Telford College’s ‘inspirational’ higher education students had their achievements recognised at the annual graduation ceremony.
The class of 2019 donned traditional caps and gowns for the presentation event, held at the Haybridge campus.
This year’s HE graduates came from a wide range of courses including business, engineering, music, health and social care, accounting, early years services, and supporting children in primary education.
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Caroline Bastow, head of higher education who hosted the presentation ceremony, said: “We are immensely proud of what our students have once again achieved.
“Many of them have combined their studies with full-time employment, and family responsibilities, and overcome significant obstacles. They should be hugely proud of their success.
“Every single one of our graduating students deserves
recognition, and a celebration. We wish them all every success for the future.”
Among the health and social care graduates honoured at this year’s ceremony was mother-of-three Adele Mayhew, from Donnington, described by tutors as ‘inspirational’.
She said: “I chose to study at Telford College, as I had a previous great experience whilst studying my access to health course. The tutors and staff are absolutely amazing, supportive and easy to contact.
“I feel extremely lucky to have been taught and supported by them. The help and guidance they offer makes the experience so much more enjoyable. They are great at making you realise what you can achieve.”
Adele now plans to top up her course into a full degree at the University of Wolverhampton.
Abigail Allen, from Hadley, completed her foundation degree in early years services, and said: “I
cannot stress enough how fantastic my educational experience has been at Telford College.
“The lecturers are all so enthusiastic about their subject and the content of their teaching. Every single one stretched and challenged us as individuals and as a group – we are definitely not the same people we were when we all first started.
“Being able to juggle working 40 hours a week and finding time to study and spend time with family and friends wasn’t always easy – but so worth it.”
During her three years of studies at the college, Abigail has become a qualified assessor and taught early years, secured a job as a lecturer at another further education institution, and is topping up her studies to a full BA degree.
Julie Hellowell-Jones, who works at Ercall Wood Academy, graduated with a foundation degree in supporting children in primary education, and is now topping this up into a BA honours degree at the University of Wolverhampton.
She said: “Being a mature student with a full-time job and a large family has meant that studying a degree has been challenging to say the least but with the tutors’ support and the support of the rest of the group, it has also been fun.
“I even managed to have a new baby while on the course!
“I left Telford College not only with a foundation degree, but also with new friends and a new career path.
“Four years ago this seemed so far out of reach – but here I am, on the verge of having a full degree – and all thanks to the support and guidance offered by the HE team at Telford College.”
For Sarah-Louise Taylor, from Shifnal, the flexibility of the Telford College early years learning HE programme was perfect to combine with her job. She was working at an early years nursery during most of her course, before switching to become a support worker in a residential home.
“My overall experience with the tutors was fantastic,” she said. “I have always found learning difficult, especially writing, and before I enrolled I was referred to have dyslexia and dyspraxia screening. Both were confirmed.
“My tutor, Caroline Bastow, was amazing in supporting me through that experience as I took it quite negatively. But I passed each module, and I’ve graduated!”
She added: “Having recently transferred from working in a nursery to being a support worker in a residential home, the in-depth nature of the foundation degree and different modules regarding children’s backgrounds has been a bonus to help me understand what my young people have experienced.”
The guest speaker at the awards presentation was communication specialist Heather Noble, of Shropshire-based Salt Solutions, who spoke about the importance of ‘being true to yourself’.
She also revealed that, despite running her own business for the past decade, she is also about to start studying for her own a degree in counselling and psychology, at the age of 52.
Heather told the graduates: “I’ve been on that many training courses and read that many books on subjects that interest me and I’m sure you will all do the same – but it’s what you do with this newly acquired knowledge that matters most.”