See some of our previous students' success stories below.

Amanda Woolard

Amanda (BA(Hons) Textiles and Surface Design) was working as a kitchen designer in Ikea when she made the bold decision to return to education in her 40s.

It proved a great decision as she graduated with First Class Honours and was selected as the Embroiderers’ Guild Scholar for 2016 in the over 30s category.

She has been featured in Embroidery magazine and has exhibited her work with the Embroiderers’ Guild at major events in London, Dublin and Harrogate. She also exhibited her work with the Society of Designer Craftsmen at the Mall Galleries and works as a freelance textile artist taking commissions, giving talks and running workshops.

“Making the decision to go back into education has been an amazing experience and impacted my career path greatly,” she said.

Amanda Woolard

Amir Rashid

Aspiring model Amir (Business Diploma Level 3) didn’t want to miss out on the chance to be the face of his college.

“I recently signed with a modelling agency and have done a little bit of commercial modelling already, catwalks and outdoor shoots. I didn’t want to miss out on this job though. I thought it was an opportunity not to be missed. I think it is a great idea using real students rather than hiring a bunch of models as then people get to see what college is really about and what student life is really like.”


Andy Wilds

Andy Wilds graduated from the BA (Hons) Public Services Management Course with a first class honours degree.  Andy made a three hour round trip from Hull to attend classes at Bradford College, whilst working fulltime as a Fire Officer. 

Speaking about his Bradford College experience, Andy said: “The course has been extremely beneficial and has helped me immensely in my current role.”

The skills and qualifications Andy has gained from the course have led to rapid promotion within the Fire Service.  Commenting on the level of support he received from Bradford College tutors, Andy said: “The support has been fantastic! The tutors have all got their own different ways of doing things, but the one thing they have in common is they all made time for all of us.”

“The support has been fantastic! The tutors have all got their own different ways of doing things, but the one thing they have in common is they all made time for all of us.”
Andy Wilds

Ann Barrans

Retiring after 30 years of self-employment, Ann was looking for some form of personal fulfilment when she earned a place at Bradford School of Art studying BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design.

Opting for part-time study over six years as she “wanted to enjoy the educational process and not feel pressured to just tick boxes”, she revelled in the traditional art school environment.

At the age of 65 she graduated with first class honours and was awarded third place in the Graduate of the Year competition run by Textile Study group. She was also invited to exhibit at the New Designers show in London 2016.

Her talent was also recognized by the Embroiderers' Guild which featured her in 'Embroidery, The Textile Art Magazine'.

Ann Barrans

Devon Meah

 Devon studied Beauty Therapy Make-up Studies Level 2, and says: “When BBC Children in Need were filming live from Bradford College my lecturer Sophie Metcalfe gave me an amazing opportunity to shadow a BBC makeup artist, Anita Ashby. This allowed me to ask her how she got into the makeup industry and from this I have decided to continue my studies here at Bradford College and complete my Level 3 Diploma in Fashion, Theatre and Media Hair and Make-Up Studies. During the time I shadowed Anita I was able to ask her questions and tips, she introduced me to the air base machine which applies makeup with more of a flawless natural finish.

Devon Meah

Edward Vickerman

Former Bradford College PGCE student teacher, Edward Vickerman was told he would never make it as a teacher because of his dyslexia.

Edward has since gone on to scoop the national ‘Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. He described his education at Bradford College as ‘A first class introduction into teaching.’ Edward studied with Bradford College’s McMillan Faculty of Education and valued his time there.

He felt the College was the right teacher trainer institution for him, particularly when support for his dyslexia was discussed. Bradford College tutors Joanne Courtney and Jill Powell recognised his potential and accepted him on the PGCE course.

“The word ‘outstanding’ is bandied around a lot – but Joanne and Jill are outstanding. I couldn’t have become a teacher without their help. They believed in me and were prepared to invest time in me.”
Edward Vickerman

Ellen O'Keefe

Previously home-educated Ellen (Performing and Arts Level 2) dreamt of becoming an actor so had no qualms about taking centre stage in the college’s advertising.

“I've had a really good time since coming to Bradford College. Before coming here I was home educated. Everyone is really friendly and I've learnt lots of things. I would like to go into acting when I leave and am currently part of three drama groups - Ilkey Playhouse’s Greenroom, Bradford Youth Players and Theatre Lab - and have been in over 20 productions during my time acting.”

Ellen O'Keefe

Fatima Elahi

Fatima joined the College in September 2015 after moving to Bradford from Iran. She is currently studying English (ESOL), GCSE maths higher and IT skills and eventually wants to train to be a dentist.

