Thursday, 7 November 2013

Studying at sea - an award for outstanding achievement

The National Extension College (NEC) and The Marine Society have been working together for over 25 years delivering education to seafarers by distance learning.

The Marine Society was established in 1756 and its primary focus today is the education and professional development of seafarers in both the Royal and Merchant Navy. Students of the Marine Society are often studying in the face of adversity and the challenges faced while studying at sea are unique. There can be unreliable internet access, long and often anti-social working hours and of course being stationed anywhere in the world makes it difficult to take exams as well as study.

Every year the Marine Society and Sea Cadets (MSSC) holds an Annual Court where awards are presented to maritime professionals by the Marine Society for their outstanding educational achievements. One of these is the NEC/Marine Society award for Outstanding Achievement, which is awarded each year to a seafarer who is studying or has recently completed a GCSE or A Level course for their exceptional ability and achievement.

This year the MSSC held its 9th annual court at Haberdashers hall in London, and NEC is proud to have been invited again to present an award. Tom Sutton, a serving Lance Corporal Royal Marines, was awarded the prize this year because of his significant achievement in gaining top grades in his studies despite the rigours of completing his studies while on operations and sitting his exams in Afghanistan. Sadly, Tom was unable to attend to receive his award as he is still out in Afghanistan, however Corporal Mark Clarke RM Poole attended to collect the award on Tom’s behalf.

Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope and Carly Mason (NEC) presenting the award to Corporal Mark Clarke
23-year-old Tom achieved an A* at A level Maths, which has allowed him to successfully gain a place at Loughborough University to study automotive engineering next year. After completing this degree Tom would like to re-join the military as an engineering officer.

‘I decided to study Maths because it’s a diverse and challenging subject which would be helpful in many potential career paths. I also didn’t do very well in Maths at College, and wanted to improve on my grade,’ Tom explained. ‘My aim was to gain a qualification, expand my CV, and to improve my future career and promotion prospects.’

Lance Corporal Tom Sutton

The partnership between NEC and The Marine Society continues to go from strength to strength, and we look forward to helping more people like Tom to achieve their goals in the coming years. If Tom’s story has inspired you, take a look at the courses on offer from NEC on our website, or get in touch to find out more.

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