From education to employment

120 success stories at Durham Cathedral graduation ceremony

New business start-ups, career progression and university places. Just some of the positive
outcomes for the graduates of Bishop Auckland College’s higher education class of 2022.

On Thursday night, 120 HE students picked up their scrolls after years of study in subjects ranging
from engineering and business to teaching, counselling, sport, healthcare, music and performing arts.

They included Joling Nunn, who has set up her own counselling practice after graduating from her
BA (Hons) Degree in Integrative Counselling Practice.

The 38-year-old, from Newton Aycliffe, chose to study counselling after she benefited from sessions with a counsellor herself after her brother Cody took his own life in 2010. She completed all levels from one to six, culminating in the Open University-accredited degree.

The mum-of-two said: “I work part-time as a funeral service arranger for John Meynell, a Dignity
branch, and see my private practice clients on the other days. I can manage my time around the
boys’ school hours and, once I feel confident enough, I will leave the funeral role to pursue my
counselling practice full-time.”

After 35 years with the same employer, Neil Rowley has prepared himself for a potential leap into
management for the first time after completing a leadership programme with the college.

The 52-year-old has been employed by Darchem Engineering in Stockton-on-Tees since his sheet
metal worker apprenticeship back in 1987. He has just graduated with a Level 5 Diploma in
Management and Leadership.

Neil, of Darlington, said: “Having been a Team Leader for a number of years, I have looked for
opportunities for training during that time. The course looked like the perfect opportunity to do some
training and gain further qualifications if I wish to progress with my career.

“It helped me improve my understanding in areas where I had very little experience. I am undecided
whether to go into management as yet. However, if that is the decision I take then this course has
given me a good start to do that.”

And creating designs with distinction has led to a place at the Northern School of Art for talented
textile artist Stacie Guest. The 20-year-old recently started her BA (Hons) degree in Textiles &
Surface Design there after passing her Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Art and Design at the
college with a distinction.

Stacie, from Shildon, had previously secured a triple distinction in her Level 3 and described her time
at Bishop Auckland College as “a wonderful experience”.

She said: “The college was a place I felt comfortable at and where I was encouraged as an artist to
create my own style. It was a wonderful experience in which I met many incredible artists with different
styles that inspired me every day. Being on this course allowed me to grow and not only understand
myself as an artist, but also as a person.”

The guest speaker at the ceremony was the college’s former Access to Education student Kim Nielsen,
who is now a successful solicitor specialising in civil litigation and employment law.

She told the graduates of her educational and career journey, which included regional managerial
positions in retail and an aborted plan to run a cake shop before returning to education at the college
ten years ago.

Kim, who qualified in 2019 with Hewitts Solicitors in Bishop Auckland, said: “Signing up for the access
course was the best decision I made. It was such a challenge managing work, life, home and the
course workload but I fell in love with learning.

“The support and encouragement of the lecturers was boundless; however the friendships I made with
peers and the support and encouragement from them was immeasurable. I made friends for life during
my time at the college.”

Principal and Chief Executive of Bishop Auckland College Natalie Davison-Terranova paid tribute to
the dedication of the HE tutors and praised the graduates for their hard work.

She said: “I cannot emphasise enough how you must all feel very proud of your achievements; you must revel in the knowledge that you have already achieved immense success and that you will, undoubtedly, go on to achieve much more in the future.

“When you achieve something brilliant – as all of you here tonight have – then you must really hold on
to that achievement, and remember how extraordinary and powerful you are, as that will carry you
through some of life’s difficult moments.”

For information about HE courses at the college visit

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