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Alumni showcased at Higher Education awards

BMet’s 2018 Alumni Awards were presented to early years professional, Faraza Anderson and structural engineer, Asha Devi.

The former Sutton Coldfield College and Matthew Boulton College students received their awards at BMet’s Higher Education Awards ceremony at Birmingham Town Hall.

BMet Principal, Cliff Hall said: “Our Alumni Awards put former students under a ‘then and now’ spotlight, congratulating them on their remarkable careers. They also show how further education transforms peoples’ lives, putting them in a position to inspire and support others.

“Faraza and Asha embody this and much more besides. Congratulations to both of them.”

A former journalist for The Sunday Times in Sri Lanka, Faraza Anderson worked in publishing before pursuing an early years career to fit around the needs of her young son. She studied a Foundation degree in Early Years at Sutton Coldfield College and then gained a First in her full honours degree in Integrated Working with Children and Families at the University of Worcester.

Faraza came to the University of Worcester’s attention on more than one occasion, receiving an Academic Achievement Scholarship Award and having her work quoted in an international publication about pedagogy in early education.

She now works in an independent school in Edgbaston and plans to pursue a Masters in Policy, Superdiversity and Migration so she can progress into a role advocating for children’s welfare and rights.

Commenting on her award, Faraza said: “It is an incredible honour. As a mature student changing careers, I never expected to be singled out for recognition. It’s something that will motivate me to continue achieving.

“What I have really taken away from being a BMet student is that it is never too late to study, whatever your age, background or circumstances. All you need is ambition, determination and passion to realise your dreams. I am still beaming with pride for everything I have achieved.”

After completing A levels in pure and applied mathematics, physics and computer science, Asha Devi studied engineering at the University of Birmingham. From there she joined Arup where she has worked for 27 years. During the 1990s she worked on projects in Brindley Place, Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the HSBC Bank building at Canary Wharf.

Her career has also taken her to New York, where she worked with the search and rescue teams at the world trade centre site following the 9/11 attacks in New York and to Tanzania where she worked with a NGO in the development of a new hospital project.

Asha has been included in a newly-published book called ‘Once Upon A Time in Birmingham: Women who Dared to Dream’. She is featured alongside campaigner Malala Yousafzai and trade unionist Jessie Eden.

“I’m thrilled to accept the award,” said Asha. “My time at college shaped my ambitions. By sharing my career journey I want to encourage others to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, and go on to do life-changing work.

“Inspiring the next generation of engineers is something I’m passionate about. I hope to spend more time with BMet students raising awareness of career opportunities out there.”

Faraza and Asha received their awards at BMet’s Higher Education Awards ceremony where over 300 students celebrated the completion of their higher and university-level qualifications.

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