The wait was more than worth it for Lakes College higher education students who enjoyed a grand graduation ceremony this week.
The graduation was the college’s first in person since 2019 due to Covid-19, and celebrated the achievements of students across academic disciplines including accounting, quality, business, sport, engineering, HR, education and nuclear, with qualifications ranging from Levels 4 to 7.
The impact of the pandemic meant that students from the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 were all invited to attend as their deserved reward for academic success.
The ceremony was held at Lakes College and the National College for Nuclear building on campus and was attended by distinguished guests including Sir Vince Cable, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Workington MP Mark Jenkinson, and Copeland’s elected mayor Mike Starkie.
Sir Vince Cable, who oversaw the launch of the National Colleges programme while Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, was the guest speaker for the evening.
Sir Vince said: “It was a wonderful occasion to see all of the graduates, who have made a very good career choice.
“What I was especially impressed with was the large number of women graduating in engineering courses, which has not always been the case.
“The National College for Nuclear here is the success story of the programme and it was great to be able to see what it is now producing.”
Samuel Douglas, who graduated with a foundation degree in civil engineering and asset management, was presented with the Endeavour Award for his hard work, support of his peers and representation of his fellow students.
He said: “The graduation was a nice way to round off the three years of my foundation degree, and gave me a lot of motivation going forward into my bachelor’s degree.
“It was a really well put together event and me and my family thoroughly enjoyed the whole evening.
“Thanks for everyone who was involved in the organisation of the whole thing and a big thanks to all the staff working on the night.”
The Academic Achievement Award was presented to Sophie McSherry, who has graduated with a foundation degree in civil engineering and asset management, for her ability to acquire high levels of knowledge and skills and apply them in the workplace.
Lauren Coulson, who graduated with a foundation degree in civil engineering and asset management, was this year’s graduate speaker and encouraged her fellow graduates to believe they can ‘change the world’.
The graduates, their guests and invited VIPs were treated to canapés before the ceremony and mouth-watering food following the graduation, all prepared and served by the college’s catering students.
Cameron Farish, who graduated with a Post Graduate Certificate of Education, said: “It was a lovely, professional evening.
Chris Nattress, principal at Lakes College, said: “We are immensely proud of the achievements of our graduates and it was a joy to celebrate their success together with families, friends and special guests at our graduation ceremony.
“I was particularly struck by the wide range of academic disciplines our students graduated from – a sign of the varied talent pool we are lucky to be able to draw from in West Cumbria.
“It was a special occasion and one which I hope will be remembered for a long time by those who attended.”