A STUDENT is overjoyed after she overcame a language barrier to win a prestigious award during National Apprenticeship Week.

Francesca Favorito flew to England from Italy to study for a degree in healthcare at Swindon College.

Despite English not being Francesca's first language she obtained her qualification while working at Oxford University Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust as a healthcare assistant practitioner.

The 26-year-old said: “I did not expect to win such a prestigious award, I feel very proud of myself.

"I am delighted that all the hard work I have done this year has paid off, I could not imagine a better way to be recognised for this.

“The journey I have been on to get where I am now has been challenging at times. It was the first time that I have studied in the UK and English is not my first language.”

Francesca was named the Higher Apprentice of the Year award thanks to her hard work and dedication.

She studied a Level 5 higher education apprenticeship course at the college along with Level 2 functional skills, English and maths.

She said: “I used all the support available at the college, I particularly found the higher education study support team a fantastic addition to my support network.

“I am extremely grateful to all the staff of Swindon College for the help and motivation they have given me. I would recommend the higher apprenticeship to everyone.”

She was nominated for the award by course leader David Panes.

He said: “Francesca is the most organised apprentice that I have met in my time in education.

"The management of her learning was clear to see and even though at times she found the course challenging, she always tackled these challenges head-on. Not many learners could do this course and get married halfway through, a true testament to her dedication and time management skills.

“She was always a credit to the trust and department, she would always help others and supported them whenever possible. Francesca is a caring and compassionate individual that will be missed from our classrooms.”