Higher Education Graduation Celebrates Students’ Successes

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Over 150 higher education students from City of Bristol College graduated at the 2018 Higher Education Graduation and Awards Ceremony, on Saturday 24 November 2018.

They were joined in celebration by their families, friends and the college’s University Centre academic staff, as well as distinguished guests which included the Deputy Lord Mayor, Regional Managing Director of Reach Plc, Sarah Pullen, the City of Bristol College strategic leadership team, and representatives from the University of Plymouth, the University of the West of England, Bath Spa University and the University of Gloucestershire.

In his welcome speech Lee Probert, Principal and Chief Executive at City of Bristol College, addressed the audience by saying: “One of the college’s core values is pride. Today, we reflect that value in all that we do. I am proud of all that our graduates have achieved, proud of the progress you have made, and proud of the opportunity you have created for your future.

“You have demonstrated that you have attained and retained the knowledge required for us to certify what you know, but your qualification is not an end point. It is simply, a marker, a placeholder, a map pin in your journey.”

Sarah Pullen who, at 36, became the youngest ever Managing Director appointed by her company, delivered an inspirational and personal keynote address to the audience. She said: “I want to acknowledge the dedicated, talented, focused and amazing graduates - you have worked so hard to get to this milestone and I’m absolutely in awe of what you have done.

“It’s also a big day for me too. I very rarely talk about my personal experience of education but I’m delighted to do this on behalf of City of Bristol College and you. For me, personally, higher education was life changing. My qualifications gave me two things; learning something new about the subject I enjoy but also giving me the confidence that I knew what I was talking about.

“I’m so proud of you all today. It’s your day and this is the start of something remarkable – use it, be confident, believe and more importantly keep learning.”

There were many students whose personal success stories revealed an enormous amount of determination, sacrifice, perseverance and sentiment and these were acknowledged through a series of awards sponsored by organisations, such as the University of Plymouth and the Guild of Guardians.

Nicholas Tuftnell, a graduate of the Foundation Degree in Counselling, in partnership with the University of Gloucestershire, was awarded the Tom Bray Award for Endeavour. Nicholas was recognised for the hard work and dedication he has shown while studying, as well as his persistence despite undergoing a personal trauma in his earlier life.

Nicholas’ wife died when they were both young, leaving behind a toddler in his care. Over the years, they both benefited from counselling. As a result of his life experience, Nicholas has chosen to train as a counsellor and support others.

He said: It was such a privilege to receive the award. I felt very surprised and humbled to have been chosen. Without a doubt, my training with the college helped me to understand the challenges earlier in my life. Now I feel confident and well placed to use my qualification in my own private practice to hopefully support many others.”

Throughout his training Nicholas has been fortunate to meet a diverse range of people at college and in his volunteering work. In setting up his own business, Tangata Counselling, he continues to meet all types of people and help them through their difficulties, as well as develop his own style of counselling. He plans further studies in order to bring his new experiences back to the classroom, having been inspired by the quality of his recent teaching.

The college aspires to the highest levels of teaching excellence, which is reflected in its Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Silver Award. The college’s higher education 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 City of Bristol College’s University 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 November 2018, the college’s higher education provision was approved by Office for Students, a new regulatory body for higher education.

Lee Probert added: “We are also proud to work with a range of higher education partners, to provide access to high quality higher education in our college. Many of those partners are represented here today, joining us in celebrating the achievements of our students.”

The College’s University Centre offers a variety of higher education courses, many in partnership with universities such as Plymouth University, University of the West of England, University of Gloucestershire and Bath Spa University. The University Centre also offers many higher level professional qualifications accredited by other partner organisations including the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Pearson.

If you would like to find out more about the higher education offer at City of Bristol College, visit www.cityofbristol.ac.uk or come to an open day on Saturday 19 January 2019, 10am – 1pm.

Click here to view a photo gallery of the day.

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