills to the right people at the right time in the right way and BTEC qualifications do just that. For me, BTEC qualifications are a game changer. They change lives and they help people improve and contribute to business and society in a big way.

A huge congratulations once again to all the winners and all of the nominees.”