Valerie Hornall (40) – who graduated with an HND in computer-aided architectural design and technology – was presented with the top prize (sponsored by SQA) along with the award for Most Promising Student in the department of construction (sponsored by Scott Direct).
Mother of two Valerie, from Stenhousemuir, worked for 14 years as a national account credit supervisor for an energy firm. Recently she secured a job as an architectural technician at AGL Architects Ltd in Bridge of Allan.
After receiving the award during a ceremony at Stirling Castle, a “speechless” Valerie said: “My 12 year-old son, Corey, inspired me to retrain for a new career, so I have him to thank. I have two awards and will be dedicating them to my sons.
“The HND has allowed me to gain employment in the role I wanted, but along with that the course also gave me the confidence to continue with my change in career paths and the support from the lecturers kept me focused when I could have so easily given up.”
Charles Cameron, curriculum manager in FVC’s department of construction, said: “Val has been a pleasure to work with. Her attitude has been first class and she has done us all proud .”
College principal Dr Ken Thomson said: “No one has epitomised the high standards that Forth Valley has come to expect of its students this year more than Val Hornall. She has stood out on many levels and her commitment and dedication have been fantastic.”
Students from Brightons, Bonnybridge and Polmont also scooped top prizes.
Jacqueline Farrell (49), from Bonnybridge, won Most Promising Student in the department of business (sponsored by AG Office Supplies), Sheelagh Vause (53), from Brightons, was Most Promising Student in the department of access and progression (sponsored by Rotary Club of Falkirk), and Ellen Milne (20), from Polmont, won Business Development Department MA of the Year award (sponsored by FVC’s Business Development Department) at the college’s Falkirk Town Hall ceremony.
Steve Dunlop, chief executive of Scottish Canals, spoke at Falkirk while guest speaker at Stirling Castle was Aileen McKechnie, director of advanced learning and science at the Scottish Government. Bo’ness Academy Choir performed a medley of songs from Les Miserables at the Stirling ceremony.
Pupils who completed their HNCs at Forth Valley College while still at school also picked up their scrolls.
The 18 senior high school pupils were the first from FVC’s HNC Schools Programme to graduate, with 35 in total eligible to graduate this year. Pupils: HNC Early Education – Katja Kate Allison, Megan Coutts and Rebecca Paterson (all Graeme High), Emma Gilmour and Sarah Moffat (both Falkirk High). HNC Coaching and Developing Sport – Emma Grainger (Braes High) and Kirsten McKay (Larbert High). HNC Computing – Matthew Differ (Denny High) and Michael Kleinman (Larbert High). HNC Electrical Engineering – Andrew Woods (St Mungo’s High).
HNC Hospitality Management – Zaynab Ashraf and Rebecca Davies (both Denny High), Kieran Grenfell and Clodagh Killigrew (both Alloa Academy), Calum Gullen (Alva Academy), Aimee Keay (Larbert High), Jonathan McVicar (Bo’ness Academy) and Brandon Smith (Grangemouth High).