Annual Graduation Ceremony rewards Higher Education students

Shrewsbury College has been offering Higher Education in Shropshire for over 20 years – this year saw another successful conclusion as students celebrated their achievements at the Annual Graduation Ceremony.

A line of mortar boards and graduation gowns made its way from Shrewsbury Market Square to St Chad’s Church in the annual Shrewsbury College graduation parade on Friday.

This year, the College has seen over 180 students graduate from a range of university-level courses, with 100 students and tutors taking part in the parade and awards ceremony.

The parade processed from the Square in an array of awarding body colours at 2:45pm, led by the Mayor of Shrewsbury, Councillor Jane Mackenzie.

Students from Performing Arts joined together in song to celebrate the year’s successes and to bid farewell to those graduating. They performed choral arrangements throughout the ceremony of well-known songs. Their programme of songs included, You’ll Never Walk Alone and Climb Every Mountain, both performances sung about hope and aspirations which resonated with the audience.

The graduation ceremony in St Chad’s Church started at 3pm and welcomed Mandy Thorn MBE, Vice Chair of the Marches LEP as the special guest speaker.

Ms Thorn said: "A properly skilled workforce is vital to the economic prosperity of a region. Simply, education and training needs to engage with employers to not only ensure that provision meets the needs of those employers and raises the productivity of a region, but that it is done in such a way as to encourage young people to develop their careers in the areas where they've studied.

"Here in Shropshire, part of the wider Marches region, we have location specific challenges with an ageing workforce and an increasingly retired population and it was with this in mind that, earlier this year, the Marches LEP launched its three year skills plan, supported with a skills action plan.  As a public/private-sector partnership, we're uniquely positioned to bring together a wide range of employers and training providers to meet the challenges that businesses face and work with them to ensure that higher education provision is fit for purpose."

James Staniforth, Principal and CEO of Shrewsbury Colleges Group, said: “I am delighted today to be celebrating the success of our graduates. Higher education provides such wonderful opportunities for students to develop their academic interests and deepen their knowledge and understanding, as well as providing the critical skills needed in Shropshire and the region.

“Shrewsbury Colleges Group is the largest provider of higher education in the county, offering local, quality, affordable courses which help our local area, whether it is through providing engineering graduates, trained teachers or counsellors. I want to offer my personal congratulations to every individual student as we collectively celebrate their personal journeys and achievements. It is a proud day to be college Principal.”

Graduating student Grace Currie, 24 from Shrewsbury, said: “It was really exciting. I didn’t think I’d get this far, but now I have, I’m very pleased.”

Natasha Newman, who also graduated, said: “I've been studying on the PGCE course for two years whilst in full-time employment. The course and teaching staff have been outstanding and I have been so grateful for all the support I have received when training. I feel extremely proud to receive my certificate after all the hard work. The course has allowed me to not only develop skills in teaching and learning but it has also given me the confidence to reach my best potential. I am now looking forward to pursuing a career teaching English which I feel very passionate about.”

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