Walsall College higher education students paraded to Walsall Town Hall in their caps and gowns on Friday 24th November, to officially open their formal Graduation Ceremony. Including some of the first cohort of students who have completed the college’s new Level 6 BSc Computing course and celebrated graduating with a first class honours degrees.
The college, which has offered a range of Access to HE, HNC and HND courses for a number of years, started offering full degree level courses, in Fashion, Photography and Graphic Design for the first time in its history in 2014, after forming a partnership with Birmingham City University (BCU). Business and Computing programmes were introduced last year.
More than 100 students brought Walsall town centre to a standstill during the parade as Town Crier Cyril Richardson led the procession and shouted about their success on higher education courses.
Over 450 guests attended the annual ceremony, including students, family and friends and lecturers. The high achieving students received certificates for success on courses such as Business, Computing, Professional Development, Creative Industries, Health and Public Services and Hospitality Management. Seven special awards were also presented to students for excelling during their courses.
Guest speaker Simon Lamb, Managing Director of Makers Construction, which has taken on university level apprentices, who will be graduating next year, gave an inspiring talk to students about the value of their qualifications. The occasion was rounded off with afternoon tea and live music at the college’s Wisemore Campus.
Computing Graduate Tim Walker who graduated with a first and was also awarded with the HI:ED Student of the Year award, said: “I’m very proud of what I achieved in my time at the college so it’s a great honour to be presented with this award and receive recognition from my tutors. I enrolled on to a Level 3 Computing course at the college after leaving school and I enjoyed it that much here, that staying and progressing on to a degree in Computing seemed like the most natural thing to do.
“I couldn’t believe it when I found out I had received a first and now to win the student of the year award is just amazing.
“I’m now working as a website and application developer for a logistics firm, creating new systems and improving efficiencies, and building on the skills I learnt at college.”
In the current economic climate, studying higher education courses at college is increasingly popular, giving students a more cost effective route to achieving a university degree. Many of the students who graduated will now be going on to top up to degree level or to put their skills to use in the workplace.
Jatinder Sharma OBE, Walsall College’s Principal and Chief Executive, said: “The 2016 HI:ED Graduation Ceremony was a great celebration of our students’ achievements and they are now role models within their communities as well as being Walsall College Graduates.
“Our students have achieved what they set out to accomplish and should be extremely proud of their achievements. I speak on behalf of everybody when I wish them every success in the future.
“Our overriding ambition is to give students the best possible platform from which to develop successful careers – both now and well into the future.”
Prospective students looking to start HE courses in September 2017 are invited to come and find out about the college’s affordable university level courses at its next Open Day on Saturday 14th January 2017, from 10am – 2pm.