In a truly inspiring day, Truro Cathedral was the impressive setting for two ceremonies celebrating the graduation of nearly 700 students from across the world and communities across Devon and Cornwall.
Graduands, friends, families and dignitaries were captivated by guest speaker Lucy Edge, a leading figure in Cornwall’s growing space industry as the founder of Avanti Communications Spacecraft Operations Centre.
Having managed the launch of rockets bearing satellites now controlled from Cornwall, her speech was a rallying cry for those present to send their careers into orbit.
“It was so exciting to see so many faces and so many different career paths taking place from this point,” Lucy explained.
“I felt so inspired I thought it was me on the learning journey not the gradates and having all of those different skills in that room together, you wonder at the potential of what is going to happen next. It’s fantastic to know you can take steps in further and higher education right on our doorstep and to see the breadth of opportunities available to the students of the region whatever their age.”
Lucy also advised people to “always do something you love and secondly question, question, question and keep testing until you find the thing you want to do”.
Many of The Cornwall College Group (TCCG) graduands had already taken her advice and are now working as researchers in Costa Rica, golf industry experts in Southern France, exploring the world on superyachts, teaching, working for award winning garden design firms and a wealth of other incredible careers.
The graduands had studied across the Group’s colleges, which include Duchy College Rosewarne and Stoke Climsland, Bicton College, Falmouth Marine School, campuses in Camborne, Newquay St Austell and Saltash, as well as those who studied higher education at Eden Project.
There were also three students of the year awards, the first of which was the Plymouth University Student of the Year gong, won by Food Studies foundation degree graduate Catherine White from Okehampton in Devon.
She was praised for her outstanding level of academic achievement, contributions in class as well as being a superb representative of the college when engaging with industries.
Catherine had originally studied geography, but quickly realised “food was my passion not geography”.
“I really enjoyed the hands on element of the course particularly in the food processing rooms,” she said.
“Industry visits were amazing and provided a great insight into the food sector and how our theory knowledge could be applied in the real world. I now have a work placement at a food manufacturer in Bodmin working in the development department which is very exciting, and I am on the Rural Business Management course at Duchy College.”
Angela Hosking from Penzance won the Cornwall College Group Student of the Year award having achieved the BA (Hons) award in Games Design for Industry.
TCCG’s Dr Mark Nason said Angela, a former Cape Cornwall student, had “blossomed into a creative concept artist” and that “her confidence shines bright”.
“I’ve been playing games since I was little and my mum suggested I went into it as I was making games up anyway,” Angela revealed.
“I started a degree somewhere else, but didn’t get on with it at all, so took a year out and then came across this course. My classmates are like an extended family.”
Angela is now studying for a PGCE in Games Design and doing a Masters with Falmouth University. She’s also setting up a games design studio in Cornwall for graduates.
“I’m trying to put Cornwall on map for games design by giving graduates a place to work and produce amazing games,” she continued.
“This will offer internships and apprenticeships for those who are younger and want to enter the industry with work experience.”
Graduation Students of the Year
The Cornwall Chamber of Commerce Business Student of the Year award went to Abigail Langridge from Redruth.
Having discovered a love of business when studying at Pool Academy, Abigail went down the scientific route for her A Levels, but realised she missed her calling, so chose a degree that allowed her to explore her passion.
“I really liked the fact you could study in Cornwall and it was a full degree so you didn’t have to go outside of the county to finish it,” she said.
“I liked the variations of the subject taught and wasn’t confined to one area of business, you learned about all areas.”
Abigail’s tutor Dr Bryan Mills said in 20 years of running the degree in business at Cornwall College, he’d “never come across a student who seems to have gained so much from their studies”.
“We are all aware of the career choices degrees provide and of the skills students develop along the way – but every now and again a student comes along who seems truly transformed by the process,” he continued.
“This student would have been worthy of this award regardless of classification, but the fact that she gained a first class with honours simply adds to the amazing achievement the process has been for her.”
There are currently more than a 1,500 students studying undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at TCCG and next year will mark 40 years of the group’s Higher Education provision specialising in business, agriculture and animals, engineering, horticulture, health, teaching and social sciences, marine, sports, technology, tourism and much more.
Group CE and Principal Raoul Humphreys, congratulated all the graduands, but also wanted to mention the families, colleagues and friends “who will have supported our graduates throughout their degrees”.
“We would like to thank them for everything they have done in making this moment happen for their loved ones,” he said.
“A huge thank you goes to all the businesses, of which there are representatives here today, which have delivered that all-important real world experience for our graduates. It is an essential component of our career college ethos.”
Raoul also wanted to thank the staff at the College, “a group of fantastic teachers, passionate support staff and dedicated experts who achieve and inspire year-in, year-out”.
“I thank you for all of your continued hard work – you make such an important difference in so many lives,” he added.
And to ensure the event was as inclusive as possible, it wasn’t just those inside the cathedral that joined in the celebrations.
A giant screen in the square outside the, sponsored by Unlocking Potential & SW Lakes Trust, showed a live feed of the ceremonies along with tweets from friends and families below.
If you would like to change your career and quite possibly your life, please contact 0330 123 2523 or visit www.cornwall.ac.uk