Cardiff and Vale College celebrates its Higher Education students with a special graduation ceremony

5 Oct 2017

Cardiff and Vale College has held a special Graduation Ceremony for its growing number of Higher Education students – and it was the biggest ceremony yet.

Around 200 HE graduates, friends and family came to the ceremony at the College’s City Centre Campus to see the graduates don their gowns and mortarboards for the ceremony. They received their certificates from CAVC Principal Kay Martin, and Vice Principals Emil Evans and Sharon James.

Cardiff and Vale College’s university level HE provision continues to grow. Over the last couple of years it has more than doubled the number of Higher Education courses it offers and the College has a success rate of 90.4% for students on university level courses – 11.4% above the national comparator.

The College works in partnership with a number of universities in Wales and England to deliver HE qualifications, including the University of South Wales, Cardiff Metropolitan University, the University of West London and Kingston University, giving people the opportunity to gain university-level education without the cost of leaving home.

One such successful graduate is 22-year-old Lewis Richmond from Barry, who graduated from his BSc in Aircraft Engineering with a first after taking his third top up year.

“I found the course to be enjoyable and engaging and difficult all at the same time,” Lewis said. “The facilities are excellent; you have a Jet Stream for practical experience and two flight simulators that you can use and they are very interesting.

“I’m really happy to have graduated – it’s a big moment. I have completed the course with a first so I’m very happy with the result. I’ve brought my mum and dad with me today and they are both very proud of me.”

Emma Toogood, 24 and also from Barry, graduated from her Foundation Degree in Childhood Studies, which CAVC runs in partnership with the University of South Wales.

“I’m overwhelmed and really proud,”
Emma said. “It’s a big achievement. I’ve loved my time at the College – I had a baby half way through the first year so it was quite a challenge and I had to work hard to make sure I was keeping up.

“I’m debating whether to go on and do a teaching degree because I would like to become a primary school teacher. This is definitely a good ceremony and I’m really enjoying myself.”

Amanda Coombes, 53 and from Cardiff, graduated from the Foundation Degree in Creative Industries (Photography), offered in partnership with the University of South Wales and is topping up to the full degree.

She said: “I think this ceremony is great way to be able to celebrate with family and loved ones and it’s all been organised so well. I loved the course; it was a massive life changing decision for me as a mature student and I really enjoyed it.”

Twenty-three-year-old Duke Durham from Dinas Powys studied HND Sport Coaching at CAVC, which is offered in partnership with Cardiff Met.

“It’s been a really good experience,” Duke said. “I’d been with the College previously but this was completely different and just as good if not better. I’ve learned a lot from the modules and the lecturers have been really helpful – I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who is interested in sport.

“I’m going to continue to my third year and get my degree. I’m very excited to be here at today’s graduation ceremony; it’s been nice and a little bit overwhelming – at one time I would never have thought I’d be in a position where I was graduating and here I am so that’s good. My mum is very, very proud and she might have a little tear in her eye later.”

Ryan Shallish, 24 and also from Dinas Powys, was a fellow student of Duke’s on the Sport Coaching HND. He said:

“It’s been a really good experience and I’ve enjoyed it but it’s been hard work as well. It has taken a lot of dedication to get where I am now. The facilities at College have been first class and the lecturers support you that little bit more whereas I think if I’d been at university I would have felt more isolated.

“I think the best moment was when I got the letter saying I had the degree – when I got that letter I was over the moon. I’ve been looking forward to today, I am a little bit nervous but very proud as well. I never thought I would make it this far but here I am getting a degree.”

Annabel Cox, 28 and from Barry, graduated with a Foundation Degree in Learning Support which the College runs with the University of West London.

“Studying over the past few years has been crazy,” Annabel said. “It’s been difficult at times and it’s been challenging but it’s also been life-changing. I’ve met people and learned things that I would never have thought I would.

“The highlight of it all is today’s ceremony. It’s the end, it’s the achievement and it’s the celebration of what we’ve done over the last couple of years. That’s definitely the best moment.

“The College staff have been very supportive – they have been amazing. I’m just insanely proud and bit overwhelmed; it’s very emotional and I’m very, very proud. I’ve got a ten-year-old son so I never thought I would be able to do this but I would say to anyone: try a Foundation Degree – it’s amazing and you can do it.”

CAVC Principal Kay Martin said: “Seeing our students graduate with the Higher Education qualifications they wanted to achieve together with the skills they have picked up along the way makes me and all of my colleagues at the College extremely proud. Many of them have returned to education after a period away and that challenge in itself cannot be underestimated – it shows how much dedication and commitment it takes to achieve and they have done that.

“Our graduates are leaving us talented and education people and I have no doubt they will go on to achieve their goals. I look forward to hearing all of their success stories over the coming years.”