Graduation Press releaseThe outstanding achievements of over 135 students from University Centre St Helens were celebrated on Saturday 13th October 2018, when family, friends, academic staff and honoured guests, including the Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens, award-winning author and screenwriter, Frank Cottrell-Boyce and former controller of ITV daytime, Fiona Keenaghan, came together for the annual Graduation Ceremony.

Taking place in the heart of St Helens Town Centre, at St Helens Parish Church, not even Storm Callum could put a dampener on proceedings. The day began with the annual procession, as Parr Band and Valley Brass Band accompanied graduates to the church, bringing Saturday morning shoppers to a halt, as they stopped to applaud the students on their success.

Dr Jette Burford, CEO of SK College Group, opened proceedings with her annual address, before award-winning author and screenwriter; Frank Cottrell-Boyce was welcomed to the stage, offering thought-provoking, inspirational advice to the students. Frank, who is probably most celebrated for his role in creating the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games in 2012, congratulated students on their success before reminding all of the value of perseverance and the need to embrace change, whilst above all, remembering the importance of being kind to people.

Frank then presented students with their formal qualifications, with awards including BA honours and Foundation degrees, HNDs, HNCs and a wide variety of higher professional qualifications.

A second address, from St Helens born, multi-award winner and former Controller of Daytime TV for ITV, Fiona Keenaghan, provided further inspiration and motivation to the students, as Fiona encouraged students to reach for their goals and, speaking from her own experiences, to “never be limited by someone else’s imagination.”

A highlight of the ceremony, was an address by current St Helens Rotary Club President, Anne Ellis. Each year, St Helens Rotary Club show their support for University Centre St Helens by presenting the Rotary Club Award to a graduate who has demonstrated dedication and commitment in overcoming adversity, to obtain their qualification.

This year’s award was presented to Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Education and Training) (PGCE) graduate, Helena Denholm. During her time on the PGCE Helena’s life was turned upside down, when just weeks into her postgraduate studies, Helena’s mum was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer; a battle she sadly lost in April 2018. With an unfaltering commitment to her studies, when faced with the option of suspending her studies and returning the following year, despite her heartache and grief, Helena decided to take a three-week extension, granted due to her exceptional circumstances, where, often working on just a couple of hours sleep a night, she prepared and submitted a full dissertation, her teaching practice portfolio and a contemporary issues essay, in advance of the set deadline. Recognising her courage and determination, St Helens Rotary Club acknowledged Helena’s journey as not only commendable but absolutely inspirational.

To commemorate the 2018 Graduation Ceremony, University Centre St Helens alumna, Marie Carney, was commissioned to produce a limited edition print, with Marie’s artwork building upon the tradition and heritage associated with the Beecham’s building – home to University Centre St Helens, bringing a modern twist to a historic design.

The day concluded with a canapé reception back at University Centre St Helens. Guests were entertained by saxophone player, Sophia, whilst catering and hospitality students from St Helens College, were given the invaluable experience of providing service at a busy, high level event.

Along with excellent industry links University Centre St Helens boasts partnerships with validating universities across the region including, The University of Chester, The University of Central Lancashire, Liverpool John Moores University and new for 2019 entry, The University of Bolton.

Those who graduated on Saturday, placed University Centre St Helens 4% above the national average, for overall student satisfaction, in the National Student Survey (NSS) of 2018.

Those inspired by this year’s graduates, considering a career change or looking for career progression, can find out more about University Centre St Helens by visiting the Open Day on 21st November 2018. Taking place at the main, Town Centre Campus (WA10 1PP), the Open Day runs from 5.00pm – 7.00pm and provides a great opportunity to meet the lecturers, tour the campus, view the facilities and find out more about student fees and funding. Reserve your place here.

Graduation 2018