Sunderland College celebrated the academic achievements of its higher education students at a prestigious graduation ceremony, earlier this month.

Over 80 students, who had completed university-level qualifications including HNCs, HNDs, professional qualifications and higher apprenticeships, were honoured in the college’s annual graduation ceremony.

For the first time the ceremony took place in the college grounds, as its Bede Campus on Durham Road was transformed for this special occasion.

The students graduated in a variety of subject areas including creative arts, business and management, sport, engineering, early years, health and social care, education and training, and IT.

During the ceremony, special Outstanding Achievement Awards were also presented.

HND Performance graduate, Kirsty Wilson, and HND Public Services graduate, Ian Proctor, were both recognised for their academic excellence.

Ellen Thinnesen, Chief Executive of Education Partnership North East, which includes Sunderland College, gave an address to the graduates in which she encouraged them to never stop learning, embrace new opportunities and always make personal development a priority.

She said: “The graduation ceremony is a highlight of the college year where we celebrate the outstanding achievements of our higher education students.

“We were delighted to welcome guests and staff to our Bede Campus this year for this important celebration event.

“The college’s higher education provision is aligned to the needs of the regional business community and enables us to produce highly skilled graduates.

“We wish our graduates every success for the future as they use their higher-level skills and knowledge to achieve their career ambitions and make a significant contribution to the economy.”

Guest speaker, Tamara Taylor, presented the graduates with their scrolls and special awards.

The ex-England rugby captain spoke to the new graduates about resilience. She inspired the audience with her impressive achievements and said that some of the most important lessons for achieving success are through failures. 4

She urged them not to be defined by failure but to let it inspire and motive them to succeed.

Lorraine Atkinson, who graduated in Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training, delivered the student vote of thanks during the ceremony.

She said: “I was honoured to be invited to read the vote of thanks on behalf of this years’ graduates and felt really proud to be nominated to represent my peers.

“I had studied at Sunderland College in the past and it was my first choice when I was looking to do a stand-alone teaching qualification.

“I absolutely loved the course and know without doubt that it helped me to develop and enhance my skills and knowledge as a teacher.

“If I had not completed this qualification I would not have been able to apply for my dream job teaching leadership and management to adult learners!

“I would like to sincerely thank the college and all the staff, but in particular my own tutor Adele Cook who has been an amazing inspirational teacher and for that I am truly thankful.”

Following the ceremony, there was a reception prepared and served by the college’s talented hospitality and professional cookery students for staff, graduates and their guests.

Sunderland College has approximately 600 higher education students and offers a wide range of flexible university-level and professional qualification courses.

The college has received the prestigious TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) Silver Award in recognition of delivering high-quality teaching, learning and outcomes for its students, and consistently exceeding rigorous national quality requirements for higher education in the UK.

For more information about Sunderland College, visit the next open event on Tuesday 12th November, 4-6pm at City Campus, or ring 0191 511 6000.