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Exeter College Celebrates as Class of 2023 Triumphantly Graduates 

On Friday 20 October, over 250 graduates from Exeter College proudly processed to Exeter Cathedral in an important rite of passage as they completed their degree at Exeter College. Students graduated from a wide range of programmes including Manufacturing Engineering, Early Childhood Studies, Coaching and Fitness, the AAT Professional Diploma in Accounting and Management and Leadership. 

Exeter College is proud to run its Higher Education in partnership with four universities and two awarding bodies. This year, the University of Exeter, Kingston University, University of Plymouth, and Plymouth Marjon University, were all rated as Gold in the teaching excellence framework (TEF). Exeter, Plymouth and Kingston join a club of just 11% of HE providers to score triple gold. This commitment to excellence is passed on through our own teaching and learning and student experience which Higher Education students benefit from. 

Higher Education at the College has had an exceptional year. The College reshaped and renewed its offer, with a focus on Higher Technical Education and became the first college in England to have a course kite marked as meeting the higher technical standard. 

John Laramy CBE, Principal and Chief Executive at Exeter College said; 

“This graduation ceremony is a significant milestone for our Higher Education students, being able to celebrate their success in the historic setting of Exeter Cathedral makes this an absolute highlight of our academic year.   

“The dedication and hard work required to achieve a higher education qualification, often while working, means that today marks a huge accomplishment. We are incredibly proud of all their achievements, and we wish them all the best for their future endeavours.” 

This year’s guest of honour was College alumni, Ben Page, Chief Executive of Ipsos. Ben completed his A Levels at Exeter College, then graduated from Oxford University in 1986. A frequent writer and speaker on trends, leadership and performance management, Ben has directed thousands of surveys examining consumer trends and citizen behaviour.  

Speaking about graduation, Ben said;   

“It was great to see how Exeter College had developed since I studied there in the 1980s – it’s a different world.  

“I was very impressed by both the breadth and range of what is now on offer for students and business – and its strong partnerships with other local institutions and impact on the local economy, as well as on social mobility across the South West.”  

This year’s Exeter College Award was awarded to Hazel Robson who has just graduated from the FdA in Early Childhood Studies. This award goes to the person who embodies what it is to be a higher education student at Exeter College. Outstanding achievements, overcoming hardship, resilience, and being proactive in supporting peers are all qualities that Hazel has shown during her time with the College. 

Her tutor at Exeter College, Claire Tully, said; 

“Hazel takes her studies very seriously and has juggled her time very well as a mature student, looking after her family and working part time in an early years setting. She has demonstrated a resilient mindset and although there have been times of struggle, she has worked hard to overcome these. She is passionate about the care and wellbeing of young children and indeed of early years professionals too.” 

Nicola Hunter and Emma Jarvis studied the HNC in Building Services. Emma Jarvis has now progressed onto a degree at Bristol University and then hopes to do a Masters Degree in Building Services. She said; 

“It’s a relief to graduate, it was a long journey but it’s good to finish it. Meeting other people in the industry was nice, we’ve got contacts now to help us in the future.” 

Nicola added; 

“I’ve gone onto Level 5 in Operations Management and going into Health and Safety and will probably do Level 6 next. We’ve had great teachers, really supportive, I would highly recommend it.” 

Stewart Mead studied the Level 4 Apprenticeship in Associate Project Management. He is an Engineering Project Manager for Premier Foods, mainly working at Ambrosia, where he has been for 19 years. Speaking about his College experience, he said; 

“I am already a project manager so it’s an extension of my role and I wanted the professional credentials for what I already do.  

“I would recommend it – you do have to dedicate a lot of time to it, it’s not always easy, but if your team is supportive, you will get through it. I have already applied a lot of the skills I have learnt.  

“I’m delighted to be at graduation today, all the hard work has paid off for this moment and I’m excited to take what I have learnt into the future. It’s been supportive from the College and my tutor kept me on track, all in all, it’s been a very good experience. 

“I also won ‘Most Inspiring’ at the Apprenticeship Awards which was a pretty big thing for me, I wasn’t expecting it, but it was the cherry on top for all the hard work.” 

Emma Collingwood studied the Diploma in Counselling after progressing from the Certificate in Counselling. She is now doing voluntary counselling for a local charity. 

“I think you think of the College as something for younger people, I didn’t realise how much there is for adults and the number of different courses and the standard of the courses that they offer. 

“It was brilliant, I couldn’t imagine that it would have such an impact. This really changes your life, especially with Counselling, everyone came out slightly differently to how we went in. The tutors were amazing, very different in how they work but it complimented each other. I feel lucky that we had them.” 

Find out more about Higher Technical Education at Exeter College at the next Open Event on Wednesday 22 November.