Niko defies the odds to become Student of the Year

Posted on 10/06/2014 by


Niko pictured with his wife Eva (left) and cousin Joanna

Niko pictured with his wife Eva (left) and cousin Joanna

An Edinburgh College student who came to Scotland for a fresh start and a chance to create a better life has fought against the odds to be named Student of the Year.

Niko Sadlowski – who studies NC Early Education and Childcare and is originally from Poland – received his award alongside 50 other prize winners at the Edinburgh College Further Education Awards ceremony at The Hub in the city centre. Niko was nominated by his lecturers because of his determination to succeed.

Niko, who also works part time at The Action Group charity for people with additional support needs and disabilities, said: “I was delighted and totally overwhelmed to find out I had won Student of the Year at the Further Education Awards.”

Niko added: “I left home as a teenager as I wanted to reduce the financial burden on my parents. I first came to this country at the age of 23 without knowing a word of English and I’ve worked really hard, in many low paying jobs, to create a life for myself and my family here.

“I grew up with deaf parents which meant I learned to communicate with them through sign language. I think this first triggered my interest in supporting people and their families with additional needs because I could understand the kinds of barriers they could face. My son was recently diagnosed with autism, so I also know what kind of support carers and their families require for a better quality of life.”

Edinburgh College childcare and social care lecturer Linda Paechter said: “Niko is an extraordinary student. His knowledge, skills and rich life experiences have been inspiring to his fellow students and I’m so pleased that he has been given the award of Student of the Year as part of the NC Early Education and Childcare course. His unwavering dedication to his studies has been incredible and he truly deserves the award.

“Professionals within childcare are predominantly female, yet the involvement of both male and female carers, educators and practitioners is incredibly important to allow for positive role-models for children. Niko is a wonderful ambassador for the benefits of more men in childcare and I know he has a very successful career ahead of him.”

Around 150 guests attended the Further Education Awards, which were hosted by Denise McAdam, celebrity hairdresser to the stars and presenter of the BBC programme Hair.

Denise, who studied hairdressing at Edinburgh College, has an impressive list of clients including Cindy Crawford, Grace Kelly, Princess Diana, Yasmin le Bon, and Naomi Campbell.