College students celebrate at HE Awards

19th October 2017 1:56pm - Return to press releases

College students celebrate at HE Awards

 The ceremony was Derek Branton’s last as Principal, as he is due to retire at the end of this year.  The staff, graduates and guests greeted him warmly with a round of applause as he stood to make his last address.  He said, “I was delighted to see the Priory Church so full of graduates and their families coming together to celebrate their success. The ceremony is not only a chance to congratulate students, but also an opportunity to acknowledge the support our students have received from partners, parents, grandparents, children, siblings, friends and employers.”

 “Colleges like ours give greater community access to higher education study which is particularly important in rurally dispersed communities like the East Riding. The mixed modes of attendance we offer mean that many of our students can continue in full-time employment while others can arrange their child care around a timetable which is sympathetic to family responsibilities.  Given their other commitments our students work very hard indeed to achieve their higher level qualifications.Higher education will be vital to future prosperity, particularly as we prepare for a post-Brexit world which may see us much more self-reliant on our home grown higher skilled professionals.”

Derek Branton

This year’s graduates included the first cohort of HNC Construction students.  The course was developed to help meet regional demand from employers for higher level skills in the industry.  Alex Sheldon, head of construction at the College said, “I am extremely proud of what the students have achieved.  They all completed the HNC whilst holding down full-time jobs and their dedication and commitment was admirable.”

Amongst the graduates celebrating was Philip Ebert and his family, all from Bridlington.  Philip studied at the College’s Bridlington campus and achieved a Foundation Degree in Computing.  His father, Hans Ebert said, “For lots of reasons too numerous to mention we are all very proud of Philip, particularly as he was awarded his degree with distinction, but we would have been proud of him regardless, for lots of reasons!”

 The ceremony was tinged with sadness as Christine Quinn collected a posthumous award on behalf of her daughter Sharon Chaperlin who sadly died earlier this year.  Sharon was awarded a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Policy and Practice, which she completed following her Foundation degree. 

Christine said, “It was a lovely ceremony and reminded me of last year when Sharon was here graduating with her foundation degree.  I enjoyed it and was glad to be able to collect Sharon’s award.  I was also moved by the kind words from Mark Keen, the head of her subject.”

Sharon’s step-dad Gerald Quinn added, “We really appreciated the remarks from Mark and were overwhelmed by the response from the other graduates and guests who gave a round of applause as Christine collected Sharon’s degree.”


Student of the Year was Callum Ewing, who achieved a first class honours degree in Coaching and Health Sciences.  Callum aged 28, from Goole completed his degree whilst employed full-time as a manager at a leisure centre. The External Examiner praised the work that had gone in to his dissertation in particular, which scored 82%.

Callum said, “I’d recommend the path I took to get my degree to anyone who thinks they may have left it too late.  I managed to work, study and get the best result possible.  I don’t know whether I could have done that at 18!”

No one travelled further for the event than Zaavit Cohen-Almagor’s parents who flew in from Israel to see her collect her Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling.  Zaavit’s mother Bertha Skladman said, “There are no words to express how proud we are of her.  To see her complete her studies and reach her goal of starting a second career as a counsellor is very emotional.  I thank God we were able to come and see our daughter take part in the ceremony.”

 Zaavit, whose husband and youngest son also attended the ceremony lives in Beverley with her husband and children and studied at the College’s Beverley campus. 

 Higher education at East Riding College is built on partnerships with the University of Hull, the University of Huddersfield and national validating bodies.

The College runs an expanding range of degrees, foundation degrees and higher national certificates and diplomas in a wide variety of subjects, as well as a Masters in Education and various teacher training courses.  The HE Awards ceremony also celebrates the success of Access to Higher Education Diploma students.  Access courses prepare people to step up to higher education level and are especially appropriate for people who have been out of education for some time.