For the first time, students from Northbrook College and Brighton MET College joined those from Chichester, Brinsbury and Crawley Colleges at Chichester Cathedral for a day of celebration.
Elissa Norford, who studied a BA (Hons) in Prop Making & Special Effects at Northbrook College, summed up the day as being ‘absolutely fantastic’. She said: “The whole vibe is just so amazing – everyone’s just so happy and it’s so great to be here.
“The highlights of my course were probably the people there and the tutors, the facilities were incredible – just everything you could have asked for.
“I’d study it again, I’ve had just the best three years of my life. I’ve learnt so much, had so much fun, meeting new people and I’ve really grown as a person and just had the best time.”
The grey skies of November cleared, bringing a bright and crisp winter’s day at the cathedral, which hosted three ceremonies – each recognising and celebrating the hard work and achievements of students of all ages and each packed with family members, staff and guests who were keen to celebrate this special occasion.
For Charlotte Mitchell, who completed a Level 7 CIPD qualification in Strategic People Management at Chichester College, it was an extra special day having overcome a cancer battle while studying and working full-time. She said: “I never thought I’d be achieving this, so it feels fantastic.
“The course was really good, although it was intense – I studied part-time and it was a lot to do, while working full-time and I was also having cancer treatment at the same time. I’m fine now, all clear, but this is obviously a really special graduation for me now.
“It was a lot to take on, but it was also great. All of the lecturers were really supportive, they were brilliant.”
Graduating students at the cathedral had completed a range of degrees, including higher national certificates and diplomas (HNCs and HNDs), top-up degrees and professional qualifications in subjects ranging from animal management to art, fashion to computing, and business to early years studies.
Syed Ahmed studied a level 5 Higher National Diploma at Crawley College. He added: “It was mixed emotion for me. I was nervous, happy and excited. I was a bit emotional as well, to finally come here and wear this esteemed gown and throw the hat – all the things every student wants to achieve in their life.
“My course was really well designed and the teachers were really helpful, it was really immersive and we learnt a lot. It was very inclusive.”
It was the first CCG (Chichester College Group) graduation ceremony to include all colleges since the two college groups – CCG and the former GB MET – merged in August 2022.
Vicki Illingworth, Executive Principal of CCG, oversaw the occasion. She said: “For the first time, we came together to celebrate our new graduates from higher level and professional courses from across the college group – and we are honoured to be able to pay tribute to their achievements at Chichester Cathedral, a beautiful location which befits the occasion.
“It is always our privilege to be able to see so many students, on different journeys reflecting the diversity of our college communities, come together and celebrate with each other.
“And it has been a wonderful day, celebrating our Class of 2023 as they complete this chapter in their journeys and embark on their next steps – whether that’s further study or employment, they are on their way to achieving their own personal ambitions.
“We join them in looking forward to discovering what their futures hold, and hearing about the achievements that I am sure will come their way.
“I share the views of our fantastic staff team across the group when I wish them the very best, and offer our congratulations to them all.”