KATY Graham from Bishop Auckland College of Further Education has been named as the winner of the VQ Newly Qualified FE Teacher of the Year Award 2014.

This is the first time vocational education teachers and trainers have been recognised at the annual VQ Awards led by independent education charity, the Edge Foundation.

The award, which is sponsored by IFL, has been introduced to recognise the efforts of the thousands of vocational teachers and trainers who help learners gain the skills, qualifications and motivation they need to achieve the edge.

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Katy, a former police officer, decided to change career and follow in her mother’s footsteps to become a teacher.

Katy has transformed teaching at the college, reinvigorating the curriculum for sport, leisure, uniformed services, music, art & design and performing arts – a large and diverse curriculum area.

She has pioneered education projects to inspire students from disadvantaged backgrounds to apply for higher level programmes, as well as key charity fundraising events. Katy’s unique background has allowed her to bring her own talents to this role and benefit the whole college community.

Katy said: "I'm elated and very humbled to be named as the winner. I enjoy teaching so much and I sincerely hope my work has given my students the skills and inspiration to pursue their chosen careers with confidence, and that it will continue to do so for many years to come."

Held on the 4th June 2014, VQ Day is an annual event led by independent education charity, the Edge Foundation. It aims to celebrate the benefits of technical, practical and vocational learning.

Jan Hodges, CEO of the Edge Foundation, said. “Katy is a fantastic teacher and a worthy winner of this award, inspiring her students every through her hard work and dedication.”