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Learner of the Year 2021 Announced

by Sports Leaders,

Posted on the 09/07/2021

SLQ Sports Leaders is delighted to announce the winner of 2021’s Learner of the Year Award as Joyce Npuna from Barnet.

The Sports Leader of the Year Award is our annual chance to recognise the incredible progress and huge achievement s made by the young people taking on our Qualifications and Awards.

The award creates a perfect opportunity to celebrate the learners who have gone to great efforts to develop their own skills and become a force for good within their community or among their peers, leading others in a variety of activities and sessions or taking part in volunteering projects.

In particular, this year has forced learners to be more flexible than ever with their plans for developing their skills and demonstrating leadership, with Covid restrictions forcing school closure and bubbles into isolation. As part of the judging process, nominees considered how the changing environment affected them and how they adapted to the circumstances, building vital experience for the future.

As part of their nominations for the Award, learners assessed their ability in the five skills which make up our Skills Framework, which recognises the five attributes identified by research from Youth Employment UK as being essential for young people to succeed. These are: Communication, Self-Belief, Teamwork, Self-Management and Problem Solving. Having graded their abilities at the start of their course, learners were provided an opportunity to show how they had developed their skills and then update their view of their abilities having completed the course.

To accompany this, nominees outlined the activities they had played a part in and the impact they had on their communities, as well as the adaptations they made to accommodate changing guidelines around the pandemic. For the award finalists, this was supported by a short video, presenting the learners with a chance to bring their nomination to life and demonstrate the environments in which they are making an impact.

After reviewing the entries and scoring them against set criteria, our panel of judges selected four finalists, from which Joyce was chosen as the overall winner.

Although all of this year’s finalists were, as in previous years, exceptional, Joyce’s entry was chosen due to her demonstration of developing her confidence and her willingness to take on new challenges, stepping out of her comfort zone to organise a variety of virtual sports challenges for primary schools in her local area. This included leading a team of six other learners to film coaching and delivery of challenges which were then posted on the Barnet Sports Partnership website and rolled out to Primary Schools, helping to encourage young children to get active from home.

On hearing the announcement of the award, Joyce was delighted. She said: "I can truly say that I never expected to win an award of this level, especially in Sports Leadership, given that I didn't do it with the expectation of a reward or any recognition but simply for the love of sport.

“Sports Leadership has provided me with so much hope for my future and confidence in my own skills. I am proud to represent my school, my country, my family and myself.

“I hope to inspire other young people that they can work towards anything they want."

Throughout her course, Joyce has been supported by her tutor, Part Lardner, who has played a key role in helping her to achieve her goals. Pat shared in Joyce’s delight on receiving the good news. She said: “We are absolutely ecstatic about Joyce winning the award I am delighted for her as she has been quite simply the best ever Sports Leader we have had to date after years of running Young Leaders, Level 1, 2 and 3 courses.

“She stands out amongst the best for her interpersonal skills in dealing and communicating with young people from a range of backgrounds and with a range of abilities, disabilities and mental health issues.

“All young people have been inspired by her enthusiasm and love of sport, making each and every young person in her care feel extra special, valued and confident in their ability to do their best. Joyce quite simply is a giver not a receiver, but she is blessed and humbled when she sees the work and achievements young people in her care produce, especially when they never thought they could aspire and achieve to do their best!

“The joy, enthusiasm, excitement and smiles on their faces when working with Joyce is reflected in Joyce’s summary she gave on the power of what Leadership in Sport means to her in her presentation for Learner of the Year Award for Sports Leaders. Joyce started Sports Leadership in year 7 to year 13 and the qualities, skills and guidance she has received from St James and Sports Leaders have truly transformed her into an amazing leader.

“Thank you for voting her Learner of the Year.”

This year’s finalists in full: -

Joyce Npuna (winner)
Barnet, London

Erin Stewart
Glasgow, Scotland

Sophia Hussain
Croydon, London

Suraiya Sacoor
Croydon, London

Find out more about all the finalists and take a look at their videos here. Entries for 2022’s Learner of the Year Awards will open soon, so there’s no better time to consider the ways in which learners from your centre could be nominated. Our Learner of the Year Award recognises the personal development of young people throughout their leadership course, in addition to their impact on their community and the challenges they have overcome to achieve success.

To hear when nominations open for the 2022 Learner of the Year Award, and to receive all the latest updates from Sports Leaders, make sure to follow us on Twitter.

Categories for this post: Good News Stories

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