Pershore College graduates were among those who celebrated at the Warwickshire College Group (WCG) graduation ceremonies at St Mary’s Church and Old Shire Hall in Warwick on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 October.
The graduands, who have spent the past few years studying at the Royal Leamington Spa, Warwick Trident, Rugby, Pershore and Moreton Morrell Colleges, donned their gowns, hoods and mortarboards at the Grade 1 listed Old Shire Hall before moving with family and friends to the ceremony at the 900 year-old St Mary’s Church. Pershore College graduates included those in veterinary nursing, animal science and horticulture and to make the day even more special, former Pershore student Leigh Morris, Chief Executive of the National Land Based College, was the guest of honour and keynote speaker.
Angela Joyce, Group Principal and CEO of WCG said, “We were absolutely delighted to be holding graduation ceremonies in our county town of Warwick for the first time, with St Mary's Church and Old Shire Hall providing a perfect setting for such an important occasion.
“This year was also a landmark for higher education at WCG as we awarded our first foundation degrees in Games Art and it was wonderful to see the graduates in their WCG red and gold hoods. This is just the start, as we will see many more foundation degrees awarded next year in a variety of subjects.
“For myself and all of our staff, today’s celebration is what everyone works towards – the success of our students and helping each one reach their potential. We are extremely proud of all of our graduates and wish them the very best for the future.”
Guest speaker Leigh Morris said, “As an ex-student I was absolutely delighted to be invited speak and present the certificates and awards at the ceremony in Warwick last week.
“The ceremony was held in a wonderful setting, with a packed audience of proud parents, friends and tutors. A great occasion to mark the end of their studies and, for many, the start of their working land based careers.
“In my speech, I gave the students a few ‘top-tips’ for their future careers, including “Take pride in whatever you do” and “You can and should aim to make a global difference”. Now in my relatively new role as the first Chief Executive of the National Land Based College, I am inspired at the potential to far greater engage all sectors of land based industry in training and education and am looking forward to working closely with Angela Joyce and her team.”
Rhiannon Pugh, from Leominster, achieved the Pershore College Diploma in Garden Design. Rhiannon said, “I’m already a gardener and wanted to improve my knowledge so decided to take the course. The tutors are lovely and now I’m going to do more and more of it. For anyone thinking of doing the course I’d say leave enough time to get everything done, but enjoy it, it’s brilliant. Today I’m nervous and excited - all the feelings under the sun!”
Other local graduates studied at Royal Leamington Spa College including Chloe Fleetwood, who became the first graduate to receive the WCG foundation degree in Games Art. Chloe, 20, from Worcester said, “Today has been great. I was a really artistic person growing up and liked playing games so I was always drawing characters from the games and trying to make up my own. When I found out I could study concept art and character design for games I knew that was perfect for me. The tutors have been really supportive, and the course is really challenging but that’s what I love about it!”
Leonora Dakin, 27, from Worcester graduated with a BA (Hons) in Business, Strategy and Management. She said, “Studying events management but business seemed like a better platform for me as I want to go into HR and it’s interesting. Tutors really know what they’re talking about, really help you, they have so much experience in the industry which is really helpful. I’m now looking to get a graduate level position - to anyone thinking about doing it I’d say work hard, keep going and you’ll be fine - it’s so worth it. Today I’m nervous, excited but really happy that I’ve done it and I’m here.”
Rob Leonard, from Gloucester was celebrating achieving his BA (Hons) in Counselling. Rob, who currently works in the charitable sector as a counselling coordinator, said, “I had already done the foundation degree but wanted to ‘top-up’ to the full degree so scouted around the country and found that I could do it at Royal Leamington Spa College which was great, and the degree has really broadened my knowledge base. Today I’m feeling like it’s the end of a journey, but I know it’s also the beginning of a new one.”
Pershore College, part of WCG, offers higher education courses in a range of subjects. For more information, go to www.warwickshire.ac.uk.