Hartlepool College of Further Education has celebrated the graduation of its higher education engineering students at its first ever graduation day. More than 120 students, at two ceremonies, donned caps and gowns and were presented with their awards by principal, Darren Hankey, in front of family and friends.
Hankey said: "We're here today at the graduation ceremony for our students who have followed higher education programs with us. Ultimately, it means the world to me to see our graduates getting their robes on today and graduating.
"Many of the people here will be studying on a part time basis. Juggling work and family commitments. It makes their achievements and success even more noteworthy. For many of the people graduating today they will be the first in their families to come to event like this and I feel that is a significant milestone for their families.
"I'm extremely proud of our students for their hard work. I'm also pleased to work with wonderful staff that have helped them achieve this goal."
The ceremony focused on students who had been studying Higher National Certificates (HNC), Higher National Diplomas (HND) BA(Hons) and PGCE pathways at the College through HCFE's higher education partner Teesside University.
Shaun Hope, Assistant Principal for Curriculum Standards at Hartlepool College of Further Education, said: "It's great to see the students graduating from their qualifications.
"Not many people in Hartlepool know that we provide higher education qualifications at the College through Teesside University.
"Today we've seen our students who have progressed through those HNCs and HNDs in areas of engineering and building services as well as foundation degrees and full degrees in Education and Supporting Teaching and Learning and so on.
"It's absolutely brilliant to see them smiling, bringing their proud families along and moving on into the world of work after working very hard here."
Kimberley Henry, who is graduating from an HND in Aerospace Engineering said: "It means a lot to me because it means I can now progress in my career.
"I've just got an apprenticeship at Babcock International based at RAF Leeming and I'll now be working on military aircraft which is a great opportunity.
"Eventually I hope to progress onto the graduate program and complete my journey in education."
Hartlepool College of Further Education offer a variety of higher education courses including HNC/HND, foundation degree and degree programmes, in a variety of subjects including construction, public services, fabrication and welding, aerospace and aeronautical engineering and sport coaching.