STUDENTS from Peter Symonds College Adult and Higher Education Division (PSC AHED) celebrated achieving their degrees at a ceremony at the Hospital of St Cross.

There were 178 students who attended the ceremony, collecting awards from seven degree subjects in either a foundation degree or a full honours degree.

Some students should have graduated in 2019 but their ceremony was delayed due to the pandemic.

The majority of these graduates returned to education as mature students after a long period out of education, opting to upskill, retrain or find a new direction in life.

During their time at PSC AHED these students have conquered the many challenges of studying as an adult.

Director of Adult and Higher Education, Dom Thompson, said: “To study part-time, balancing work and family life, is hard enough but to do this through a global pandemic with isolation, lock-downs and home schooling is phenomenal.

“The teaching team, rightly so, are incredibly proud of what the students have achieved - as am I.

“To see so many smiling students and proud, sometimes tearful, supporters demonstrated the importance that Higher Education in a Further Education setting has.

“For many of these students it is a second chance; sometimes a career change or a time to come back to education after raising a family. What these students have achieved, and will go on to achieve in their new careers, is fantastic.”

Graduates Dawn Forshaw and Rachel Trott both celebrated achieving Distinctions in their Early Years Foundation Degrees. Dawn studied while working full time as a nursery manager, spending one full day a week in classes and studying on weekends.

Dawn said: “I’d always wanted a degree and wanted to challenge myself and add some focus to my life. It’s given me a great deal of self-confidence and self-belief and I plan to go on to do a BA, with aspirations to a Masters and a role as an Early Years lecturer.

“It’s the best decision I’ve made and I’ve gained lifelong skills.”

Rachel, who works as an Early Years Practitioner, said: “I did my Early Years Educator Level 3 course at AHED so already knew the team and felt I already had support in place. They are wonderful for adult education and make you feel welcome and able.

“Most people think a degree is out of their reach, especially if they didn’t do A Levels or similar, but AHED go at your pace, build you up slowly and give you all the skills to do it. To anyone thinking about taking that step I’d say just do it!”