Newcastle College recognised the achievements of its degree students earlier this month, as learners graduated in six ceremonies, held across two days at Newcastle Civic Centre. The celebrations saw over 1,300 graduates receive their degrees this year.
Guest speakers including Sir John Hall, High Sherriff of Tyne and Wear Paul Callaghan and Chief Executive of Sunderland Culture Keith Merrin, all offered words of inspiration to the new generation of talent.
Awards were handed out to students with outstanding achievements, including many who have excelled outside of their course with competition wins, awards and business successes. Others were recognised for their academic and course achievements, including impressive projects, dissertations and work placements.
Newcastle College currently offers more than 70 degree courses as part of its higher education provision, from Foundation level to Masters, across 18 industries. More than 80% of its graduates are from the North East and are expected to enter employment in the region, supporting LEP employment targets in areas including digital technology, health, engineering and education. It’s estimated that former Newcastle College students contribute over £180 million in added income to the North East’s economy each year.
This year, the College sees graduates of its own honours and Masters degrees for the first time, since its parent company NCG was awarded Taught Degree Awarding Powers in 2016. Without the need for validation from a University, the College now develops and delivers its own degrees, working closely with local employers to ensure industry needs and skills gaps are met within course curricula. Its ultimate aim is to bridge regional skills gaps and support its degree students into employment within the region.
The graduation ceremonies mark the end of a successful 12 months for Newcastle College’s higher education offering. In June of last year, it was awarded the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Silver Award, a government initiative which recognises excellence in teaching at higher education level.
At the beginning of 2018, it was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education, in recognition of its outstanding commitment to vocational training through its Transport Academy. The Prize is the highest major honour that can be awarded to a UK college.
Now, following an application to the Department for Education, the College will launch Newcastle College University Centre, designed as a real alternative to University. Offering higher education within a local college environment, the University Centre will offer its students professional work-based study opportunities, industry-linked activities and intensive teaching environments.
Principal Tony Lewin commented: “Graduation is always a momentous occasion and for me it’s one of the most exciting days, to watch our students succeed and prepare to embark on the next steps of their careers.
“This year is particularly significant given that students are graduating from our own honours and Masters degrees for the first time.
“We are very proud of our higher education provision and the success rate of our degree students. It is a lot bigger than many people may realise and the launch of the University Centre now establishes it as a real alternative to traditional universities.
“I’m excited about what the future holds for both Newcastle College and this year’s graduates. We wish them the best of luck in their future career and am confident that their experience here has helped to set them up to achieve everything they wish to in life.”
You can view a gallery of photos from all of the graduation ceremonies on our Facebook page here.