Edinburgh College graduate in the running to be named among the best of British

An Edinburgh College graduate is heading to Manchester this week to find out if she has won a prestigious education award.

HND Hospitality Management graduate Marta Villacorta, has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Vocational category at the British Education Awards (BEA), which celebrates the academic and extracurricular achievements of students across the UK.

Marta is among 76 candidates shortlisted at this year’s BEA, with the winners due to be announced at an official ceremony on Thursday 31 January in Manchester. She will attend the ceremony with two of her College classmates.

Awards will be presented to winners in five regions – England (divided into two zones), Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales; and within four categories – GCSE or Scottish National 5, A Level or Scottish Advanced Higher, Vocational and Degree.

Thirty-four-year-old Marta’s nomination follows an amazing year in which she raised more than £2,000 for Phabkids, a UK-wide charity.

Much of the money was raised by hosting a fundraising dinner at the College’s EH15 restaurant. After months of planning and organising, Marta then marketed the event by producing her own marketing materials, asking various staff and students to get involved with serving, working on the bar, face-painting, cooking etc.

Marta asked those in attendance to donate how much they thought the night was worth, as well as running a raffle which was helped by the donation of prizes from local businesses Marta had approached for support.

In addition to the fundraising dinner, Marta also ran the London Marathon in April 2018 and cut off her long hair – all to support Phabkids.

As a result of all her hard work, Marta was named the Edinburgh College Development Trust Student of the Year 2018 for going above and beyond her role as a student.

Marta said: “It is really amazing to have been shortlisted for this award, I couldn’t believe it. I’m really looking forward to going to Manchester for the ceremony and meeting all of the other students who are finalists. I’m thrilled to have got this far and I’m really proud that people think my college and charity work is worthy of national recognition – that makes me feel very humble and will inspire me to continue helping others in the future. Good luck to everyone on the night.”

Edinburgh College Hospitality lecturer Victoria Anderson said: “Congratulations to Marta for this nomination, she thoroughly deserves it. The entire Hospitality team is massively proud of what she has achieved in and out of College. Marta has conducted herself amazingly in the time we have known her, worked selflessly for charity all the while having an infectious kind and considerate nature towards everyone around her. She always has something positive to say. Good luck Marta, we’re all behind you.”