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Double Celebration as Borough Honours Two Years of Burnley College University Courses’ Graduates

BCUC graduation

The community of Burnley came together to celebrate two years of success as Burnley College University Courses held a double graduation ceremony.

University leaders, civic dignitaries, graduates and their families processed through the campus ahead of the two ceremonies, sharing their pride and joy with students, staff and guests alike after last year’s ceremony was postponed due to the pandemic.

The graduation ceremonies took place on Thursday 9 September on the College’s £100 million Princess Way Campus where degree level courses are delivered in an exclusive contemporary learning space for undergraduates with access to industry-standard workshops, laboratories and sporting facilities.

They included a champagne reception, procession and speeches from specially invited guests, including Lauren Holly, who was graduating herself and receiving an award. Holly shared her experience of working in a family run company and the challenges faced by women in business.

The ceremony was postponed last year due to the continuing Covid-19 crisis. This year the decision was taken to celebrate both sets of Graduates on the same day and to stage the ceremonies with the safety of Graduates, their guests and staff at the forefront.

The Dean of Burnley College University Courses, Nina Parkin says it was an incredible day:

“It is always an honour to lead the procession of our Graduates; to recognise the hard work, dedication and talent of everyone who studies here at Burnley College University Courses.

“To do it twice in one day was just a reminder of just how special these graduation classes are. Studying to degree level requires a high level of passion and determination – and over the last two years it’s been tougher still.

“But to see the stream of caps and gowns as our Graduates proudly process through the College reassures me that the future of education in Burnley is stronger than it’s ever been.”

At the ceremonies six special awards were presented for outstanding achievements:

The Academic Excellence Award recognised outstanding performance and achievement of a student.

The winner for the Class of 2020 was Natalie Mahon, from Radcliffe, who achieved first class in all the modules of her BA (Hons) in Community & Theatre Performance. She also received high praise for her organisation and dedication plus the rapport she developed with the young people she teaches.

The winner for the Class of 2021 was Michael Talbot, from Manchester. Michael impressed everyone with his exceptional work on his HND in Furniture Making which earned him a distinction. He’s now studying for his Furniture Design degree at Rycotewood Furniture Centre in Oxford.

The Dissertation Award recognised the student with the highest standard of exposition, wide reaching research and who made a noteworthy contribution to their subject.

From the Class of 2020, Zulaikha Tahseen’s constant drive for perfection singled her out as the obvious winner. For her Consultancy Project on her BA (Hons) Business and Management Course she achieved 97% in a “near faultless” submission and was picked out by name by the external moderator for her professionalism. She is now studying her PGCE so she can share her passion for the subject with new generations.

Lauren Holly from Cliviger was honoured with this award for the Class of 2021. In her project completed as part of her Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship she specifically addressed the barriers women can face in leadership roles. Her extensive study included interviews with a varied selection of business leaders and yielded multiple insightful and useful results. 

The Employer Project Award recognises the student who has produced a project which made the most impactful contribution to a business.

Emily Williamson’s Consultancy Project on helping her employer “break in to the American market” was so detailed and well researched it was singled out for praise by the moderator. Her passion, dedication and commitment to outstanding research meant she achieved a First Class Honours on her BA (Hons) Business & Management course. For the Class of 2021, Amy Fairfield from Burnley achieved a high distinction grade for her project completed as part of her BA (Hons) Professional Practice – working with Children and Young People. She investigated the impact of poverty on the development of young children.