Students graduated yesterday (Friday 5) from Shrewsbury Colleges Group, when they collected a range of degree-level awards in a prestigious ceremony at St Chad’s Church in Shrewsbury.
Led by the Mayor of Shrewsbury, Councillor Phil Gillam, a line of 95 mortar boards and graduation gowns made its way from Shrewsbury Market Square to St Chad’s Church in the annual Shrewsbury College graduation parade.
The College has been teaching higher education for over 20 years and numbers are steadily increasing with 235 students graduating overall this year and 95 collecting awards as part of the ceremony.
Vice Principal Chris Pemberton was the Master of Ceremonies at the event and welcomed the ceremonial procession and audience, made up of family and specially invited VIPS. Principal of Shrewsbury Colleges Group James Staniforth gave a formal address and special guest speaker, Stuart Bramwell, a former student and Film and Media Composer gave a keynote address.
Throughout the event there were various performances from A Level Music, Vocational Performing Arts and HE Music Production students; followed by Mr Staniforth and Mr Bramwell presenting the awards.
Addressing the graduating students, Principal, James Staniforth, said: “Higher education courses in colleges, particularly in HE cold spots like Shropshire, are an essential part of the education system. Today we recognise our 2019 graduates. Some students are returning to education as part of retraining or training for employment; some are in work but developing higher level skills and knowledge; some are students progressing from their FE courses. In all cases, local, high quality, affordable higher education is critical to their story. And the additional knowledge and skills these graduates bring to our town and our county are critical, whether it is in Counselling or Engineering, Education or IT, Art or Sport.
“Today is important as a celebration of the wonderful achievements of our students. We are so proud of each and every one of you. Your graduation is special individually, but also collectively. Our procession today reminds our community that higher education thrives in Shrewsbury. All of our wonderful graduates have greater opportunities as a result of their learning, have added to their own individual skills and knowledge, and can also serve as advocates for the power of local, affordable, high quality higher education.”
Stuart Bramwell, 21, originally from Shrewsbury, was invited to speak at the ceremony as a former student of the College, having studied, Music, Geography and Psychology A Levels in 2016. He is now at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland completing a prestigious joint-principle Composition and Violin Music degree.
In 2016, Stuart was shortlisted as a finalist in the Royal Opera House Fanfare Competition, in which he wrote the new 'Audience Call' theme for the Royal Opera House. Through 2017, Stuart worked as assistant for Hollywood Film Composer Mark Portmann, whose credits include Mission: Impossible Fallout and First Man. In 2018, Stuart won the coveted 'Best Music' award at 'Global Shorts International Film Competition' - Los Angeles, for his soundtrack to 'Pariah'. He has also received mentorship from Paul Chihara, whose former students include James Horner [Titanic, Avatar] and Joseph Trapanese [The Greatest Showman, Robin Hood].
He said: “It’s a great privilege to be here today, back in my home town representing SCG; whom I owe much of my success.
Many of the graduates will walk out of this church with their brand-new qualifications paired with a goal or aim. People want to invent something, work somewhere, achieve something – this is all great. For those without a clear path, don’t panic and don’t rush. Many people I knew that were sure of their career path at 18 are having mid-life crises now. Mine feels like its a couple weeks away!”
Helen Fellows, HE Lead at the College said: “We have been running higher education courses at the College for over 20 years and enrol over 250 students each year to study with us at a higher level.
Our graduation ceremony is a wonderful opportunity for students and staff to celebrate their successes, particularly as we are seeing our higher level achievement rates rise year on year. Student satisfaction is high because we have small class sizes, we are affordable and now have a fantastic HE Centre at London Road - a purposefully designed building for our HE learners, which includes social areas, private study spaces, a computer suite and classrooms.”
There is still time to apply to study with us this September either as an adult returning to learning after a break in study or as a young person not sure whether you want to go away to University, we are offering a range of courses from September including Business, Teaching, Sports and Engineering.”
To find out more about Higher Education courses at Shrewsbury Colleges Group call 01743 342333