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Left to right: Christine, graduate of FdSc Applied Microbiology, Matt, graduate of HNC in Computing, Alexis, graduate of BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance (Top-Up)The outstanding achievements of over 180 students from University Centre St Helens were celebrated on Saturday 13th November 2021 at St Helens Parish Church, with family, friends, academic staff and honoured guests including the Mayor of St Helens, the Mayor of Knowsley and Motivational Speaker, Andy Grant.

Graduates from the class of 2020 and 2021 put on their caps and gowns before processing through the town centre led by the Parr Band, Valley Brass Band and Town Crier, bringing Saturday morning shoppers to a standstill.

Simon Pierce, CEO and Principal of SK College Group, opened proceedings with his address, before motivational speaker and published author, Andy Grant was welcomed to the stage to share his moving story and offer inspirational advice, which resulted in a standing ovation from the audience.

Picture of our Honoured Guest and Motivational Speaker, Andy Grant giving speechAndy, a former Royal Marine, who was severely injured by an IED that left him with life changing injuries during his service in Iraq and Afghanistan, told graduates: “As you enter the next stage of your life, try to remember life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”

Andy said: “It was a huge honour to be part of such a special day. People in education have been hit so hard over the last 18 months and to even play a little part in that and give some words of wisdom was again a huge honour.”

Another highlight of the ceremony was an address by current St Helens Rotary Club President, Paul Winstanley. Each year, St Helens Rotary Club present the Rotary Club Award to a graduate who has demonstrated dedication and commitment in overcoming adversity to obtain their qualification.

This year’s winner was Joanna Leech, who graduated from FdSc Applied Microbiology with a distinction. Joanna managed to find the time to study, alongside working full-time and juggling family life. Her determination and generosity towards others have been admirable.

Graduates processing through St Helens Town CentreSpecial recognition for outstanding achievements was also awarded to graduates; Ashutosh Neerunjun Mohun, Jessica Denson, Lucy Kelly, Priya Luxmee Murphy, William Hayes and Christine Moles.

The day concluded with a canapé reception back at University Centre St Helens, where catering and hospitality students from St Helens College’s award-winning Colours Restaurant, were given the invaluable experience of providing service at a busy, high-level event.

Those inspired by this year’s graduates, considering a career change, or looking for career progression can apply now for 2022 entry on a range of full and part-time degree courses, including flexible evening study. Visit our dedicated University Centre St Helens section.

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Graduation 2021