“What I like best about Bradford College is its friendly atmosphere and hardworking staff. Taking part in this photoshoot was one of the highlights of my time here. I really appreciate the amazing opportunity to encourage my friends via media to join and learn. My boyfriend is a professional photographer so I am used to having my photograph taken but I have not done something like this photoshoot before.”


Fiona Hodge

Since graduating from Bradford College with a first-class honours degree in public services management, Fiona Hodge has carved out a successful career within the industry.

Now working as an emergency planning officer at Hounslow Council in London, she recently took part in the biggest ever multi-agency disaster training exercise.

Exercise Unified Response saw London’s emergency services come together to see how they would cope with a major disaster.

The disaster training was coordinated by the London Fire Brigade and involved the Metropolitan Police, London Ambulance, the NHS and local councils reacting to a tower ‘collapsing’ into Waterloo Tube Station.

An entire Tube station was recreated then ‘crushed’ to make the £1m exercise as realistic as possible.

Fiona Hodge

Jo Purchon-Ball

Focussed and dedicated, 22 year old Jo Purchon-Ball is an exceptional student. Despite being heavily pregnant, with a week to go before the arrival of her second child, Jo’s dedication and commitment to her
studies never faltered. Before returning to education, Jo worked as a bar assistant and discovered she was pregnant with her first child at the age of 19. Jo’s pregnancy fuelled her motivation to create a better life for her unborn child so she decided to enrol on a Foundation Degree in Hospitality and Management at Bradford College and has never looked back.

As an inspirational student, Jo looks set to achieve excellent grades and enjoy a career she finds fulfilling and inspiring.

“I’ve always had an interest in Restaurant Management and I want to provide a good life for my daughter and let her have everything that she wants. With the help and support of my tutors I’ve had the motivation to succeed! I couldn’t have done it without them!”
Jo Purchon-Ball

Joanna Wood

Joanna Wood won a prestigious Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Queen’s Jubilee Scholarship Trust (QUEST) Technician Scholarship. QUEST supports and encourages education in Civil Engineering and is well respected and associated with excellence. Joanna, in the final year of an HNC in Civil Engineering at Bradford College beat off stiff competition to scoop the award which attracts high-calibre applicants. She impressed a panel of judges with her enthusiasm and passion for her work and was one of only three applicants to be selected from the region.

Joanna already holds a degree in Creative Imaging Graphic Design, but wanted the challenge of a change of career.

“At the moment it seems lots of people are trying to change their careers because they have no choice as they have been made redundant. I wanted to show you can be successful in something else after you have had a career change.”
Joanna Wood

John Carolan

Budding filmmaker John (Access to Further Education) credits the college with transforming his life. He arrived two years ago as a shy teenager who struggled to read and write having missed out on regular schooling because he moved so often with his traveller family. Having since been diagnosed dyslexic, and given the appropriate support, he has flourished academically and socially. He works on student radio station Ramair and is up for a national award for a short animation film he made.

“When I came to College I was shy and not confident, but when I think of some of the things I have done now it shocks me. I have spoken in front of a hundreds of students, made and shown my short films and hosted radio shows. If someone tells you going to College is pointless, they have never been more wrong.”

John Carolan

Lewis Bell

Lewis (Foundation Degree in Hospitality and Travel Management) got involved for the experience rather than fame.

“I don’t seek fame as I don’t think that is important but I would like to tell people that Bradford College is a great place. I am in my fourth year at the college now and am proud to be an ambassador. It will look good on my CV too, to show I have confidence and like to try new things. Imagine if I was at an interview and a future employer could see me on the website or posters. That would be great.”


Minal Patel

Former Bradford College student Minal Patel rose to fame and critical acclaim when her family’s Bradford restaurant ‘Prashad’ featured on Gordon Ramsay’s hit Channel 4 TV series ‘Ramsay’s Best Restaurant’.

Winning the hearts and minds of the nation with her infectious enthusiasm for vegetarian cuisine, she beat off competition from more than 12,000 eateries nationwide to reach the final of the series. Minal first enrolled on an ESOL course at the College, before progressing through a series of professional cookery qualifications to become the award winning chef she is today. Minal has since been recruited by Gordon Ramsay to work in his flagship London restaurant for two days a week.

“I had never cooked professionally until I got married and joined my husband and his mother in the kitchen. I learnt so much from investing in education - all of my confidence and knowledge has come from Bradford College. To any prospective students I would say, if you have a passion for food, then go for it!.”
Minal Patel

Mohammed Iqbal

Mohammed (Business Diploma Level 3) is excited at the prospect of being seen around his home city.

“Instagram is the only place you normally see my pictures but when I heard the college were looking for students to take part I jumped at the chance. I remember seeing the college adverts on buses and billboards last year. They work. You notice them and I thought it would be amazing to be in one and have all those people see.”


