Reaseheath falconer Joe Cooper and Ravi Indian Eagle Owl

A falconer from Nantwich who is flying through his college course after returning to learning, has been recognised with a prestigious regional award.

Joe Cooper (pictured) will be presented with a £500 Open College Network (OCN) West Midlands Learner Award for Outstanding Achievement in June.

The ‘Access to HE’ student was nominated by tutors at Reaseheath College for his commitment to his academic studies and for his support for fellow students.

The 27-year-old, who has had a nine-year break from education after leaving Malbank Sixth Form College, will progress onto a degree in Wildlife Conservation and Ecology at Reaseheath in September.

The former head falconer at Peckforton Castle found the range of topics offered on his course encouraged him to explore alternative careers in the conservation industry.

He said: “My ‘Access to HE’ course has opened new and exciting doors for me.

“I was convinced, through social pressure, it would be almost impossible for me to achieve a degree because I had been out of education for some years.

“But I couldn’t have been more wrong.

“This course has been brilliant because it has allowed me to get back into education comfortably while learning about incredibly interesting subjects.

“It has been one of my best decisions ever, particularly as I can take advantage of the financial help available.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the support I’ve received from my Reaseheath tutors and particularly for their passion in their specialised subjects.

“I now have the confidence to move onto a degree and I’m really excited to see where this new path will take me.

“This award has come as a complete surprise but I’m delighted that my tutors decided to nominate me.”

Course manager Cheryl Stevenson said: “We have all been very impressed with Joe’s positive and mature attitude and with the constructive way he supports his peers in his role of course representative.

“He is totally committed to his studies and his work is always is well researched and referenced and shows a great deal of thought and critical evaluation.

“We are delighted his dedication has been recognised through this award.”

For more information on Reaseheath’s Access to HE courses, visit

(Pic: Joe Cooper pictured with Ravi, Reaseheath’s Indian Eagle owl)

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