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Hundreds honoured at Gloucestershire College ceremony

24 November 2017
Image representing Hundreds honoured at Gloucestershire College ceremony

Gloucestershire College honoured the achievements of almost 300 students on Friday 24 November, at its 27th Higher Awards Ceremony held in the grand setting of Gloucester Cathedral. 

At the annual anticipated event, 91 students who completed their higher education qualifications in 2017 gathered to graduate in person, in front of their proud lecturers and families. The students completed courses in 33 courses, including foundation degrees in early years and engineering; professional qualifications in accounting and leadership and management; technical qualifications in business, computing, construction and engineering; teaching qualifications and the higher apprenticeship in aerospace engineering. 

Principal Matthew Burgess delivered the opening address, following a formal procession through the Nave of the Cathedral. While this year’s vote of thanks was given by 31-year-old James Murden from Gloucester, who completed the Diploma in Principles of Leadership and Management last year, alongside being student governor.   

The College also honoured Graham Ripley with the title of Honorary Vice President; Graham served as Chair of Governors for GC for seven years.   

Image representing Hundreds honoured at Gloucestershire College ceremony

The guest of honour at the ceremony was Sarah Dunning OBE, Chairman and Chief Executive of Westmorland Limited, the family business behind the hugely successful Gloucester Services. She delivered an inspirational speech about what qualities help people to achieve; namely commitment, belief in what’s around you and enterprise.   

Sarah said: “Young talent is essential to enterprise. And for a business to have access to young talent, it needs a dynamic education sector on its doorstep. So isn’t Gloucestershire fortunate to have an institution like Gloucestershire College on its doorstep?    

“So, graduates, you have every reason to feel confident about the skills you have gained and about the future you face. This is an exciting time for you and above all, I and everyone here, wish you the very best of luck in your next chapter and wish you a very warm congratulations on your achievements today.”

Students at the ceremony ranged from those who progressed up though the College from lower level courses, to those who completed their qualification to further their career or have a complete change of direction.

Image representing Hundreds honoured at Gloucestershire College ceremony

40-year-old Sylvester Ghanney, from Gloucester, gained his HND in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, alongside his job as a Service Engineer at Mitie. He said: “My lecturers were superb; always willing to help and very supportive to those who want to learn. The equipment is perfect too. During my first year I was tasked to design an instrument for the lower level students to use for testing, and in the second year, we worked as a collective to design a 3D printer for a parts supply unit.   

“My next steps will be to study for my BEng(Hons) in Electronic Engineering at UWE, with a view to becoming a Design Engineer in the future.” 

Image representing Hundreds honoured at Gloucestershire College ceremony

28-year-old Natasha Brown, also from Gloucester, is the Administration Manager for Longlevens Building and Roofing Limited, and completed her HNC in Construction. She said: “Despite already working for a construction company, I wanted to develop my knowledge of the industry to be able to take on more responsibilities and progress as my three children grow older.  

“I was able to take one day off a week to attend college, so this course supported my work/life balance. It covered a variety of areas and I really feel I gained a broad understanding of the construction industry.” 

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Callum Smith is a 21-year-old former Beaufort Academy pupil from Gloucester, who decided the traditional A Level route wasn’t for him due to his creative nature. He said: “I’ve always been more practical and creative, than theoretical and academic, so I came straight to Gloucestershire College to study for my Extended Diploma, then my HNC, HND and now degree – I’ve been here for five years in total! 

“Throughout my degree we produced films and television shows, and had so much freedom to explore our ideas. The college has some of the best equipment in the country too; the professional cameras and lighting really helped us with our 10-minute end-of-year film, which we screened at the local Cineworld. We were also sent on films and television shows in London, which was great work experience.  

“I’m now working as a videographer and editor at Creaticca, a creative design agency in Tewkesbury, and wouldn’t have got the job without my degree. I now work on a lot of corporate videos and hope to one day run my own videography business.”  

Image representing Hundreds honoured at Gloucestershire College ceremony

Rebecca Revill, who is 37 and from Coleford, left school with no qualifications after having her daughter at the age of 15. She has always worked in the childcare industry but wanted to work towards her qualifications for professional development. She said: “I loved the flexibility of my course and was able to work full-time alongside studying in the evenings and at weekends.  

“The course delivery was very varied; there were webinars, video lessons and a good mix of theory and practical, including role plays. We learnt from guest speakers too, including health visitors, former students and nursery managers. What really stood out for me was the library; plenty of resources, including via the virtual library, and the staff were so helpful. 

“I’ve been working at the Forest of Dean Children’s Opportunity Centre for five years, but have been promoted to Senior Early Years Practitioner since completing my foundation degree. I’d like to study for my full degree at Gloucestershire College next in order to become a freelance advisor for special needs with integrated play.”

For more information about the higher education courses available at Gloucestershire College, visit

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