Naomi Bernard

Naomi Bernard left school with no qualifications and was a single parent relying on benefits when she decided to return to education with Bradford College.  

Now she runs her own business, called Active Early UK, which provides sports coaching to children.

Yet her remarkable life-change came almost by accident. The sports-mad mum was searching the internet for a women’s football team she could join when she landed on the Bradford College website. The college’s sports courses soon caught her eye and she decided to sign up for an OCR National Diploma in Sport.  

Naomi Bernard

Nelda Valtere

Art student Nelda (Art and Design Level 3) is a veteran of the college, and its advertising campaigns.

“I am in my fourth year at Bradford College now, having come first to do an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and GCSEs. I took part in last year’s photoshoot too. It was good fun to do and nice to see the end results so I really wanted to be involved again. It is the best way to represent the college, using actual students.”


Nnennaya Okereke

Nnennaya (BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business) joined Bradford College after moving north from London two years ago when her father relocated for work. A keen drummer and dancer, she used to perform with a group called CEO dancers, who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2013, but now has her own group. A class representative, she has been involved in organising charity fundraising events in the college. When she completes her BTEC in business she plans to move on to university to study accounting and finance. “I like the fact that tutors at Bradford College are always ready to assist, push and encourage students. It is a friendly environment which is very important because that encourages people to study and feel safe. I would encourage anyone considering coming to Bradford College to do it. It is the place to be.


Sadaf Shazad

Married mum-of-two Sadaf (Hospitality and Travel Management Degree) combines studying with working in aviation security at Leeds-Bradford airport. Originally from Pakistan, she first started at Bradford in 2011 but had to take a break in her studies when her husband had a liver transplant. She eventually hopes to do a PGCE here and become a teacher. She says: “When I started at Bradford College I was the first in my family to come to England and study for a degree. People can’t believe I do it all, work, run the house, look after the kids and study but I manage it. Coming to college for me is something positive. I really look forward to it. I want to be a role model my kids and to other women in my culture. When I told my 11-year-old daughter about possibly being in the adverts, she said go for it!”


Selame Negussie Taye

Selame (Access to Sciences Level 3) joined Bradford College in 2013, after moving to the UK from Kenya. Having successfully attained GCSE and AS Levels at the College she is now on a science course that she hopes will help her progress to study psychology at university. Away from College, Selame has worked to support refugees in Bradford and was recently chosen by the BBC to provide her voice for an animation for children. She says: “One of the things I love about Bradford College is how everyone seems to enjoy and respect each other’s company, staff and students included. A highlight of my time here is when I got the opportunity to meet the MEP Richard Corbett. Bradford College has provided students such as me the platform to speak with existing leaders and discuss how to improve the society we are in.

Selame Taye

Stephen Cleaver

Fitness fan Stephen first joined Bradford College to qualify as a gym instructor but left with a degree in Sport and Physical Activity – collecting a student of the year award along the way for the rare achievement of getting full marks in an exam.

From his initial gym instructors course he moved onto a personal trainer qualification then did a Foundation Degree which he later topped-up into a BSc (Hons).

He says it was the encouragement of staff that helped him progress down the academic route.

He said: “My tutor on the gym instructor course recommended that I try for the Foundation Degree in Physical Activity Health and Wellbeing. He said he saw that I had the potential to go far with it.”

Stephen Cleaver

Suman Hanif

Film graduate Suman (BA (Hons) Film) looks set for a big screen future having already had a documentary screened at an international film festival.

Her documentary called Plates was shown at the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, having earlier been shown in Bradford. The film, which Suman directed and produced, considers the increasing problem of food poverty in the UK and the juxtaposition of growing levels of food waste.

“I believe that the subject of the film affects every single human in the world in some way or another,” explained Suman.
“The documentary film is a small attempt to get people thinking about how they can deal with food in a much better way and help those who are less fortunate.

Suman Hanif

Zanele Nyoni-Lynch

During her time at Bradford Law School, multi-award-winning student Zanele Nyoni-Lynch scooped a number of high-profile accolades.

As the winner of the ICLR Mooting Competition prize for two consecutive years, Bradford Council (Legal & Democratic Services) prize for Most Outstanding Achievement on LLB and the African Academic Achievement Award, committed and focused Zanele was noted for her hard work and determination to succeed.

Graduating with a First Class LLB Honours degree, Zanele credits her mother and husband for their support during her studies.

Having practiced law at local law firm Switalskis Solicitors in Bradford and having completed her Masters degree, Zanele is now a University lecturer.


“With support from the tutors who pushed me to get high marks and a lot of hard work, I’m really happy that I have achieved my ambition of gaining a First Class LLB Honours degree.”
Zanele Nyoni-Lynch