Students from Furness College crossed the stage to receive their long-awaited degrees and higher education qualifications in a double celebration this week.
Graduates who completed in Covid-hit 2020 joined around 150 graduates from this year to mark the moment and celebrate with family, friends and staff.
Two new awards were presented in memory of a former lecturer as part of the glittering ceremony at the Rating Lane campus.
The Frank Cairns Award for Outstanding Commitment in Technical Engineering went to Steven Gregg and the Frank Cairns Award for Outstanding Commitment in Construction went to Aaron Townsend.
Frank’s daughter Charlotte and son Andrew presented the winners with their awards, which recognise the values of resilience and contribution to college in students alongside commitment to academic achievement. His wife Christine also attended.
Steven, who was graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) degree awarded by Lancaster University, and who works at Sellafield as a product development engineer said he was extremely honoured and humbled to receive the award in memory of Frank.
“I still can’t quite grasp my achievements, and would like to take the chance to thank the staff within the engineering department at Channelside for all your support throughout the last four years. I never got to meet Frank, but he was fondly talked about by the rest of the faculty staff.”
Guest speaker Jan Fielding addressed the graduates about the importance of taking on challenges and how change and adapting is valuable as they move through life.
She presented the degrees and honours degrees in engineering, construction, education, business, health and social care and computing. In addition, students completed HNCs, teaching qualifications and foundation degrees were awarded during the ceremony, led by the college’s Director of Higher Level Learning Kate Colebourn.
Students packed the theatre at the sixth form 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.
Student Voice speaker Lesley Stretton who completed a postgraduate certificate in education awarded by UCLan, spoke on behalf of the students.
“Our journey isn’t alone, it’s with our friends, colleagues and family who are with us along the way,” she said. “We all know the impact that the pandemic had by restricting us from social contact. Sometimes it was excruciatingly lonely and isolating. But we’re now emerging on the other side, hopefully with all of that behind us.”
Principal and Chief Executive Andrew Wren told graduates that progressing their education would benefit them for the rest of their lives.
“Whether it’s the subject knowledge you have gained, the practical skills, the discipline and self-motivation, or the added confidence that study and achievement gives you – you will continue to use these skills and benefit from them for years to come.”
Furness College offers wide range of higher education courses in subjects ranging from IT, engineering, health and social care, business, construction 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 www.furness.ac.uk/university-education or email firstname.lastname@example.org