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Bury St Edmunds residents Nuno Cruz and Tommy Lovering share their stories after winning West Suffolk College apprenticeship awards





The stories of two apprenticeship awards winners reveal resilience and a change of direction.

Nuno Cruz, 48, from Bury St Edmunds, has completed his apprenticeship and is now going to start a level five qualification in nursing, studying alongside his job at West Suffolk Hospital.

He won the health and social care apprentice of the year accolade at the West Suffolk College apprenticeship awards event last night.

Nuno Cruz has the biggest smile of the night when receiving the health and social care apprentice of the year award. Picture: Supplied by Eastern Education Group
Nuno Cruz has the biggest smile of the night when receiving the health and social care apprentice of the year award. Picture: Supplied by Eastern Education Group

Nuno said: “I came to England in 2016, worked in a warehouse and then started at West Suffolk Hospital in 2018. I wanted to go in to the health industry as I had experience of taking care of my mother back home. Sadly she passed away. I miss her very much.

“It’s been a challenge – English is my second language and medical terms are sometimes difficult – but I’m learning with great people.

“I believe knowledge is power and if I have the knowledge I have the power to make a positive difference to a patient’s life.

Nuno Cruz at work at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: supplied by Nuno
Nuno Cruz at work at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: supplied by Nuno

“I’ve enjoyed my apprenticeship but it hasn’t been easy. I have struggled with my health and had two surgeries in a short space of time related to my tonsils and gall bladder. I was very sick.

“But, I never gave up and kept going, got a distinction on my course and now I’ve received the health and social care apprentice of the year award.

“Winning this is a nice cream on top of the cake – it’s unbelievable and gives me the strength to keep going. I got a letter to tell me the news and I had to read it three or four times. I shared the news with everyone who has helped me and thanked them for supporting me.

“I also spoke to my father and he said he was very proud of me. It was a nice moment as he is not only my father - he is also my best friend.

“When I picked up the award it was very emotional for me. I thought of my mum at the ceremony - she is very special to me. I think of her every day. She always used to tell me that when you want something you can do it – she was with me at the awards.”

Meanwhile, Tommy Lovering, 21, from Bury St Edmunds, won the West Suffolk College hairdressing apprentice of the year award.

Tommy Lovering with his hairdressing apprentice of the year award. Picture: Supplied by Eastern Education Group
Tommy Lovering with his hairdressing apprentice of the year award. Picture: Supplied by Eastern Education Group

The Idolise Hair and Beauty employee said: “I decided to do an apprenticeship as I wanted to be hands on and creative.

“The highlight of my apprenticeship was curating my own photoshoot.

“In terms of winning, I feel very proud. This award absolutely will help me in the future.

“My next step for the future actually involves staying in the college but this time on the other side.

“Since completing my apprenticeship, I joined West Suffolk College as a staff member and have been teaching.”