Pride of graduation confirms why further education is so important.

Julie Richards, principal of Chesterfield College.
Julie Richards, principal of Chesterfield College.

We recently held our graduation ceremony for students successfully completing university level courses at the college. It was a wonderful opportunity to not only celebrate all of the students’ hard work and achievements but also see just how proud their friends and families are of them, as indeed are we, writes Julie Richards, principal of Chesterfield College.

As a college, serving the needs of the community is at the heart of everything we do. The annual graduation ceremony is a perfect case in point. Graduates of different ages and from a huge range of backgrounds all celebrating the positive path that learning has put them on.

I spoke with several graduates who had returned to learning after a long absence, either through working or having a family, but who all wanted to follow their dream career path, had rediscovered a passion for learning, then progressing to higher education. Other graduates had progressed from full time education whilst others were studying for their qualification as part of their current job role.

Every graduate leaves us with the skills they need to follow the career path they want, a potentially life-changing moment for them and their families.

It confirmed to me just how important further education is to a community. So many people have benefitted from further education progressing them on to either higher education or their dream career goals. In this vein I was absolutely delighted to support the Association of Colleges national Colleges Week in October, promoting why it’s important to #loveourcolleges and why continuing reductions in funding threaten the opportunities local communities have.

Alongside our wonderful Performing Arts students, staff helped to produce a campaign song which received fantastic social media support from up and down the country, please do check it out on the college’s YouTube channel! Staff and students also met with Toby Perkins MP to help raise our funding concerns in parliament.

In order to keep providing our local community with the opportunities they deserve we will continue to keep campaigning wherever possible against the continued reduction in further education funding. Days like our graduation clearly demonstrate that there are countless examples in this town alone as to why we play such an important part in helping to change people’s lives.