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Furness College students celebrate university qualifications

Graduates celebrate their academic achievements at Furness College

[T]alented students were applauded as they crossed the stage to receive scrolls marking the successful completion of their degrees and higher education qualifications at Furness College.

The hard work of nearly 200 graduates was recognised at the college’s Celebration of Excellence event at the Channelside campus.

Fifty-six degrees and honours degrees were awarded in engineering, education, business and computing. Some 60 students have completed HNCs in engineering, eight have achieved HNDs in art & design, four have received teaching qualifications and 55 foundation degrees were awarded.

Julie Mennell awards graduating student Paul Shields with his scroll

The graduates were congratulated by guest speaker University of Cumbria’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell who urged them to take confidence from their higher qualifications. “Some of you will end up in jobs that do not yet exist yet, so that is an exciting and scary prospect,” she said. “You now have the skill set to be able to adapt. Be confident in terms of what you do and think beyond your immediate options.”

Students packed the conference rooms at the campus joined by college staff and family and friends who have supported them through their studies. The qualifications they have been awarded are accredited by universities including Lancaster University, University of Cumbria and UCLan and are taught at Channelside in Barrow.

Students at the Celebration of Excellence

Furness College Principal and Chief Executive Andrew Wren told graduates that progressing their education would benefit them for the rest of their lives.

“As you will have discovered, balancing study with work and home life, and of course a social life, is, at times, very challenging,” he said. “But my advice is not to lose the momentum. Continue to push yourselves and never settle for second best from yourself. You may not always be the best at everything – who is – but you can always be the best that you can be.”

He said the college had recently been recognised with a silver award under the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework for ‘consistently exceeding’ rigorous national quality requirements. “We scored an excellent rating for ensuring students go into highly skilled employment after their studies and for the academic support we offer. This bodes very well for you,” he said.

Student Michael Hibbert, who achieved a first-class honours degree in computing systems development

The guests heard an inspiring story from student Michael Hibbert who started at Furness College on an IT diploma and was graduating with a first-class honours degree in computing systems development from the University of Cumbria.

Speaking on behalf of the students he said the college had given them the best start to go forward and make their mark on the world. “We’ve all been on a long journey, that has seen a variety of difficult times but also most importantly the good times, and tonight I’m here to say one thing that for everything we have experienced, it has been worth it.”

Director of Curriculum for Higher Education Jo Anson said it had been another great year for student success and thanked employers for their commitment and contribution to developing the courses. “This enables the courses that we deliver to be up-to-date and relevant in the current work place. Which is why we are working hard with employers to maximise new opportunities in higher and degree apprenticeships.”

Furness College offers wide range of higher education courses in subjects ranging from IT, engineering, health and social care, business, construction, art and teaching. There are around 500 students currently on its programmes, which offer both full-time and part time study options for those already in employment.

For more information about higher education courses at Furness College visit the website http://www.furness.ac.uk/course-index/university-education or email [email protected]