Annual Graduate Ceremony honours college students and first sports graduands

More than 350 people assembled at Dudley College for the Higher Awards ceremony on Friday 29 November to celebrate the achievements of the college's graduates. The annual graduation event saw 120 students from a range of business, accounting, management, engineering, construction, fashion and public services courses, enjoy a traditional university-style event in recognition of their hard work and achievements.

The event began at Dudley Evolve on Tower Street, where graduates collected their gowns and mortar boards, before they filed across Coronation Gardens to The Great Hall on the college's Broadway campus where the official ceremony took place.

Lowell Williams, Principal at the college explained "We introduced the procession across Coronation Gardens so local people could enjoy this colourful and customary event, as it is quite a spectacle to see. Many people don't realise that the level of the qualifications we offer are equivalent to university courses, and as such, warrant a full graduation ceremony to celebrate and recognise our student's achievements.

"Our higher level courses are often undertaken by people in full-time jobs, and are essential to their career progression. The accomplishment of their course regularly has the added pressure of working and juggling a home life whilst completing their studies, which is not an easy thing to manage. I really admire our graduates for their commitment and wish them all the very best for the future and in their chosen careers."

The event was extra-special for five sport students as they are the first cohort of graduands from the newly introduced sport and exercise HNC. As raising the level of the population's engagement in sport and exercise becomes an increasing priority for the government and employment opportunities become more plentiful, the need for highly skilled people in the industry is paramount.

Mitch Blackham, 20, from Cosely has completed the HNC and is now studying for his HND, after which he's hoping to go to Newman College of Higher Education in Birmingham to complete his degree and qualify as a physio.
Mitch said "Studying for my HNC at the college has been great, it's helped me progress to where I need to be to become a physio. I had great support and encouragement, and knew I was starting to understand sports injuries when I recently visited the doctors about my own sports injury and could understand the terminology he used and the treatment he prescribed."

Liam Jones, 22, from Gornal has also progressed onto the HND after completing his sports and exercise HNC. He's currently coaching at the college to get the practical experience he requires to complete his HND. Liam said “At the start of the course the work was a bit of a struggle as it was a bigger jump up than I expected, but I've had lots of help and support and graduating is a great way to celebrate all my hard work."

Browse more photographs from the event.