Graduation Review 2016

Argyll College UHI Graduation


More than 100 graduating students and their guests assembled in the spectacular setting of the Argyllshire Gathering Halls, Oban, last Friday for Argyll College UHI’s annual graduation ceremony. This is the college’s largest ceremony to date with over 56 different qualifications being conferred including the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) being awarded for the first time in the institution’s history.

Guest speaker, Nicholas Ferguson CBE, Chairman of Saville’s plc and former Chairman of Sky plc, presented Further Education Awards, and Professor Clive Mulholland, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands presented 75 Higher Education Awards.

College Principal, Fraser Durie said ‘Rarely do so many of our students get the opportunity to come together in one place, given that so many study at a distance from both their tutors and their peers, so it’s extremely gratifying that so many are attending today’s event. It is satisfying to see that our student numbers continue to rise year on year, but most importantly, we are also seeing an increase in levels of student satisfaction as measured in our annual student surveys. I am also gratified that Argyll College UHI can count itself amongst the top two colleges in Scotland for number of further education students entering the workforce.

Nicholas Ferguson CBESharyn McGuinness, an SVQ3 Health and Social Care student from Rothesay, Isle of Bute, picked up the Argyll College UHI Student of the Year Award. Sharyn, a Social services support assistant worker on Bute, had her studies interrupted in late 2014 when she was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumour. Sharyn underwent surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy, she then endured a long and painful rehabilitation process during which she had to learn to speak, walk and write again.

Sharyn took the major decision to resume her studies in August 2015 and succeeded in overcoming the odds to complete her SVQ3 in November 2015. Sharyn was awarded the prize because of her remarkable resilience, motivation and commitment to complete her qualification which the judges felt was truly inspirational, these sentiments were clearly echoed by the assembled audience who gave Sharyn’s speech a standing ovation.

Luke and ScottThere were a number of other prizes bestowed on the day with Dunoon Student, Scott Anderson, receiving the Highlands and Islands Students Association (HISA) Award for Best Class Representative, presented by HISA President Luke Humberstone.

His tutor described Scott as ‘a natural and effective spokesperson for the class, committed to getting students to engage and showing them they have a valued voice with senior management. ’ Scott has been elected HISA Depute President for Argyll College UHI for 2016-17.

Tobermory High School Student, Ruth Darling was awarded Skills for Work Student of the Year, and Oban Hairdresser Karma MacLean received the Mary MacKenzie Memorial Cup for Hairdressing. Islay based Business student Sarah Mottram received Further Education Student of the Year. The judges felt that as a full time carer with a range of family responsibilities, Sarah’s ability to juggle these demands with full-time study, combined with her impeccable attendance and academic record made her a very worthy recipient of the award.

Local girl Jamie-Lee Ogivlie gave an entertaining and moving account of the Student Experience, describing her initial struggle adjusting to college life. ‘’ I wasn’t an ideal student, and my first year was hard for me; it was also hard for my tutors!’’ Jamie-lee is now in her fourth year at Argyll College UHI studying and SVQ Level 3 in Hairdressing and has recently been voted  Class Representative by her fellow students.

A number of college staff also received recognition of enhanced teaching qualifications and Chairman of the college, Andrew Campbell said, ‘’We are fortunate to be supported by many dedicated staff who combine their busy teaching schedules with a commitment to continuing professional development, in recognising staff who have gained Teaching Qualification for Further Education (TQFE), Teaching Practice in Scotland’s Colleges PDA, and BA in Professional Development (BAPD).  I thank all our staff for their hard work and dedication in ensuring that our students fulfil their potential and get every opportunity to learn, achieve and advance.’’