I’m overwhelmed! Utterly, utterly proud and humbled by the achievements of some of my previous students. They’ve done something that many of them thought they would never, ever be able to do. Something that many of their parents didn’t think was possible. Something perhaps which many of their teachers thought they would never do. Something which many of their partners didn’t see them doing. But this something was something they really wanted. And, they worked hard for this. This something was made possible by the ‘widening participation’ agenda. This something clearly demonstrates the importance of FE Access courses. This is something which HE in FE does very, very well. Something which changes lives.
This something is a Bachelor’s degree. A second chance for many. A third chance for some.
Many of these graduates are parents themselves, work part-time, caring for their own parents and come from homes where English is not the preferred/spoken language. We must facilitate an equality of opportunity for them to blossom and flourish in an education system which may have failed them in the past. I know that the experiences these individuals have had during the last 3 years has changed them, and will go on changing their lives. For the majority of them, they are the first people in their families to get a degree. Many of their children and grandchildren may now have aspirations they might not have had before. We should be proud of all of these things.
As they were preparing to parade through the centre of Oldham to their graduation ceremony, I had a brief conversation with someone sat beside me. To sum up, she asked what was going on and when I told her, said ‘that’s great because it’s usually behind closed doors.’ And she’s spot on. So, well done University Campus Oldham for sharing the event with the people of Oldham, helping to increase the transparency around such events and get people talking about them.
One student shared that her partner had taken a day off from work to attend today. His only day off for 20 years! Obviously he was a very proud man.
If you want to get a flavour of the event, just take a peek at these:
And finally…. I just feel so very, very proud of them all today. They did great!