FOUR students from Bradford College are eyeing bright futures after winning national awards.

They collected prizes at the Association of British Dispensing Opticians awards, held at Canterbury Cathedral.

Paula Nicholson, on the foundation degree in ophthalmic dispensing at the University Centre, won the Stepper Prize for achieving the highest mark in the Preliminary Qualifying Practical Examination.

Lauren Blackadder won the Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers Prize for scoring the highest aggregate mark in the practical examinations for the Certificate in Contact Lens Practice. Caroline Hopley picked up the National Eyecare Group Optinet Prize for having the best pre-qualification portfolio in the final exam and Rachel Millbank was the recipient of the Federation of Opticians Prize for the top day-release course student.

Miss Millbank, who works in an opticians in Wigan, commuted across the Pennines once a week to study at University Centre for a foundation degree in ophthalmic dispensing – from which she graduated at the college’s graduation ceremonies last week.

Lecturer in ophthalmic dispensing at the college, Dean Dunning, expressed his delight at the college having four representatives at the annual industry prize-giving ceremony. He said: "It is a huge achievement for four Bradford College students to receive national awards at this prestigious event.

“Paula is a third year student on the FdSc in Ophthalmic Dispensing. To win her award she had to sit a number of practical tasks and completed them all with an average of over 86 per cent, which included a mark of 97 per cent in her VIVA examinations.

“Lauren was an exceptional student who recently completed the Contact Lens Certificate course with us. Her level of commitment while on the course was second to none, and her attitude and demeanour made her a pleasure to have in the class.

“Caroline graduated this time in her FdSc in Ophthalmic Dispensing – gaining a fully-deserved distinction award. She achieved consistently excellent results throughout the course, achieving a distinction grade in almost every module. Caroline was a credit to the course with her attitude and work ethic and we know that she will be a success in her career as a dispensing optician.

“Rachel, who has also recently graduated from the ophthalmic dispensing foundation degree, was an outstanding student. Her national award is fully deserved and she achieved excellence throughout her three years’ study at Bradford College. She achieved a distinction grade in every single module that she completed on the course and achieved marks of over 80 per cent in over three quarters of the total modules. In addition to this her attendance and timekeeping were exemplary, and her attitude was exceptional. She continually reflected on her work to make improvements and was a true role model to other members of her group.”

Rachel and Caroline both celebrated their degree success with classmates at a graduation ceremony at the Life Centre in Bradford on Tuesday last week.