Record-breaking graduation for local college

Student president Brian Cruikshank presents flowers to Mrs Herriot with guest speaker Kenny Herriot and college principal Paul Sherrington.
Student president Brian Cruikshank presents flowers to Mrs Herriot with guest speaker Kenny Herriot and college principal Paul Sherrington.

The 19th graduation ceremony at Banff and Buchan College was held on Saturday, October 5, at the Fraserburgh campus.

The graduation recognises the achievements of students who have successfully completed their studies in a wide range of Higher National Certificate and Diploma courses at the College and at the College outreach centres in academic session 2012/13.  Almost 100 graduates attended the event this year from all three training sectors of the College, Business and the Arts, Engineering Technology and Renewables and Services Industries.

Principal Paul Sherrington opened the proceedings and said: “Collectively you are the most successful year we have had for some time. I am delighted to say that 79% of everyone who started on day one achieved their full qualification – a huge improvement on last year’s equivalent figure of 65%.

“Furthermore our results for students who started on full time non advanced courses have risen from 62% to 72%. We are delighted with these improvements. They are the result of a major college wide effort and everyone from the classroom to the boardroom has played their part. And this year has started really well with full time enrolments having increased by 10%.

“In November we are joining forces with Aberdeen College so in the future students here in Fraserburgh will graduate from the new North East Scotland College, a bigger stronger and more influential college serving the entire north east.”

He concluded by saying: “Because of your hard work you have now got the means to succeed. Because we live in Scotland’s economic powerhouse you have the opportunity to succeed. All you need is the motivation; the thing that we know employers value more than anything else.”

The guest speaker at this year’s ceremony was wheelchair athlete and hand cyclist, Kenny Herriot. Kenny, from Aberdeen, provided a unique insight into how he has overcome catastrophic odds to become a world class athlete.

There was also an extra-special graduation at his year’s ceremony with a local mother and son graduating from college on the same day.

Pamela Wilson and her son Mark Angus, 21, graduated with an HND in Social Sciences and an HNC Engineering Practice certification, respectively.

Pamela comments: “I felt l needed a personal challenge and going back to education as a mature student was certainly that! I found that much had changed in all aspects of learning - I had to learn how to learn again. Although I found this extremely difficult sometimes, I also found it to be very rewarding, with the highs making up for the lows.”

Pamela intends to obtain her degree through the Open University.

Mark achieved his HNC through a day release courses. He is currently a 5th year apprentice with Score UK based in Peterhead.

Chair of the Board, Lynne Macfarlan, closed the ceremony. Entertainment prior to the ceremony was provided by local all-girl choir AuRora. Choir leader Liz Grant, from Rora, together with the 15 strong choir sang an assortment of celebratory songs.

The prize winners at the ceremony were as follows:

SQA Local College Award:

Antanina Rauktiene.

Score Prize Winners:

Clair Keith;

Mariana Rodrigues;

Tomas Rubezius;

Cameron Croll;

Steven Hadden;

Angie Otegui;

Anthony James;

Shane Sutherland.

Ede and Ravenscroft Winners:

Helen Nevens;

Julija Astasonoka;

Zuzana Strihavkova.

Aberdeen College Trophy:

Greg Ross.

Friends of Banff and Buchan:

Aleisha Ritchie;

Gail Davidson.