ILEX VQ Learner win


16 June 2009 pr033.09

Torquay Legal Executive named South West VQ Learner of the Year 2009Chris Linnitt

Legal Executive Chris Linnitt of Torquay in Devon was today named VQ Hero – Learner of the Year 2009 for the South West.

The VQ Hero Awards are part of VQ Day taking place on 24th June, a national celebration of vocational achievement and the many paths to success taken by learners of all ages. The Awards demonstrate the talent, commitment and rigorous standards involved in gaining a vocational qualification.

Chris has now been invited to represent the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) and the region at the national VQ Day ceremony where the overall national VQ Hero for England will be presented with their award by celebrity chef James Martin, who is a vocational learner himself. National awards will also be presented to winners in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on VQ Day.

Chris was selected by the judges for his dedication to vocational learning and huge success in his chosen field. Chris never had the opportunity to go to University, but was keen to pursue a career in law. He decided to take the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) route to law qualifications so he could realise that ambition.

Chris suffered appalling luck however, sustaining severe injuries in two car crashes, which eventually led to him making the decision to have his leg amputated.

Despite these setbacks, Chris was determined to complete his studies and qualified as a Fellow of the Institute in 2007. He has gone on to set up a Specialist Catastrophic Injury Department in his law firm using his considerable personal and legal experience to advise clients with similar injuries.

On receiving news of the award win, Chris said: “I was absolutely gobsmacked to find out that I had won. I am completely lost for words”.

“This is a terrific achievement for Chris,” said Mark Bishop, President of the Institute of Legal Executives, “and a tribute to his determination. His will to succeed despite the many setbacks is an inspiration to others. We are pleased that ILEX could offer a route to enable Chris to achieve his ambition to become a lawyer. We were also able to offer flexibility in our courses to enable him to complete his studies.”

John Kerr, operations director at independent education foundation Edge and a member of the judging panel, added: “It’s an absolute pleasure to be able to honour someone like Chris. He is a fantastic example of the progression and opportunities that vocational qualifications can offer, living proof that there are many paths to success and an inspiration to us all. Chris is one of the millions who take a vocational qualification every year as a stepping stone to a brighter future – VQ Day celebrates these learners’ achievements and those who help them gain this success.”

Colleges, learning providers and employers around the country nominated their high-flying vocational students for the VQ Hero Awards in two categories:

  • VQ Hero – Learner of the Year
  • VQ Hero – Young Learner of the Year

Over 400 learners were nominated in total, with nominations judged by a panel comprising representatives from Edge, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, the Association of Colleges and the Association of Learning Providers.

For more information about VQ Day and the VQ Hero Awards, please visit