Hundreds of students at West Suffolk College celebrated their success at a ceremony at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.
More than 55 awards were presented during the college’s Celebration of Achievement on Monday night as students were joined by family and employers for the annual event.
Staff and college supporters also attended the gala dinner where students from all curriculums were recognised.
Dr Nikos Savvas, college principal, praised the students for their ‘hard work, resilience, commitment and enthusiasm’.
He said: “Thank you also to all our staff, without whom achievement wouldn’t happen. A special thank you also goes to the parents, partners and guardians who stand by our students.”
Dr Savvas added that he was he was ‘delighted’ the ceremony had been held in the ‘amazing’ cathedral which was transformed by tables replacing the traditional church pews for one night only.
The evening included entertainment from the college’s Conservatoire East with guests also enjoying a gala dinner courtesy of catering and hospitality students.
Ray Cawston, managing director of principal event sponsor Cecil and Larter, said: “On behalf of all the corporate sponsors here, I would like to reinforce the link that exists between the commercial world here in West Suffolk and the college and its students.
“I would like to congratulate the college on the work it does for the local community and to stress its continued importance going forward.”
Among the awards Terry Trotter was named Stand Out Student of the Year and Robert MacKenzie was Stand Out Apprentice of the Year as well as Outstanding Apprentice of the Year for Hospitality and Catering.
Robert, of Beck Row, is on the Professional Cookery Intermediate Apprentices course and combines his studies with an apprenticeship at the Walnut Tree pub, in Worlington. He said he was ‘delighted and stunned’ by his win. “It has been a nice balance as I think an apprenticeship is a great way to learn about the catering industry,” Robert said.
Course tutor Cara Neal paid tribute paid tribute to the way Robert overcame self-confidence issues - hailing his progression as ‘remarkable and inspirational’. She said the apprenticeship gave him the vehicle to transform into a ‘confident and highly competent chef’.
Picking up the award for Outstanding Apprentice of the Year in Business and Management, Philomena Crawford was praised for being ‘highly motivated and ambitious’.
Philomena, of Bury, combined an Accounting Appenticeship Level 2 while working at Sarah Place Accountants, in Boldero Road.
She said: “The apprenticeship was a really good way to start my career and I have really enjoyed it.”
Course tutor Clare Oliver added: “Philomena is very motivated and pro-active in achieving, sitting quite a few exams ahead of the majority of the class due to her ability.
“She is well supported in the workplace and given the opportunity to learn new skills, practice and take on more responsibility.”
She was accompanied to the awards evening by Sarah Place who said Philomena is ‘hard working and conscientious’. She said Philomena was their first apprentice and they will look to have another again.
A career in visual effects is the aim of Bradley Cocksedge, who was named Oustanding Conservatoire East Student for media production.
His work at West Suffolk College has seen Bradley, of Stowmarket, earn a place at the University of Hertfordshire. Bradley, who studied for a UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production, said: “I’ve always been inspired to get involved in visual effects and the tutors at the college have been massively supportive of me.”
Course tutor Ben Pryke said: “Since starting the creative media course Bradley quickly began producing work of an exceptional standard.
“He has been commissioned for various projects due to the fact he is dependable, reliable and exceptionally good at producing entertaining productions. His dedication, level head and natural talent means Bradley is already forming a successful career in the film industry.”