Dressed in mortarboards and gowns, the sight of hundreds of graduands stepping up to receive their honours degrees from Bradford College Principal, Michele Sutton, OBE, filled parents, family and friends with pride during the annual Graduation Ceremonies.
The Graduation Ceremonies, held at St. George’s Hall, Bradford, recognise the achievements of students graduating from degree programmes validated by Leeds Metropolitan University, BTEC, the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Association of Accounting Technician's.
Mr Richard Wightman, Chairman of the Corporation opened the ceremony, before handing over to Bradford College Principal and Chief Executive, Michele Sutton, OBE.
Vice Principal for Curriculum and Quality, Kath Oldale officiated the proceedings as the Master of Ceremonies at the memorable event.
Returning to an important College tradition, Bradford College bestowed five Honorary Fellowships during the Graduation Ceremonies .
An Honorary Fellowship is the highest honour that the College can give individuals to recognise their outstanding service or support to the College or city and district of Bradford
The list of Honorary Fellows included: Gerry Sutcliffe MP: Former Bradford College student, councillor and MP; Darren Baker: Bradford School of Arts & Media graduate, award winning, classical realist painter and official portrait artist to Her Majesty the Queen; Imtaz Khaliq MBE, an elite tailor and designer; Christa Ackroyd: Journalist and broadcaster with thirty years of experience reporting Yorkshire news and Baroness Eaton DBE, DL for her support to Bradford College and the City.
Looking forward to the future with optimism, graduands, family and friends expressed their delight at attending the unforgettable event…
Andy Wilds graduated from the BA (Hons) Public Services Management Course with a first class honours degree. Andy made a three hour round trip from Hull to attend classes at Bradford College, whilst working fulltime as a Fire Officer. Speaking about his Bradford College experience, Andy said: “The course has been extremely beneficial and has helped me immensely in my current role.”
The skills and qualifications Andy has gained from the course have set him on the right path for promotion within the Fire Service. Commenting on the level of support he received from Bradford College tutors, Andy said: “The support has been fantastic! The tutors have all got their own different ways of doing things, but the one thing they have in common is they all made time for all of us.”
Anne Freund, Course Leader, BA (Hons) Public Services Management was delighted to attend the graduation ceremony. Speaking about Andy’s great achievements, Anne said: “Andy has worked really hard during the course and his commitment and determination to achieve has paid off.”
International student Cristianah Fearon came to Bradford College to study Business from Nigeria. Cristianah chose Bradford College because of its international reputation for excellence, progressing from a HND in Business and Computing to a BA (Hons) in Business. Speaking during the Graduation Ceremonies Cristianah said: “It’s been such a wonderful and memorable day. I even hugged Michele Sutton the College Principal. She was really warm and friendly, which reflects my Bradford College experience.”
Social Work Tutor, Melanie Watts attended the ceremony to watch her students graduate. Speaking during the auspicious occasion, Mel said: “Our students have had some fantastic success this year. We are really proud of all their achievements – and we’re looking forward to celebrating with them today!”
Graduate May Kelly speaking about her experience of Bradford College and the Social Work course said: “It was really good, interesting and quite challenging, but I really enjoyed it!”
“I felt my tutors were really supportive and easily accessible if I needed to speak to them about anything.”
During my final year, I was found a placement by Bradford College working in a Mental Health Team. I was offered a job after the placement, which was brilliant.”
“I’d encourage other people to study social work as it’s a really good course and I’m delighted to be graduating today.”
Outstanding student Seyyad Shah graduated with a first class honours degree in Accounting, having progressed from a HND in Business and Finance, with 16 distinctions. Seyyad explained: “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my career until I came to Bradford College. I enrolled on a HND in Business and Finance and then made the decision to study Accounting at degree level. I’ve never looked back!” Hardworking Seyyad added: “I want to continue with my studies and become a Chartered Accountant.”
Graduating with a first class honours degree in Graphic Design, Digital Media and Illustration graduate Mathew Lamont said: “I’m proud; it’s given me a sense of achievement and a smile on my face in these cold winter months. I’m pretty confident that I will be able to get the job I want now that I’ve graduated.”
Mathew smiled warmly and added: “Congratulation to everyone else from the course!”
BA (Hons) Special Make-up Effects and Artistry graduate Carla Dyson was plucked from obscurity during her time at Bradford College. Carla went from make-up artist, to star of the catwalk when she was talent spotted during a College trip to the Commonwealth Games in Sri Lanka in 2010.
Leading model training agency, Morton Gledhill recognised her potential and offered Carla a place on their Advanced Models Course, which has lead to a successful career in modelling. Carla has also been offered a position as a Lancôme Paris Makeup Artist. The premier beauty brand is represented by actresses, global supermodels, makeup artists, and perfumers.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony Carla said: “My experience at Bradford College has changed my life, opening up opportunities for me that I could have only dreamed of.” Carla added: “I’m so happy to be graduating today!”
