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Newcastle College University Centre celebrates 10,000th graduate

Graduates hat and degree

NEWCASTLE College University Centre (NCUC), marked its contribution to the region as it celebrated its 10,000thgraduate in 10 years.

NCUC is the North East’s leading higher education provider in a further education setting and is the first and only further education college to receive taught degree awarding powers. The achievement was celebrated at its ‘10 in 10’ event on Thursday 30thMarch. It brought together past graduates, educators and the region’s business leaders, to recognise the milestone.

Red carpets were rolled out for guests who were hosted from 2pm to 7.30pm which included a visit to Newcastle College’s Aviation Academy, at Newcastle Airport. Guests were able to see some demonstrations from students, including a seven-seater Beechcraft Premier 1 business jet. The jet was installed following NCUC’s receipt of £2 million from the Office for Students (OfS) to invest in STEM with four key areas of focus: aviation, energy, digital and engineering. The celebration finished with guests treated to a five-course dinner at Newcastle College’s award-winning Chefs’ Academy.

Following speeches from Liz Bromley, CEO at college group NCG, and Jon Ridley, Deputy Principal of Newcastle College and University Centre and the executive lead for HE across NCG, former student Sophie Hastings took to the stage to talk about her student experience.

Sophie said:

“It was amazing to come back and talk about my time at NCUC and why I chose to study there. Other universities couldn’t offer me what NCUC could. Alongside my degree, I gained work-ready qualifications such as a Level 3 in Personal Training certificate, a Level 2 Gym Instructing certificate, as well as certificates in sports massage and first aid. When I graduated, it set me apart from other applicants and those added extras made me more employable.”

Sophie highlighted the staff who supported her as she managed her own health conditions, adding:

“My lecturers really went above and beyond for me. They all knew me by name, my motivations and my challenges and would check in on me, make adjustments and offer guidance. From the start of my degree, throughout the lockdowns and up until I graduated, they were amazing.”

Since graduating, Sophie has used her skills and knowledge to launch her own fitness businesses. She also works with people with Multiple Sclerosis through the MS Research and Relief Fund at Benmar House in Morpeth and the Elderberries program set up by The Alnwick Garden Trust which aims to combat the impact of loneliness and isolation for people over 55 living in Northumberland.

Jon Ridley commented:

“This is an important event for Newcastle College, the University Centre and the North East. Our growth over the last decade, the funding that we’ve received and the successes of our graduates showcases the transformational capabilities of higher education within a further education setting, and the vital role it plays in helping develop a workforce of the future, with the confidence and capability to thrive and succeed in our region and beyond.”

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