Olympian Tina Cook offers key inspiration

Findon Olympic medal winner Tina Cook with accountancy award-winner Benjamin Mitchell and Northbrook principal Sue Dare.

Findon Olympic medal winner Tina Cook with accountancy award-winner Benjamin Mitchell and Northbrook principal Sue Dare.

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OLYMPIC medal-winner Tina Cook was on hand to offer added inspiration for ambitious students claiming honours at Northbrook College’s apprenticeship celebration.

She presented a wide-range of accolades to young people across categories as diverse as accountancy and construction maintenance, through to IT and hospitality studies.

Recalling her own career at the event taking place at the college’s West Durrington campus last Wednesday evening, the London 2012 star said: “To get where I am has taken a huge amount of time and work with my horses and I’ve been lucky to have all the riding facilities at my parents’ place in Findon.

“As a local business, I’ve tried to take on staff from the area and over the years I’ve had a number of young people here and try to show them all that goes into what we do so they can decide if it’s for them or not.”

She revealed that despite her own school days being pretty tough, she recognised the great value to young people in applying themselves to taking up apprenticeships.

Reflecting on last year’s hugely memorable Olympic Games, she said it had been a great honour to be selected for the London 2012 eventing squad and thanked the public for their “unbelievable support,” which made a real difference.

The 42-year-old rider, who claimed a silver medal at last year’s Olympics, stressed the value of putting in the hours with some of the far less glamorous aspects of her role as being vital ingredients to success.

Sue Dare, principal of Northbrook College, felt this year had been especially impressive for its apprentice schemes.

It is now offering an even greater range of study options following last year’s success with the 100 in 100 apprentice campaign. She said: “We are now the 10th biggest college in the country for our courses and have an incredibly high success rate with our apprenticeships, with passes well above the national average, which is something that we are really proud of.

“As well as the success of our apprentices, it has been really good to see that employers both large and small have taken the time to look into training young people who are really keen to make the most of themselves.”