Conel’s first ever Graduation ceremony celebrates Access to University and Higher Education achievers

The Ceremony was opened by College Principal Andy Forbes, who stressed the importance of having the minimum of a Level 3 qualification to be able to compete for many of the jobs of today. He congratulated the students at the ceremony for achieving this. “My thanks go to our excellent teaching staff, as well as our wonderful students and the support they receive from their families. Completing an Access or a Higher Education course in a year is an astonishing achievement, and all the more so when I know that so many of you juggle this with work and family responsibilities.”

Former Access and Higher Education guest speakers attended the event. Julie Rookley took out a 24 Plus Advanced Learning Loan to complete her Access to Nursing course last year. She is now a Student Midwife at the University of Northampton and works at Kettering General Hospital. Julie’s tuition fees are paid by the NHS and she also receives a salary. Julie told the graduates: “My children were almost all grown up and I was working in a bakery, I was 43 years old and I decided that I did not see myself doing this for another twenty years. I’d always wanted to be a midwife and I decided it was now or never.” Julie completed Access to Nursing with Merits and Distinctions in all her modules - and so far she has delivered ten babies!

Charlie Baker, who completed Access to IT and achieved Distinctions in all of his modules, is now studying Computing at King’s College, London. Charlie said: "I want to become a software engineer but no other College seems to offer such an excellent Access course. The course gave me just what I need to get to King's and I've got nothing but praise for the College and its teachers."

Former BA (Hons) Counselling student, Eve Phellas graduated with first class honours. Eve said: “I did not like school. I was the type of student who was always to be found smoking by the bike shed and I couldn’t wait to leave. I spent my working life as a freelance copywriter for brands such as Monster Munch and Maclean’s. Once my son was nearing adulthood, I decided to return to study and discovered I loved it.” Eve’s research skills were exceptional and she continues to work as a freelance copywriter as well as a counsellor.

Over 170 students graduated this year from Access to Higher Education courses in Biology, Engineering, IT and Nursing. Higher Education students included: Higher National Certificate (HNC) and Higher National Diploma (HND) students graduating in Computing, Music Production, Animation and Games Design. Foundation Degree graduates included Childhood Studies and Counselling, as well as BA (Hons) Counselling. Friends and family accompanied students to collect their awards.

At the Ceremony, there were also live music performances from Music Production students: TMK (Loraine James and Mehmet Tomak) and One Republic (Loraine James, Lap Bui and Mateusz Lis).

Oluremi Abaci, an HND Music Production Level 5 student, who is blind and progressing to complete his degree at Westminster University,received a Special Award at the Ceremony. Oluremi said: “I have had a marvellous education at the College and I have been very well supported here. I am looking forward to going to university but I will miss the College and I will always think very fondly of my time here.”

Carlos Lopez Querrero, an HND Animation and Games Design Level 5 student, who also received a Special Award said: “I went to Japan earlier recently because that’s the centre of the games industry. Once I have my degree, I want to work there.”

Special Awards were given to recognise the achievements of those that had excelled in their courses:

  • Israel Marfo, Access to HE Biological Science
  • Svitlana Romanovas, Access to HE Biological Science
  • Jack Mahoney, Access to HE Engineering
  • Germain Yonkeu, Access to HE Engineering
  • Rochelle Bailey, Access to HE Diploma in Nursing
  • Jennifer Clayton, Access to HE Diploma in Nursing
  • Cassandra Diamond, Access to HE Diploma in Nursing
  • Nadia El-Aabdi, Access to HE Diploma in Nursing
  • Linne Griffin, Access to HE Diploma in Nursing
  • Susan Melia, Access to HE Diploma in Nursing
  • Kareem Powell, HNC Animation and Games Design
  • Carlos Lopez Querrero, HND Animation and Games Design
  • Oluremi Abaci, HNC Music Production

The College offers a wide range of Access to University, Higher Education courses as well as Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships. Advanced Apprenticeships are equivalent to Level 3 study.

Higher Apprenticeships are equivalent to HNC/HND level, which means that if you complete a degree you are likely to have already covered your first or second year of study. Just like having an HNC, HND or Foundation Degree, this means you will be able to join your degree course in the second or third year to convert it to an honours degree.

To find out more about our Access and Higher Education courses please click here.

To find out more about our Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships please click here.

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