A ‘DELIGHTED’ Rugby woman who overcame a number of challenges to achieve her degree was among proud graduates from Rugby College who celebrated their successes at a ceremony with a historic backdrop.
More than 160 graduates from Warwickshire College and University Centre (WCUC), accompanied by their families and friends, headed to Warwick to mark the completion of their degrees with the centre – the Higher Education arm of college group WCG.
They included Jodie Townsend, 22, from Rugby, who was the inaugural graduate from Rugby College with a BEng (Hons) in General Engineering.
She said: “It is so special to be the first graduate from the programme and to celebrate with my friends and family.
“Through the challenges of working a zero hours contract and looking after a disabled family member, the department has been accommodating and supportive in helping me achieve my degree.
“I am delighted to be graduating today. Completing the qualification has enabled to work in an industry I love and I recently started a new job as a tooling engineer.”
Michael Wakeleigh-Jones, 36, from Rugby, graduated with a Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training from Royal Leamington Spa College. He is a tutor for Rugby College’s motor vehicle courses.
He said: “Completing my course has been a massive achievement and I am very proud of myself and the opportunities my new qualification has given me.
“In the future, I am looking to further develop my skills and progress towards my ambitions of becoming a course lecturer at the college.”
At Warwick Castle, the graduates were gowned and took photos before making the short walk to the historic St Mary’s Church for the graduation ceremonies.
Both ceremonies opened with an address from Gill Clipson MBE, Chair of the Corporation Board for WCG, before Angela Joyce, CEO of WCG, addressed the graduates and their guests.
Led by a knight on horseback, graduates processed from the church through Warwick and back to the castle for a celebratory drinks reception in the Great Hall.
Angela Joyce said: “Graduation is an end and a beginning, it is the celebration of the achievement of an ambition, but it’s also the start of a new chapter for graduates as they head into new careers and directions which may not have been possible before starting their studies.
“St Mary’s Church and Warwick Castle provided a magnificent backdrop for this very special occasion and it was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the hard work, dedication and commitment of our graduates.
“I would like to congratulate all of our graduates and wish them the very best for their future.”
In 2021, WCG became the first college in the UK to be granted Bachelor degree awarding powers by the Office for Students, alongside its existing Foundation degree awarding powers.