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College celebrates double graduation

Posted onPosted on 26th Nov
College celebrates double graduation

Higher Education students at West Nottinghamshire College celebrated together at a double graduation ceremony at the historic Kelham Hall, near Newark, on Saturday.

This year 237 students graduated from university-level courses at the college. It meant that the college had to organise two ceremonies to enable everyone to take to the stage.

Students collected their graduation certificates from principal and chief executive Dame Asha Khemka, Professor Rod Dubrow-Marshall, deputy vice chancellor of the University of Derby and Dr Dawn Albery, the dean of Birmingham City University’s business school.

Attending the event was special guest and keynote speaker, four times Olympic cyclist and medalist Bryan Steel.

The double graduation ceremony also saw 17 students collect Outstanding Student of the Year awards – while two students received the Principal’s Student of the Year award for outstanding performance on their courses.

Principal’s Student of the Year awards went to Ryan Bromyard who studied on the BA (Hons) (Top-up) Sports Studies. Ryan was recognised for engrossed himself in all things sporty and academic, including coaching and leading the college football team, completing the Future Focus employability award and developing his own coaching expertise at both grassroots and elite level – working with Leicester City Football Club.

Ryan said: “I’ve studied at the college for five years starting with my BTEC programme. I’m not the most academic student, but I set myself goals and took my time to reach my targets and the hard work has paid off. To receive two awards was brilliant. It’s very overwhelming.

“I now work at Leicester City Football Club as a football coach. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do since leaving school. The course taught me to apply myself more and I now feel better placed to offer people advice and guidance.”

At the afternoon ceremony Annette Willoughby, who studied on the BA (Hons) Business and Management, was presented with the Principal’s Student of the Year award for her warm and helpful attitudes towards her classmates and tutors. She has been instrumental in finding guest speakers who have made invaluable contributions to some of the modules.

Annette, who is going on to study a Master’s degree at Nottingham Trent University, said: “I’ve studied for three years on the foundation degree and now on the full honours degree. When I left school I didn’t have much intention or encouragement to continue learning.

“It wasn’t until I moved forward with my career with Wates Construction as contracts administrator, did I realise it would be beneficial. I coach people with their NVQs and co-ordinate community events and projects.

“My tutors have been very encouraging during my studies and since doing this course I’ve begun a Masters’ Degree in Heritage Management which I’m studying part-time over two years.

“It was absolutely overwhelming to get this special award and to be acknowledged in this way is brilliant. Life at college has been a life-changing experience and I believe you get a much better experience than at a conventional university.”

The event also saw 21 members of the college’s own staff graduate from courses held at the Mansfield-based college.

One of these members of staff was Graham Kemp, programme area leader for motor vehicle engineering. Graham, 52, graduated from the Certificate in Education but he wasn’t on his own, as daughter Jessica, 21, was also graduating from her BA (Hons) Sports Studies on the same day (pictured).

Graham said: “We knew we would be graduating at the same time, so this really spurred both of us on with our studies. It’s been a great day. I already had a teaching qualification but I needed a Certificate in Education and I’ve enjoyed studying with my fellow students.”

Jessica, who works within retail, added: “I’ve studied at the college since 2009 right from my level 3 course and I’ve been with the same students all the way through – it’s like a little family.

“I’m going to do a PGCE next as I’d eventually like to teach so dad will be helping me with the teaching aspect and I’ve been helping him learn how to reference properly!”

Principal and chief executive Asha Khemka said: “It was a privilege once again to celebrate the success of our higher education students and celebrate with them, their tutors and families.

“I have seen our graduates proudly step up to the stage with great new confidence and new knowledge. With that knowledge comes power and I urge every one of them to use that power to make a difference, not only to their own lives, but to the lives of the communities they live in and the world of work they begin their careers in.

“For every student who has combined their studies with their busy lives and sometimes jobs, I applaud the determination and commitment that has gone into making their dreams a reality. These accomplishments are rewarded on graduation day, and they will undoubtedly reap success for years to come.”

The college now works in partnership with Birmingham City University and the University of Derby to deliver a wide range of university-level courses such as foundation degrees as well as offering six top-up courses enabling students to achieve an Honours Degree. The college also offers HND and HNC qualifications.