Carla was accompanied by parents John and Patricia Dyson who jetted in from Spain to attend their daughter’s graduation ceremony and share in her special day.
Commenting on how it felt to see his daughter graduate, John Dyson said: “We’re really proud of all the hard work Carla has put in, which has now paid off!”
Carla’s mother Patricia Dyson spoke of her joy as she watched her daughter graduate, adding: “We’re proud of Carla’s achievements!”
Social Work graduate Jane Parson was thrilled to be graduating, accompanied by family, friends and loved ones during her special day. Jane had previously worked at the Job Centre before deciding to embark upon a change of career at the age of 40 - and has never looked back. Elaborating further Jane said: “I think it was the best course ever! It’s just fantastic. Better than I could have ever dreamed of - I still can’t believe I’ve done it!”
Jane continued: “I was accepted at other universities, but I picked Bradford College as they offered small class sizes. I didn’t want to be just another number; I wanted to be a name!”
“I felt extremely supported throughout my studies – all the tutors were fantastic, helping and encouraging me all the way through.”
“I got a job straight away after I graduated with a foster care agency from London. They’ve got a sub office in Bradford and I’m in charge of the whole lot.”
When asked if Jane felt she was making a difference to people’s lives with her change in career, Jane replied: “Yes I hope so, placing children, dealing with carers, recruiting and running the office and being a Social Worker is extremely rewarding.”
Jane concluded: “I’d advise anyone who wants a career change to come to Bradford College. I’ve told so many people to do the Social Work course here – its changed my life for the better!”
Jane Parson’s mum Alison flew in from France to attend her daughter’s graduation ceremony. Beaming with delight as she spoke on behalf of the family, Alison said: “We’re all incredibly excited and very, very proud of Jane. She has worked very hard - and it’s lovely to be here to celebrate in her success.”
Jane’s sister, Helen Thompson added: “It’s incredible. She’s gone through this course and come out at the other end, a professional woman – we’re so proud of her, it’s fantastic!”
Elaine Barrett is the Admission’s Tutor at Bradford College, commenting on how it felt to watch the students graduate, Elaine said: “It’s wonderful to see the people I have interviewed - and how they have progressed over the years, finally graduating in their caps and gowns and feeling very proud. It’s lovely to share in their wonderful achievements!”
Hard working graduate Lucy Skeldon studied BA (Hons) Special Make-up Effects and Artistry at Bradford College. Explaining before her graduation ceremony what prompted her to study at Bradford College, she said: “It has a reputation for being one of the best courses in the country for special effects.” Since graduating, Lucy has established herself as a freelance makeup artist – with her list of clients growing by the day.
Lucy added: “The course has provided me with all the skills I need to succeed.”
Mature student and father of seven, Ishtiaq Khan returned to education after 10 years. Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Ishtiaq said: “I feel I’ve accomplished something great!” Ishtiaq balanced the commitments of family life with study – taking it all in his stride to graduate with a first class honours degree in Accounting. Ishtiaq originally enrolled at Bradford College on a HND in Business and Finance, finishing the course with 16 distinctions.
Elaborating further, dedicated Ishtiaq said: “I had a good job working as a qualified chef, but wanted a career change – and thought it was now or never! I wanted to give my family a better life and working as a chef meant I was working unsociable hours, which took me away from my family. I decided to take the plunge and enrol on the Accounting course at Bradford College and I have never looked back!” Dedicated Ishtiaq added: “I’ve had a lot of support and encouragement from my tutors at Bradford College and in particular Roger Newman, who motivated and encouraged me to succeed and believe in myself.”
Ishtiaq reflected: “I’d advise anyone thinking of a career change to take a risk and pursue their dreams. It’s the things in life that we don’t do, that we regret. Believe in yourself and you will succeed!”
Thomas Dalton was thrilled to graduate from his (BA Hons) Graphic Design, Digital Media and Illustration course. When asked how it felt to have achieved his goals, Thomas remarked: “It’s a good feeling. It’s quite surreal really. I didn’t think I’d see the day. I feel very proud to be graduating today!”
Dedicated Course Tutor, Paul Holmes attended the Graduations Ceremonies, commenting on Thomas’ great achievement, Paul said: “Its been a great day and I’m really proud of all my students and Thomas has done very well.”
Michele Sutton, Bradford College Principal and Chief Executive, concluded: “We are very proud of our graduates and wish them every success in their future studies and careers. They are our ambassadors and we look forward to celebrating their invaluable contributions to the continued development of Bradford, the region and communities overseas.”
Graduation day undoubtedly occupies a unique place in the lives of every graduate, marking the successful completion of academic achievements. Wearing their academic gowns, graduates walked from the hall – the ceremony providing a glittering climax to academic life.