UNIVERSITY Centre Somerset’s annual graduation ceremonies saw graduands don their gowns and mortarboards and fill the seats of St Mary’s Church in Bridgwater and The Temple Methodist Church in Taunton.

More than 450 students completed university-level qualifications at University Centre Somerset in 2019, in subjects including creative arts, engineering, animal management and health and social care.

A total of 900 guests attended across both venues including staff, parents, VIPs and governors, all keen to celebrate the success of the students.

Lord David Triesman addressed the Bridgwater congregation with anecdotes of his career; ranging from his role as chair of the Football Association and his time as an MP to his current role as Group Director at the Salamanca Group.

At the Taunton ceremony, Elouise Abbott, media make-up alumni student, returned as guest speaker.

She recalled her experiences as a student and how it opened up a world of opportunities for her including joining the animal and creature prosthetics team on the Star Wars movies.

Two students were awarded the Student of the Year Prize.

Victoria Tompkins, who studied the Certificate in Education, displayed an ‘exceptionally high level of determination’ to help her succeed on her course, overcoming countless obstacles during her second year and is now a fully qualified teacher.

Joseph Arkell, who graduated from the BA Honours Degree in graphic media and communication, worked tirelessly as a Student Rep alongside his studies to ensure the learning experience of his peers was always a positive one.

Andy Berry, Principal and chief executive of Bridgwater & Taunton College, said, “The University Centre Somerset Graduation is a highlight of our academic year.

“It is an opportunity for students to celebrate and share their hard work and success with families, friends and lecturers.”