On Saturday 25th November, City of Bristol College staff and guests came together at Bristol Cathedral, to celebrate the success of hundreds of students who have achieved higher level qualifications in a range of subjects. These included aerospace, accounting, arts, computing, construction, counselling, early years, health and social care, management and many more.
A number of dignitaries joined the students at the ceremony, including The Rt Hon Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Lesley Alexander; keynote speaker, Chris Smith, Managing Director from Marshfield Bakery; Julian Chaudhuri, Deputy Vice Chancellor – Education and Student Experience from Plymouth University; Jackie Rogers, Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning and the Student Experience from the University of the West of England and Dr Caroline Mills Head of School, Natural and Social Sciences from University of Gloucestershire.
Lee Probert, Principal and Chief Executive at City of Bristol College commented:
“This event marks a significant milestone in the learning journey of each of our graduates. Their award symbolises what they have learnt so far, the skills they have acquired so far, and importantly, it will tell their current and future employers that they can, and will continue to learn.
Whilst the students’ successes are, of course individual, we share in the sense of pride and thank all of those parents, carers and family members who have made these successes possible.
The sentiment of achieving in partnership is reflected right across our higher education provision: we are proud to partner with the high quality universities in our region to award our qualifications. This year, we demonstrated those partnerships in our assessment for the Teaching Excellence Framework, where we secured a silver judgement. This reflects both the quality of teaching and assessment for and with students, but critically, the impact of that teaching on where students go next.”
Andy Dubreuil (55) who joined the college in 2013 to study the Foundation Degree in Professional Photography, was amongst the students collecting his award on Saturday.
Having a physical disability as well as poor health, Andy had to undergo nine operations in just four years. These setbacks stopped him from competing nationally and internationally in the discipline of disability shooting on target and he was in desperate need of finding something that would occupy his brain and give him something else to do. It was during his recuperation that he bought himself a decent camera and started developing, what was then, a hobby in photography.
“Having joined the college in 2013, I put the photography department in a unique situation as I was their first ever student in a wheelchair. They worked with me tirelessly to ensure I had access to specialist equipment and was able to fully join in all activities, whether it was working in a dark room or studying in a classroom.” Andy said.
At the beginning of his second year and just when Andy was getting his teeth into the course, he suffered two heart attacks and had to take a year out of his studies. Once again, he used photography during his recuperation process and when he returned to the college in 2015, he was able to quickly brush up on his skills from the first year.
Having graduated with a merit, Andy is now doing portraiture work as a freelance photographer. “Finding a unique look for my photography took some time, but now my customers return to me because they like the specific look of my images. On Saturday I graduated with a merit; I couldn’t be happier and owe a lot to my teachers for their support, encouragement and inclusion.”
“I think it’s been interesting for the college to have had a student with my type of disability in their photography department. I’ve experienced many limitations in my life previously, but for every setback there is a new opportunity and it’s these that have enabled me to develop as a professional photographer.”
The ceremonies also saw some of our students receiving special prizes for their academic achievements with the following awards:
Plymouth University Academic Partnerships Prize
Tom Bray Award for Endeavour
Calumet Photographic Award for Best in Show at the Graduation Exhibition
Calumet Photographic Award for Popular Vote and Runner Up for Best in Show at the Graduation Exhibition
Tom Clarke Memorial Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement
Nick Beckett Memorial Prize
Martin Gibbs Memorial Prize
City of Bristol College has a rich history in offering higher education courses. It holds University Centre status and whilst it is smaller in size than other universities, it offers a comprehensive range of courses, many in partnership with local universities such as Plymouth University, University of the West of England, Bath Spa University and University of Gloucestershire.
For those looking for a more practical way of topping up their education, the Centre offers many qualifications accredited by professional bodies including Chartered Management Institute (CMI), Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Pearson, The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and many more.
The college students enjoy learning in smaller groups, benefiting from the additional support a smaller University Centre is able to offer, with access to a range of learning resources both at college campuses and offsite through partners. Academic staff teaching at the Centre have a wealth of industry-related experience as they continue practising their subjects professionally outside of the College, ensuring that the students develop cutting-edge skills and knowledge for their future careers.
In addition, the college received TEF Silver Award in June 2017, which highlighted that a very high proportion of students have outstanding and highly skilled employment outcomes.
If you would like to find out more about the higher education courses offered at City of Bristol College, visit our course information or come to a University Centre Open Evening at Ashley Down on Wednesday 10th January 2018, 5-7.30pm.
Click here to see a photo gallery of the day.