Over 700 City College graduates

More than 700 students will graduate today with degrees and other higher education qualifications from City College Norwich, which is holding its annual graduation ceremony in Norwich Cathedral.

More than 700 students will graduate today with degrees and other higher education qualifications from City College Norwich.

Two graduation ceremonies will be held in Norwich Cathedral to accommodate the sheer number of students and their guests.

The morning ceremony begins at 11.15 and the afternoon one at 2.30.

Guest speaker at the morning ceremony will be former home secretary Charles Clarke, who is MP for Norwich South, and at the afternoon session the speaker is Peter Wilson, chief executive of Norwich Theatre Royal.

College principal Dick Palmer said: "Today is a great occasion, as it always is in the college's calendar and in that of the city. For today, in the magnificent setting of Norwich Cathedral, hundreds of local people will graduate before their

families and friends and receive the qualifications they have worked so hard for. I want to congratulate each and every one of them on their achievement and also to thank our special guests, who have kindly agreed to be speakers at our ceremonies."

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This year's ceremony is a landmark one for City College as it signifies the end of one era and the start of a new one.

City College was a founder-member of the regional university partnership with Anglia Ruskin University in 1991.

However, this year, City College changes to become an associate college of UEA. There is a special ceremony to mark the change-over at 1pm in a marquee on the south lawn of Cathedral Close. Guests from Anglia Ruskin University and UEA will be there.

Mr Palmer said: "We wanted to say goodbye and thank you to Anglia Ruskin University in a fitting manner and to celebrate the fact that thousands of people in Norwich and Norfolk have achieved ARU degrees through this happy partnership in the past 15 years.

"We also want to begin our new relationship with UEA in the same vein.

"We believe that this new partnership will be profoundly beneficial for local people and the local economy as we work together to develop a new range of qualifications tied into people's career needs and the knowledge and skills requirements of employers."

This year's graduation will be the last to award students with Anglia Ruskin University degrees and the first to award UEA degrees.

Two foundation degrees developed in partnership by City College and UEA - in financial services and for teaching assistants - have already been established, and the first students from both programmes will graduate today.