Over 300 graduating students and guests assembled in the spectacular setting of the Argyllshire Gathering Halls, Oban, last Friday for Argyll College UHI’s annual graduation ceremony.
New Principal Martin Jones welcome the students and their guests, and he, UHI Vice Principal Gary Campbell, College Chairman Andrew Campbell and the academic staff were led into the ceremony by Oban piper Emma Hill.
Guest speaker at the event was David Duke MBE, the founder and Chief Executive of Street Soccer Scotland, which is a non-profit social enterprise that uses football to help create positive change in the lives of socially disadvantaged adults and young people. He is also Global Ambassador for the Homeless World Cup organisation.
More recently, David set up Change Centre Scotland, a social enterprise whose vision is aimed at tackling homelessness by creating personal development and self-management centres. He was awarded an MBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List.
David gave an inspirational address, recounting his own story and the importance of his own college education, an HNC in community work, in part, for helping him turn his life around.
The Schools Link Student of the Year 2019 went to former Hermitage Academy student Holly Ellwood. The award is contested by the Schools Link Winners from each of the college’s 10 Learning Centres. Holly achieved National 4 and National 5 awards in Childcare with Argyll College as part of the college’s schools link programme. She was nominated for the award by her tutor Otiliya Lennox, who said "When Holly started out she had no idea what she wanted to do or achieve in life, she was not too keen on school subjects. She proved to be an exemplary student who produced a high standard of assessments and independent work."
Oban student Kerry Anne Wallace received the Mary MacKenzie Memorial Cup for Hairdressing. Kerry Ann is a hardworking mum of two who, in her tutor’s words, "put 100% into her college work. She’s a great team worker.’" Kerry Anne has been a student at the Oban centre for 3 years and now that she has completed her SVQ level 3 in Hairdressing, she is employed in the salon where she undertook her work placement.
Arran Based part-time National 5 Gaelic students Janet Bray and Helen How received the Principal Award for their outstanding exam performance: both achieved upper A’s in their final exam and were the overall top-scoring students in the college this year.
Victoria Johnston from Lochgilphead was named Further Education Student of the Year. Vicky returned to education after a 20-year gap to undertake an access course in Business, Administration and Computing and received no less than 3 nominations for this award. Her tutors said "Vicky actively sought feedback on her work and took on board any suggestions to improve. Vicky’s work was always handed in before deadlines and was very supportive of fellow students. Facing some serious health issues, the last year has not always been easy for her, however, Vicky continues to be focussed, determined and she is an inspiration."
Campbeltown student Karen Robertson was named Higher Education Student of the Year. HNC Administration and IT student Karen, worked hard to balance several roles as a mum, part-time work and health issues of her own and in her immediate family, doing so with fortitude, determination, humour and a positive attitude. Karen has worked tirelessly to complete her HNC and her tutors say "Her bravery and courage is an example to us all. She is truly an inspiration."
Karen was also voted ‘Most Inspiring Student’ by the Highlands and Islands Student Association in Argyll and received this award at Friday’s ceremony from HISA Vice President Natasha Morgan.
Oban based tutor Rachael Hathaway picked up the Highlands and Islands Student Award for Most Engaging Video Conference Tutor. This award is voted for by students throughout the highlands and islands and recognises tutors who demonstrate exceptional use of video-conferencing technology to enhance the student experience. Rachael said "I’m delighted to receive this accolade, as there are so many inspiring tutors in the University. Argyll College is one of the most prolific exponents of Video Conference in the university partnership so it’s fantastic for us to be recognised with this award."
Argyll College UHI has also recently been shortlisted in the national College