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Uni Centre celebrates Sept 22

University Centre celebrates Graduation Day 2023

There were cheers and tears of joy aplenty as York College University Centre celebrated Graduation Day 2023 last night.

Held in the magnificent surroundings of York Minster, the College’s Higher Education graduates were joined by family members and tutors to honour their achievements.

York College & University Principal Lee Probert declared that the annual event is a “special milestone celebration” that never “loses its sparkle or ability to inspire”.

For eight students, meanwhile, the ceremony ended on an even bigger high as their success was recognised during the Awards Presentation.

The prestigious Principal’s and Governors’ Awards were won respectively by Media, Make-up, Special Effects and Hair Design graduate Yasmin Reevell and Sam Peacock, who studied Digital Technologies (Cybersecurity).

Other prizes were also presented to Matthew Galley, Harriet Fleetham, Hannah Miller, Charlotte Taylor, Joe Hopper and Adam Robinson.

Harriet was marking the completion of an academic journey with York College that started in 2017.

The 22-year-old, from Pocklington, gained a Level 2 Diploma in Art & Design Pass before gaining a Distinction at Level 3 and has now achieved a 2:1 on the University Centre’s BA (Hons) 3D Creative Practice course.

She will also exhibit some of her work at the Norman Rea Gallery in Heslington next month.

Speaking at the ceremony, Harriet said: “The day-to-day life at College is great and, having studied here for my Further and Higher Education, the tutors know what I do and don’t do well and have been amazing for me. I had to write a 5,000-word dissertation, which was difficult, but it was so good having my tutor Beccy (Ridsdel) to help me through all the hard bits.

“I never expected that I would go on to get a degree at all and still feel like I winged it a bit from the first year and just kept on staying, so to get a 2:1 and be looking forward to exhibiting some of my pieces feels pretty good.”

Adam Robinson, 23, from Haxby, added that his Pearson BTEC Level 4 HNC in Construction & Built Environment course has helped land him his dream job.

“I’ve always been interested in civil engineering from a young age and York College gave me an opportunity to study it,” he explained. “I have had a brilliant experience and the tutors made my time at College incredible with their one-to-one support.

“I’m now working as a Site Engineer with my employers Lindum Construction. It’s the job I have always wanted and York College has helped me get it.”

Mathew Galley, from Nether Poppleton, graduated with a Foundation Degree in Digital Technologies (Cybersecurity) and will now seek employment in a fast-growing industry.

“It’s amazing to celebrate with my friends, classmates and tutors in York Minster,” he said. “I feel that the course has developed my professional skills and equipped me to find a job in the cybersecurity field now.”

Among the Ceremony’s Platform Party were the Lady Mayoress of York, Joy Cullwick and Dr Lynn Senior – Director of the University of Huddersfield’s Education and Training Consortium.

Principal Lee Probert declared that “being part of Graduation is one of the great privileges of being a College Principal”.

Addressing the graduates, he went on to add: “Whatever you do next, wherever you go next; however big or small the step is that you take, you have already achieved great things, and can continue to do so. Never lose that thirst for learning, to think differently and to challenge and push boundaries.

“I am enormously proud of all that you have achieved so far and look forward, through our Alumni Association, to finding out more about your future successes. My heartfelt congratulations to you all – well done!”

Guest speaker Rebecca Friel MBE, meanwhile, gave an inspiring speech about her work as CEO of the charity Odd Arts that delivers therapeutic theatre projects in secure settings such as prisons and hospitals.

Her talk also touched upon the inferiority anxiety she felt at university, her diagnosis of anorexia at the age of 20 and balancing her work commitments with raising four children.

On her invitation to the ceremony, she said: “What a great day to be sharing with you. It’s so nice to celebrate and mark your achievements.

“Whatever you go on to do from here, do it with passion and care for yourself and the world around you. And, whatever you do, don’t just wait for it to happen.”