An evening of celebration was enjoyed by Nelson and Colne College’s University Centre 2018 graduates as they were joined by family, friends, employers and staff to mark the special occasion.

Held at the Fence Gate, the event had all the glamour of a VIP event with a red carpet, canapés and drinks reception, an opportunity for students to have professionally taken photographs and, of course, the chance to wear a cap and gown to receive their richly deserved awards.

Qualities of commitment, hard work and perseverance were recognised on the night in front of a platform party which included Nelson and College’s Senior Leadership Team and representatives from the University of Cumbria and the University of Huddersfield.

Qualifications awarded on the night included the Certificate and Professional Graduate Certificate in Education, Professional Graduate Certificate in Education, Higher National Certificates in Computing and Systems Development and Manufacturing Engineering, Higher National Diplomas in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering, and Higher Level Professional Awards. A series of special awards were also handed out to those students who had excelled, whether in achievement, endeavour of overcoming adversity, by Vice Principal Alison Rushton.

The evening, which saw Deputy Principal David Rothwell as the Master of Ceremonies, also included opening and closing words by Principal Amanda Melton and a performance from professional tenor Roberto García López and his wife Joanna Porter. A heart-warming account of career progression was also given by University Centre graduate Carmela Manta, who is now Curriculum Leader of GCSE and Functional Skills English and Maths at NCC, having achieved her PGCE in 2016.

One of those graduating in front of his family was Bailey Marsden, 22, who achieved the HND in Manufacturing Engineering. Bailey, who works at VEKA in Burnley said: “It’s a great feeling to graduate. All the work has been worth it. It’s been an adventure, and it has been hard work, but I’ve succeeded.

“In terms of learning, the course content has been spot on. It’s developed me as a person, but without a doubt the qualification will also stand me in good stead for the future, particularly if I want to progress into a management role. It will definitely be of benefit to me for better jobs and those that require higher qualifications.”

Zoe Preston was also graduating after successfully completing her PGCE through the University of Huddersfield, and she also received a special award for achievement.

Zoe, who teaches Sport and Exercise Sciences and the Burnley FC Shadow Youth Team programme at Nelson and Colne College, said: “It’s a really good, celebratory occasion and I feel fantastic to be graduating. I really enjoyed my PGCE and my teachers were incredibly supportive throughout it – I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Director of Higher Education Steve Wright said: “The Graduation Ceremony was a lovely, memorable occasion and I’m pleased so many of the students who have worked so hard to achieve their qualifications were able to attend and graduate.

“Nelson and Colne College’s University Centre has continued to expand and grow following its successful launch a little over 18 months ago – and in that time it has been brilliant to see increasing numbers of adult learners taking the decision to upskill for career progression through a wide variety of flexible, local and affordable university level qualifications.

“We are very proud of our outstanding reputation for academic excellence, and our commitment to supporting the economy with a strong pool of talent. We are thrilled that our University Centre has helped in strengthening and developing relationships with employers to meet a growing local need for a skilled workforce.

“We hope the qualifications students’ received on the night are keys to successful futures for both individuals and employers in and around Pendle.”

Staff from Nelson and Colne College’s University Centre will be available to speak to at an Adult Information and Advice event on Thursday 10 January at Nelson and Colne Colne College. The event is suitable for anybody looking to enhance their career prospects, get back into education after a break, or who are simply looking for a change of direction.

Expert tutors will be on hand to speak to about the wide range of courses available, and there will also be the chance to view NCC’s first-class facilities, find out about finance options and loans, explore course progression and career options and discover our links with universities and industry.

In the meantime, more information is available by contacting the NCC Admissions Team on 01282 440272 or visiting