Winner spotlight – Student of the Year
Q&A: Celebrating Natalia Osovska – VTCT Excellence Awards Student of the Year 2023
In the world of vocational education, some stories stand out as shining examples of determination, inspiration, and triumph. Natalia Osovska’s journey embodies these qualities and highlights the transformative power of learning.
Nominated by her tutor at Whiterose Beauty College – Chesterfield (now part of the Learning Curve Group), Natalia overcame the odds to gain her qualifications and win the very first VTCT Student of the Year award.
From fleeing turmoil in Ukraine and learning English in just 12 weeks to blowing her tutors away with her technical skills and determination to succeed, Natalia’s story is a testament to resilience, grit and passion.
In this Q&A, she delves into how she overcame the challenges she’s faced, her proudest moments and what success means to her as a student.
How did it feel when you found out you won your VTCT Excellence Award?
I didn’t believe it at first. I was surprised and so full of emotions that I couldn’t find words to express them.
What inspired you to pursue this career in this industry?
My teacher Lydia Oliver. Her amazing teaching style inspired me to dive deeper into this area. I strongly believe that her support played a key role in my achievements.
You have had an amazing journey to get where you have, from leaving Ukraine to learning English so quickly. Could you tell us a bit more about your journey?
I left Ukraine with my two children while my home city was surrounded and had been heavily bombed. It took us five days to eventually get to Poland, where we got a safe place to rest and wait until UK visa decisions were made.
Then we travelled through Europe by train until we arrived in Chesterfield. Our lovely host family, Janet and Steven Morton, met us there. I want to emphasise that their support was very significant throughout my whole journey. They treated us as their own and they truly became our family.
At first, I studied an ESOL (English to speakers of other Languages) course at Chesterfield College with no prior knowledge of English. In September 2022, I started a course at White Rose College, where I met all of their friendly staff. I’ve continued studying at both colleges, receiving a Level 2 Diploma in Complementary Therapy and VTCT Level 2 NVQ Diploma as well as E3 Diploma from ESOL course.
Can you tell us about your proudest moments as a student? Have there been any times that have particularly stood out for you?
The start of my studies at White Rose College was extremely hard. Some people from my group spoke English well enough, but others had to use a translator. Sometimes our teachers explained terms using gestures or drawings on the whiteboard. It was funny and helped us to remember new information better.
It was a very hard journey for me as the course was entirely in English. But I’m proud that I made it eventually.
How do you define success as a student? What inspires you to go above and beyond in your studies?
I believe that truly successful studies lead to having the capability to apply your skills and knowledge and be proficient at it. Although I haven’t had a chance to get a job in a beauty area yet, I believe that as I continue my education, I’ll achieve it.
I find inspiration in the fact that I learn new things every day. It keeps me moving forward. Even a small piece of information every day will lead to great success eventually.
How has winning this award motivated you to continue your career journey, and what do you hope to achieve after you’ve completed your studies?
Receiving this award showed me that my effort is really valuable. Now that I have proof of my achievements, it will keep me motivated to move forward even when it’s really hard to do so.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I want to express my gratitude to White Rose College and especially my teacher Lydia. I wouldn’t make it without their support. Great thanks to VTCT, their team and everybody who spends their time helping people like me. Your support is invaluable.