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THE BIGGEST-ever crop of University Campus Oldham (UCO) students have celebrated their successes at an inspirational graduation ceremony.

Boasting 288 new alumni, these graduates formed a sea of caps, gaps and hoods alongside proud friends and family members at the Queen Elizabeth Hall*.

Most had either studied through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic – or seen their original graduation ceremonies postponed – before finally getting to join the ‘Class of 2022’.

Each student was greeted with rapturous applause as they strode onto the stage to officially accomplish their goals at Higher National Certificate/Diploma, Foundation Degree, full Honours Degree and Postgraduate levels.

They are just the latest in a pipeline of thousands of talented local students who have realised their academic ambitions at UCO since 2005 – with many more to follow.

Alun Francis OBE, Oldham College Principal and Chief Executive, said: “This event is about celebrating people who have done things differently.”

“They might have enrolled at UCO because the conventional route of going away to study a residential course at university didn’t work for them – or they needed to do things a bit later in life, or wanted a smaller environment with extra support that is based locally.

“It’s Oldham College’s essential mission to support people and businesses who want new opportunities and choice and UCO excels at offering an alternative route to obtain higher skills, knowledge and improving your prospects.

“Every time someone does that and finds a better job, they and their families will have a better life. All these success stories are students who earned their degrees through hard work and dedication and that contributes to improving the wider prospects of this borough.”

The Graduation Ceremony capped a fantastic year for UCO in which its National Students Survey results saw it ranked top across Greater Manchester for Overall Satisfaction**. UCO’s score of 89 per cent rated higher than all other regional FE colleges – and is 12.5 per cent above the HE sector average.

Amongst the learners graduating were Ian Kenworthy – who won the prestigious Association of College’s ‘Higher Education Student of the Year’ award for 2012/22.

Three Honorary Fellowships were also awarded at this ceremony to: Professor Richard Jones for services supporting education, skills, business innovation and the economy in Oldham; Donna McLaughlin for services to healthcare skills, education and business partnerships, and the wider economy of Oldham; and Professor Andrew Westwood for services to skills and the economy in Oldham through his central contribution to the Oldham Economic Review.

UCO has been Oldham College’s Higher Education provision since 2012. It partners with UK universities and industry leaders to deliver a range of courses to progress into meaningful employment including the University of Huddersfield, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Central Lancashire, Pearson, the Open University and more.

UCO is holding an Open Evening event on Wednesday, November 2 where learners can visit the University Way campus, view facilities and meet their expert lecturers and staff. Any interested can pre-register online now at or drop in any time between 4 and 7pm on that day.

* The UCO Graduation Ceremony took place on Friday, October 21, 2022.

** More information about UCO’s National Student Survey Results for 22 can be viewed using this link.