The ‘Class of 2023’ came together at the Queen Elizabeth Hall to mark their personal academic success stories in studies completed earlier this year.
Each of the new alumni – decorated in a blaze of colours, caps and gowns – were hailed with applause as they were conferred a range of awards at Higher National Certificate/Diplomas, Foundation Degrees, full Honours Degrees, and postgraduate levels.
These 203 students are the latest to join a talent bank of thousands that have realised their ambitions at UCO, the higher education faculty of Oldham College.
Susan Holden, UCO Assistant Principal for Higher Education and Higher Skills, said: “This was a fantastic occasion that will live long in the memories of the ‘Class of 2023’, their family and friends.
“Our staff are immensely proud of all our graduates because they know these have all been special journeys where each success has been the culmination of personal challenges and dedication.
“UCO offers a different route to success on students’ doorsteps in a close-knit community that can give them all the flexibility and support they need to succeed. The most important yardstick of what we do is our students’ feedback, and this year’s group have confirmed just how much they value that unique environment we provide.”
This was the first UCO graduation overseen by Simon Jordan who became Oldham College’s Principal and Chief Executive in August.
He said: “I was blown away by this event – it was a fantastic celebration of the students’ determination to fulfil their potential, and the support network that helps to make that happen.”
“Each time one of our students improves their skills, qualification and finds a better job, they will also have a better life. That means they will also be good citizens who contribute positively to the local economy and communities. That’s why everyone in Oldham – from students to businesses and residents – can benefit from UCO.”
The ceremony also saw UCO award an honorary fellowship to Professor Lorna Unwin OBE FAcSS – an Oldham College governor – for her services to education, plus a certificate of recognition to local teenage fundraiser Ibrahim Yousaf BEM for his outstanding contribution to the local community.
This milestone event also capped a year of significant achievements for UCO as an institution.
Last month it was awarded TEF ‘Silver’ in the latest assessment of teaching and learning excellence at all higher education providers across England – and that came just weeks after the National Student Survey 2023 saw UCO rated above the sector average across all themed categories.