Edinburgh College graduate in the running for national education award

An Edinburgh College Music graduate is in line to bag a national education award at a ceremony in Manchester next month.

Twenty-one-year-old BMus (Hons) graduate Jack McKenzie from Livingston is a finalist in the Degree category at the British Education Awards, which is held every year to celebrate the success of students from universities and colleges across the UK.

Jack, who graduated in September, spent three years at the College gaining the experience and qualifications needed to help him pursue a career in media composition – writing for film, television and video games.

Jack was nominated, not only for his outstanding academic results where he achieved a first class honours degree with a number of distinctions along the way, but for his dedication to transforming the fortunes of the College’s orchestra when it faced being dissolved, and inspiring students across the curriculum in the process.

Fuelled by his passion for music, Jack never gave up on the orchestra and took over leadership of the group. Despite facing many challenges, Jack managed to propel the orchestra to new heights of success leading it to successful performances all over the country, and making it a mainstay of the College’s Music department for years to come.

Photography by Margot Katerina

The former West Calder High School pupil said: “It felt very surreal to be named a finalist at the British Education Awards. I’m really looking forward to the ceremony, it’s a great opportunity to meet a whole bunch of people all over the country and make new connections.”

“I have to say it was extremely difficult to manage 50+ fellow students and rehearse once a week, every week as part of the orchestra. It was particularly challenging because I had to spend a few weeks over my summer transcribing and arranging the orchestral repertoire (of up to 28 individual parts at any one time), printing and organising folders for players, planning rehearsals and communicating with lecturers and staff about concerts and venues.”

Edinburgh College Music and Sound Production curriculum leader Laurie Crump said: “I’m very proud Jack has been shortlisted for this award – he is a real inspiration to all of our students, they all see how much hard work and passion he has put into his time at College. Under Jack’s leadership the College’s orchestra reached new heights of success and his legacy will last for years to come.”