Senior Tutor Mark Salmon was named Young People’s Champion at the recent O2 Awards.
The honour recognised his determination to ensure high fliers at Priestley reach the UK’s top universities while also offering support to others during their A Levels or BTEC studies.
“My passion for this comes from never wanting to give up on anybody,” said Mark, from Lymm. “I want all students to leave us with the skills they need to succeed in life.”
Three years ago Mark launched The Graduate programme at Priestley College with the aim of helping students reach the UK’s best universities.
So far it has helped 150 young people. Last year, 26 of the 27 ‘graduates’ went on to study at a Russell Group university while the other secured a place at their first choice of Lancaster.
Mark, who teaches history and has been a tutor at Priestley for 13 years, said one of The Graduate’s main goals was convincing young people they belonged at universities such as Cambridge and Oxford.
“I want to shatter any preconceptions they may have about who studies at these universities and break down any barriers about what they believe they can achieve,” he said.
“One of the ways we do this is by arranging for former Priestley students who are now studying at the likes of Oxford to meet our current cohort and give them a tour of the university.”
O2’s Young People’s Champion award was also given to Mark for his pastoral role as a personal and senior tutor.
This week he launched a new programme aimed at giving students the edge in securing a job when they leave Priestley College.
The workshops will focus on writing CVs, job interviews and providing a greater understanding of what it takes to be a good employee.
“Not everyone who studies at Priestley will want to go to university and it is vital we give all students the skills they need to achieve their full potential,” said Mark.
Colleague Fran Evans, who nominated Mark for the award, said: “Mark’s work on The Graduate has been inspiring to so many students and made a difference to their lives. He thoroughly deserves the award for all his hard work and commitment.”