The sound of laughter and a feeling of joy filled Truro Cathedral this weekend as almost 700 students from Cornwall College, Bicton College, Duchy College and Falmouth Marine School celebrated their successes and graduated in front of friends, family and former lecturers. The traditional ceremony which saw students donning a cap and gown and receiving a scroll marks the end point of their years of effort to achieve a university qualification.
Acting Principal of The Cornwall College Group, Raoul Humphreys, said: “The Graduation ceremony is always the highlight of the academic year and a tremendous celebration of hard work, determination and achievement. Almost 700 people graduated with us this year, recording one of our highest set of results in the last ten years and almost 400 of them were conferred at Truro Cathedral in two packed and emotional ceremonies.”
The ceremony this year marked 38 years of The Cornwall College Group delivering higher education in Cornwall. With undergraduate degrees awarded by Plymouth University, Falmouth University and the University of St Mark and St John; students graduated from a diverse choice of foundation and bachelor degrees, in subjects ranging from business to marine science, teaching to horticulture, music performance to zoological conservation.
22 year old Joe Carne from Camborne studied a HND in Games Design at Cornwall College Camborne, he said: “It’s amazing to be here today, it’s a really great course; loads of interesting people, the tutors are awesome and the coursework is varied. I’m currently finishing my third year at Cornwall College and I did hope to go into games design, but I’ve had an expression of interest from LEGO and I am talking to them about becoming a set designer.
“For my subject specialism I designed some custom LEGO parts and had them 3D printed, I sent them off to the company for some feedback and they wanted to meet me.”
Over their time at Cornwall College these students have taken part in international research projects, informed industry, organised an international competition and helped shape business in Cornwall through training and events; they’ve also taken part in field trips and studies in places like Borneo, Greece, France, Kenya, South Africa and Iceland.
Former Apprentice Phillip Farndon graduated with a FdSc in Food Studies from Duchy College Stoke Climsland, he said: “It means a lot to be here, I didn’t know what I wanted to do so finding the apprenticeship and the degree programme I feel a lot more ready for the future. Doing the apprenticeship was nice to be able to learn something with lectures one day and then implement that at work and in practice. I’m now working at a wine merchant in London; I definitely wouldn’t have got it without the experience and the apprenticeship to back it up.”
For Naomi Beddoe, who studied a BSc (Hons) in Plant Science at The Eden Project, the graduation ceremony is a moment to celebrate. “It’s really special because it shows that the hard work has been worth it. I’m now doing a part time PhD at Canterbury Christchurch University, I’m interested in plant viruses in ornamental bulbs; A lot of the work that I did at Duchy has enabled me to move on to the PhD and I’m really happy to be building on that.”
There were also ‘Student of the Year’ awards from Plymouth University presented to Zachary Bennett HND Games Design for Industry and Christine Stuart FdSc Equitation, Training & Behaviour. Joanna Croft, BA Hons Enterprise and Business Management, was also recognised by the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce.
Joanna said: “It’s really strange to be here because I miss the student life massively, but it’s amazing to see everyone again. I’m currently working for an accountancy practice, with the hope of becoming chartered in a few years. I loved the course; I’d always wanted to do a degree, but I didn’t have the opportunity when I was younger and it was so refreshing to just learn and think for 3 years, I would recommend it to anyone.
“It’s really special to win an award from the Chamber of Commerce, it was a total surprise and I am really chuffed.”
Guest speaker at the ceremony was BBC Spotlight Presenter and Journalist Rebecca Wills, in her speech she encouraged the students to never give up: “Dream big, be prepared to work hard, and anything is possible. But that doesn’t always mean things will go according to plan. You will all come up against stumbling blocks and hurdles – it’s inevitable. And sometimes you may fail to get over them, or around them. But it’s having the strength and confidence to know how to deal with that failure that will ultimately be part of your own personal success.”
Each ceremony ended in style with graduates processing down the central aisle of Truro Cathedral to a medley of inspiring music and rousing applause from their loved ones, staff and fellow students.