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The Corporation

Posted: 23/11/15

Double applause for university-level students

University-level students at West Nottinghamshire College celebrated together at a double graduation ceremony at the historic Kelham Hall, near Newark, on Saturday (21 November).

  • A time for celebrating
  • Families and friends joined graduates to celebrate at Kelham Hall, near Newark
  • Sir John Peace, lord lieutenant of Nottinghamshire was guest speaker at the graduation this year
  • Music graduate Alex Wilkinson with Dame Asha Principal who presented him with the principal's award
  • Tutor James Levy was proud of his Future Focus award win

This year 260 students graduated from university-level courses at the college. It meant that the college had to organise two ceremonies to enable everyone to take to the stage.  Fourteen of these students received a first class honours degree.

Students collected their graduation certificates from principal and chief executive Dame Asha Khemka, Professor Fiona Church, pro-vice chancellor of Birmingham City University and Professor Kathryn Mitchell, vice chancellor and CEO of the University of Derby.

Attending the event was special guest and keynote speaker, Sir John Peace, the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire.

The double graduation ceremony also saw 13 students collect Outstanding Student of the Year awards – while one received the Principal’s Student of the Year award for outstanding performance on his course.

The Principal’s Student of the Year award went to 21-year-old Alex Wilkinson who has studied on the BA (Hons) Applied Studies (Music).

Alex said: “I am speechless! It was a huge shock to win two awards but it has shown me that hard work really does pay off. It’s made me feel proud of my efforts. My time at the college has been great. Friends and tutors have been supportive – all round it’s been a great experience.

“I’m taking my teaching course now so in a couple of years I’d like to be teaching music to 16-18-year olds.”

The event also saw members of the college’s own staff graduate from courses held at the Mansfield-based college.

One of these members of staff was James Levy who achieved the Future Focus Award with distinction which he completed alongside his Foundation Degree in Sport and Exercise Science. James developed a wide range of employability skills and attributes which make him stand out from others. Tutors nominated James for the award due to his commitment and ability to manage a variety of projects while studying.

Tutor James said: “I have been studying and working together which has been intense but very rewarding. I wasn’t expecting to go up on stage today – but it was a nice surprise.

“I have a couple of interviews coming up over the coming weeks to enrol on my PGCE so I’ll be busy with studying again very soon.”

Principal and chief executive Dame Asha Khemka said: “Today is a celebration for all of us. A celebration for our hardworking students who have achieved great success, for their friends and families who have supported them and for the staff who have taught and encouraged them through many hours of intense study.

“It makes me proud to see these people achieving their dreams and new qualifications. Returning to education at a higher level requires hard work, dedication, planning and passion. The gift of knowledge is precious as are the opportunities that education can give.

“Our learning doesn’t end at the classroom door; it’s a process which continues throughout our lives and shapes our futures. We must never take for granted access to great educational opportunities when some people in this world take huge risks to get themselves educated.

“A life without education is a life without hope – so let’s recognise its importance. For some of our graduates, they will be the first person in their families to have embarked on a university-level education. Well done to all of our graduates this year. You’ve made me proud.”

The college now works in partnership with Birmingham City University and the University of Derby to deliver a wide range of university-level courses such as foundation degrees as well as offering seven top-up courses enabling students to achieve an Honours Degree. 

The college also offers HND and HNC qualifications and most of its qualifications will be provided from September 2016 at the new university centre being constructed at the college’s Derby Road campus.