A HARTLEPOOL-BASED student has impressed college lecturers to win an award.
Zofia Skolimowska, 40, was nominated for the award by her lecturers at East Durham College, in Peterlee, for the effort and performance she is demonstrating on her course.
Zofia, originally from near Warsaw, in Poland, moved to the UK to try to improve her standard of living and job prospects.
Despite only arriving in the UK six years ago with a basic level of English, Zofia is now on the way to gaining the challenging Foundation Degree in education and care.
While working on the course she is also working as a teaching assistant at Grange Primary School, in Hartlepool.
Zofia joined the Access to Higher Education programme at the college two years ago and is now studying the foundation degree two evenings a week.
College bosses were so pleased with her progress they gave her the award for Best Student in the Health, Social and Care Department.
Paula Kirton, head of care at the college and one of Zofia’s lecturers, said: “Zofia is an amazing student. While her first language is obviously Polish, this really does not hinder her in her ability or her participation on the course.
“She produces written work to an extremely high standard, often handing in assignments before the deadline, and in some modules she is working above a 2.1.
“Zofia shows an inquisitive and analytical approach to her work. She will question ideas and concepts in class to clarify her understanding and she is confident in supporting her views with well grounded research.
“Zofia also works extremely well with her peers. She is a great role model in class. She thoroughly deserves this award.”
Back in Poland, Zofia used to work in a social services role and for job clubs.
When she first emigrated she worked in a factory.
Louise Perfect, headteacher at Grange Primary, added: “Zofia’s successes at East Durham College are also reflected in her work at Grange Primary School where she is employed as a teaching assistant and translator.
“At the present time she is supporting a child from Poland to access learning using English as a second language.
“She is always hardworking, enthusiastic and is an important part of our team – working with children in an inclusive setting. She has been a very positive addition to our school sharing information about life in Poland and Polish culture.”