Students who successfully completed Higher Education qualifications at the University Centre Yeovil this year are celebrating after formally graduating during a ceremony at the Octagon Theatre, Yeovil.

Friends, family and special guests came together to see more than 320 people graduate in 44 different qualifications, including full Honours degrees, Foundation degrees, Postgraduate qualifications, Higher Education and Professional Certificates and Diplomas.  Forty-four different subjects were represented, including Adult Nursing, Early Years, Fine Art, Media, Computing, English & History, Sports Development & Coaching, Business & Management, Accounting, Marketing and three specialist branches of Engineering, highlighting the range of useful courses offered at the University Centre.

The first University Centre Master’s degrees were presented this year, validated by the University of Gloucestershire.  Five Yeovil College staff received their MA Personal & Professional Development qualifications.  Heidi Amor, Lorraine Burchell, Karen Foster, Andrew Perlejewski and Emma Samuels completed the course, which is designed to enable professionals from a wide range of sectors to enhance and develop their professional expertise by working towards a full Master’s degree.

A record six University Centre Yeovil Outstanding Achievement Awards were also presented during the day.  They were received by Calum Brown (24) of Sherborne (FdSc Computing & Internet Technology), Victoria Gould (27) of Martock (FdA Early Years), Edward Narramore (30) from Kent (HND Aerospace Engineering), Helen Wilson (22) from Kent (BA (Hons) History with English), Philip Rooke (43) of Martock (FdSc Sports Development & Coaching) and Chelsey Oxley (21) of Martock (FdA Supporting Learning).

The annual Harry Livingstone Award for Management Excellence was presented to Natalie Adam (40) of Yeovil, who completed an Extended Diploma in Strategic Management & Leadership.  The award recognises outstanding achievement by a Business and Management student and is presented in memory of Harry Livingstone by the Yeovil and District Branch of the Chartered Management Institute.

As well as the students, their friends and family, a number of community representatives and dignitaries also attended to support the special day.  They included the Mayor and Mayoress of Yeovil, Cllr. Clive Davis and Mrs Sally Davis, the Chair of South Somerset District Council, Cllr. Mike Best, and the Chair of Somerset County Council, Cllr. John Edney, with consort Mrs Betty Edney.

The University Centre Yeovil is a partnership between Yeovil College and four universities, all of which were also represented.  The institutions conferring officers were Professor Mark Hadfield (Bournemouth University), Professor Ron Ritchie (University of the West of England) and Professor Stephen Hill (University of Gloucestershire).

Professor Hill was also the guest speaker at this year’s event.  After congratulating the graduates, he highlighted the importance of innovation as they entered a world of great change.  He said “Change is now a constant state.  We have to prepare students for a world where boundaries blur, where you may end up in jobs that have not yet been invented or indeed where you will create your own job, having studied a subject which is yet to exist. 

Encouraging and nurturing the next generation of citizens to be inventive is the key to securing our collective future.  It is why your achievement matters for all of us.  You are part of an exciting story of development.  Today is about celebrating your achievement in an institution which places great emphasis on the development of the skills and competences needed in a changing world which requires people who are flexible, self-sufficient and adaptable, who never stop learning new skills or redeploying existing knowledge to conquer the challenges of the day. 

The skills and attributes which you have developed here will be increasingly valuable and increasingly sought after by employers.  I would urge you be adaptable, confident, self-sufficient and self-assured in order to drive your own destiny and grasp the opportunities that lie ahead for you.  I am sure that your work and studies here have helped prepare you for that.  Take control of your aspirations and see them through, but be careful never to stop learning.

Principal James Hampton, Vice Principal Jayne Lewis and Director of the University Centre, Dr Richard Foyle, as well as many other senior staff represented Yeovil College and the University Centre.  Drawing on the College’s growing relationship with institutions in South East Asia and his own personal experience, Mr Hampton described how the rapid growth and success of China was a force to be reckoned with for UK, now and in the future.

He said “So how does the rise of China link with a day of celebration for our students here today, in Yeovil?  For me the answer is right here in this auditorium.  The UK has some of the finest graduates from arguably the best education system in the world, and that’s not just me speaking, it’s said by all our Chinese visitors, delegates and students, all of whom look at what we do and want to emulate it.  We look at China and wonder what the future holds for us, but we can take huge comfort and satisfaction from knowing that China itself looks at us and our students and says “We want to be like them”. 

So, graduates, you are now the future for this country, for our region and for Yeovil. You are the men and women who will not only drive us forward but who will also have the creativity drive and energy to take on whatever the rest of the world throws at us.  Congratulations to all of you who have received awards today and, on behalf of the University Centre Yeovil, I’d like to wish you every success in the next stage of your lives.

The University Centre Yeovil was created to give people in Somerset, Dorset and the surrounding areas easy access to high quality Higher Education. Our aim is to give students the opportunity to fulfil their potential and gain qualifications and knowledge which improve job prospects and help them gain promotion.  The University Centre is a partnership between Bournemouth University, the University of the West of England, the University of Gloucestershire, Swansea Metropolitan University and Yeovil College. These prominent educational institutions work together to provide a wide range of full-time and part-time courses, many of which can be studied to Higher National Certificate/Diploma, Foundation degree or Honours degree level.

For more information on the University Centre and its courses, visit www.ucy.ac.uk or call 01935 845454.

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