Petroc graduates celebrate success at annual graduation ceremony

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Over 100 Higher Education students from Petroc received their qualifications at the college’s annual graduation ceremony this weekend (October 6).

Petroc offers a wide range of degree programmes in partnership with the University of Plymouth, and since 2001 the college has seen close to 3,000 graduates.

In total, 113 graduates from HNC, Certificate in Education, CIPD, foundation degree or BA honours degree programmes attended the ceremony at The Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple on Saturday, following a procession through the town centre led by town crier Roy Goodwin and local dignitaries.

Principal and CEO, Diane Dimond, opened the ceremony. She said: “I am immensely proud of each and every one of our graduates. Many of our learners balance studying with work and family life, and it is only through hard work, commitment and determination that our graduates have succeeded.”

Hayley Thomas, who was presented with the award for best overall student, was graduating with a First Class BA honours degree in Professional Development (Health & Social Care). Hayley is a single parent and overcame many challenges to pass her degree with flying colours.

She said: “Four years ago I didn’t think I’d ever be here and a degree seemed totally unreachable. The support from everyone here at Petroc has been incredible, even now I’m studying at the University of Plymouth for my Masters, I can still contact my former lecturers for their advice and guidance.

“I’m overwhelmed and honoured to be receiving this award today”, she added.

Alison Laverty attended the ceremony to collect her Level 5 CIPD Certificate in Human Resource Management. Alison had to stop working, due to injury, and describes her course as a ‘lifeline’. She said: “I was really worried about what to do next, and this course has given me confidence in my ability and I now feel ready to start applying for jobs. Everyone has been so supportive – this course really has been life changing for me.”

Frank Barrow, who trains weather forecasters at the Met Office, was delighted to be celebrating the completion of his Certificate in Education. He said: “I have been teaching for 20 years, but this qualification has given me a formal structure and a raft of skills and knowledge to pass on to my colleagues. After 20 years you don’t expect to improve, but this course has really enabled me to look at my teaching in a new light.”

A special award was also made to lecturer Pete Newell, who retired from the college earlier this year. Pete was instrumental in the design of many of Petroc’s degrees and was key in bringing the first ever BA honours programme to the area.