‘Role model’: Bolton hero Amir Khan’s education work for youngsters awarded

By Dean Wilkins

Bolton boxing phenomenon Amir Khan is being awarded a highly esteemed Association of Colleges Gold Award.

The North West hero received his award at a ceremony in London last week.

The accolade is awarded every year to honour the achievements of former college students, whilst recognising the part that education has played in helping pupils to attain that success.

Khan studied a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport at Bolton College in 2003 before qualifying for the 2004 Summer Olympics, clinching a silver medal at the age of 17.

On winning his award, Khan said: “When I was a student at Bolton College, I never imagined I would be picking up an award like this a few years down the line.

“I had a brilliant time when I was there and I’m excited about continuing to work with the College in the future. My goal is to create opportunities and support students who share the same passion for sport as I do.”

Realising his dream, Khan became a professional boxer in 2008, but has continued to be active within his local community.

He invested £1 million of his own money to renovate a derelict children’s activity centre, launching Gloves Gym – a state-of-the-art boxing facility for Bolton’s residents.

He also set up a boxing-specific course, based on the NVQ Level 2 in Activity Leadership, in association with Bolton College. The course enables students to gain qualifications, while learning new skills or improving existing boxing techniques.

Bolton College representatives who attended the event included Vice Principal, Mark Burgoyne and curriculum leader of sport and public services, Ben Blocksidge.

Mr Burgoyne, said: “We were thrilled that our nomination for Amir Khan was recognised at the House of Commons.

“Through his commitment to hands on vocational learning, Amir is a role model for students, not only in Bolton, but across the country as well.”

In addition, the AoC Charitable Trust runs a ‘mini me’ campaign to highlight the important role of further education for today’s students.

The nominating colleges each select a current student who shows promise in a similar field to their Gold Award winner.

Luke Wilkinson, 17, from Prescott, near Liverpool, was selected by Bolton College and, alongside Mark Burgoyne, picked up the award on behalf of Amir Khan.

Luke is currently studying an NVQ in Activity Leadership and will be embarking on the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) at Bolton College in September.

Amir is now part of a further education ‘Hall of Fame’, including alumni, such as Stephen Fry (City College Norwich), Deborah Meaden (City College Brighton and Hove) and Jamie Oliver (Westminster Kingsway College).

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