Petroc graduates celebrate incredible achievements at annual ceremony

Over 100 Petroc Higher Education students received their qualifications at the college’s annual Graduation this weekend (7th October).

In total 105 graduates, who studied on HNC, Certificate in Education, CIPD, Foundation Degree or BA Honours Degree programmes, attended the ceremony at St. Peter’s Church, Barnstaple, alongside many local dignitaries  – after the time-honoured procession through the town centre led by town crier Roy Goodwin.

Click here to see a full gallery from the day's celebrations. 

Shiree Stainer was awarded Best Overall Student, by Barnstaple Mayor Julie Hunt, after graduating with a first-class degree. She gave the graduation’s Vote of Thanks where she praised the partnership between Petroc and Plymouth University.

“Single mothers are less likely to achieve any qualifications. I have raised my 13-year-old son single-handedly, but I had to change and ask for help when I needed it,” explained Shiree. “To the tutors – what an amazing job you have done. We are here today because of you.

“Myself and my son have an exciting future together; without Petroc and Plymouth this would not have been possible. It has the potential to change lives.”

Representing Plymouth University was Professor Jerry Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise, who also recognised the importance of the collaboration.

“University of Plymouth is particularly proud of its work with Petroc,” he told the audience. “It allows both institutions to do what neither could do on their own. The graduates before us add to the rich mixture of talent, ideals and understanding and all of those things are crucial to underpin the partnership.”

Petroc Principal and CEO Diane Dimond was full of praise for the Class of 2017, including half of the Foundation Degree students who achieved either a Distinction or a Merit grade, and two-thirds of the BA Honours students who attained a First or a 2:1.

In her Principal’s Address, she said: “It’s so important for the town to see you all processing through the streets of Barnstaple in your gowns today. You really are role models for the community.”

Former student Shaun Cooper, who went on to become Director of Bray Leino, returned as Guest Speaker to instil the importance of resilience in this year’s graduates. 

“Resilience is not something you are born with,” he explained. “Rather than letting failure or misfortune determine your career or life, you can find a way, any way, your own personal way to succeed.”

In total, twelve prizes were given out to Petroc’s most successful students. One recipient was Rebecca Stephens, who won the prize for Foundation Degree Health & Social Care.

She said: “I’m really pleased that the opportunity to study was available here. If I couldn’t have done it within the local area, I wouldn’t have done it at all.”

To find out more about studying on a Higher Education programme at Petroc, visit