12 Inspirational Women of Stockport College
Who runs the world? Discover some of the most inspiring and empowered women of Stockport College.
Each year we bear witness to the extraordinary accomplishments of our female leaders, teachers, classmates and friends. Our list aims to celebrate a handful of these women, featuring a number of students (current and former) as well as members of our staff team.
Our very own claim to fame. After a studying at Stockport College, Angela started working as a care worker for Stockport Council where she gained experience at the sharp end of public services. In 2015 she became the first female Member of Parliament in the 180-year history of the Ashton-under-Lyne constituency and was quickly promoted to the Shadow Office by Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn. Angela then went on to hold the position of Shadow Pensions Minister, before becoming the Shadow Secretary of State for Education.
Balancing the responsibilities of a charitable organisation and a degree level education is a mammoth task, but is one that former student Catherine Alexander took in her stride. Enrolled on a BA (Hons) Health and Social Care course at Stockport College, Catherine had aspirations of influencing communities and minority groups across Stockport and Greater Manchester, realising her dreams when she established her own organisation Alexander Homes. With the aim to raise funds for the building and buying of homes for deaf adults who are no longer able to live independently in old age, Catherine continually returns to Stockport to inspire current students.
Hairdressing extraordinaire Chloe did it for the girls when she beat rivals to clinch Concept Hair Apprentice of the Year in under 30 minutes. Practice paid off for our talented Level 2 learner who won with a hairstyle made famous by the ‘flapper’ women at the turn of the 19th century, complete with wave and flamboyant feather accessories, styled to perfection. Chloe has aspirations of making it big in the beauty industry and we’re confident she’ll do this with her continued her winning streak.
Former Surface Pattern student and budding designer Cheryl O’Meara began her career by selling her own pattern at a work placement organised by the College at Crown Paint. She later went on to win a national design competition securing her a job with Royal Worcester (the oldest remaining English porcelain brand). Cheryl revisited her entrepreneurial roots by bringing back more than 50,000 antique fabric swatches and wallpapers – used by some of the world’s leading designers – to Manchester from New York.
21-year-old Motor Vehicle Apprentice Dominika Drabinova broke her pelvis when a car collided with the motorbike she was driving – an injury which can mean earning to walk again. Bounding with confidence after overcoming her injury, the motor vehicle enthusiast was able to return to Stockport College two weeks later and continue her studies. Scooping Motor Vehicle Apprentice of the Year at an awards ceremony hosted by Stockport College, Dominika wanted to create a new narrative for females in the car industry, proving successful in her academic and practical achievements.
Gabriella Bohajczuk & Jenny Cooper
Two for the price of one! Stockport students Gabriella and Jenny are blazing a trail in trade apprenticeships this year, as the first female joiners for housing company, Stockport Homes. Making a clear name for themselves within the College, 24-year-old Gabriella came top of her class in her Level 3 site joinery course and 19-year-old Jenny was the only female to compete in the joinery section of the Greater Manchester College’s Group Competition.
What Jacqui doesn’t know about nails, isn’t worth knowing! With her own consultancy supporting other nail tutors in further education and a long history of contributing to leading beauty magazines which she does in addition to teaching and judging national competitions, it’s no wonder the nail aficionado produces award-winning students at Stockport College time after time. Jacqui’s students constantly sing her praises, and this list would be incomplete without her.
Jane Keys, Director of Apprenticeships and Business Development at Stockport College was appointed Vice-President of the Stockport Chamber of Commerce in 2019. Jane’s manifesto was plucked from five candidates for the new role as she demonstrated a clear passion in her objectives, focused on bridging the skills gap between businesses and schools in Stockport and Greater Manchester. With ambitious plans to improve the local economy, Jane is already making headway with the growth in business collaborations within education.
The most outstanding individuals and institutions that the Further Education sector has to offer have been recognised in the shortlist for the 2020 TES FE Awards, and Director of Adult and Community Learning at Stockport College made the cut. Shortlisted for the Unsung Hero Award, Joan has an over-arching vision to ensure more students have the opportunity to take part in local, regional and national skills competitions, benefiting from life-changing, memorable experiences. Joan continually encourages and supports staff to use competitions to enhance teaching, learning and assessment which has acted as a catalyst to encourage students at all levels to get involved.
Our very own fearless leader, Principal and CEO Lesley Davies OBE, takes responsibility of Stockport College in its strategic development and growth. As a ‘mover and shaker’ within the sector Lesley was awarded her OBE for services to education in 2015. She is the Chair of the UK Skills Partnership, Board member of Ofqual and Chair of the Royal British Legion in Cheshire to list but a few. Named in the 100 Most Inspirational Woman from Greater Manchester, Lesley brings a wealth of knowledge and over 25 years of experience in education to Stockport College and to the region.
Sian excelled through the Skills Shop’s employability programme, created to support individuals back into employment. Based at the Intu Trafford Centre, Sian gained employment as a sales assistant with Ann Summers, and, whilst studying and working through the Skills Shop, she was presented with the Employability Award at Stockport College for her dedication and enthusiasm to the programme. Sian has since moved into a supervisor’s role at Ann Summers and is now on track to complete the necessary qualifications to become store manager.
Flying the flag for nail technology at the student and apprentice WorldSkills UK Competition, Stockport student Stephanie Kelly took home the gold medal for her creative flair and precision. With no time to stop and take in her victory, Stephanie used her newfound title to continue building up clients for her own beauty business. At an Award Ceremony to acknowledge her achievements she said that she just wanted to keep perfecting her practice and learn everything the industry had to offer.