Special college is growing

Students young and old and from all of walks of life will gather today to receive their degrees in a special ceremony in the town.Their achievements mark a significant turning point for the College of West Anglia (COWA) which is now working towards providing a university presence in the town.

Students young and old and from all of walks of life will gather today to receive their degrees in a special ceremony in the town.

Their achievements mark a significant turning point for the College of West Anglia (COWA) which is now working towards providing a university presence in the town.

This is the sixth annual graduation ceremony, and year on year the number of students applying for courses increases, along with all the success stories.

And with plans to build a brand new multi-million pound college campus by 2010, these are exciting times for staff and students as the COWA moves towards its goal of becoming among the largest education establishments in the eastern region.

There are also plans to develop a separate higher education building at the new campus, thanks to the stronger links now forged with the Anglia Ruskin University.

Alan Renwick, manager of the newly named University Centre at King's Lynn, said: “There has always been a little higher education at the college and over the last few years that has become more visual. The graduation ceremony in the town is also an opportunity to say to people look this is what we do.”

Most Read

The College of West Anglia is unique in comparison to a number of other higher education establishments as most of its students are mature.

There is also a large proportion of students who may not have gone into higher education had opportunities not been available locally.

Mr Renwick said the students taking degree courses at the college were using it as an opportunity of having a second chance at education.

Many were students who had come from access courses and then moved on to higher education courses, something many of them would not have thought possible.

He said: “For those who then start a degree with us this is life-changing for them.”

He said they were also a lot of women who had perhaps given up their careers to start a family and had now returned to the college to begin new ones.

He said the ages of the students would be from early 20s right through to their early 60s.

But he said the fact the students were mainly local, also benefit the local economy and helped to fill a gap in the shortage of skilled workers.

Through its work with the Anglia Ruskin University, the college is now expanding the number of degree and higher education courses it offers and this will continue to grow year on year.

It hopes it will begin to take on more 18 to 19-year-old students who may make the decision to study locally because of the expense of uprooting to a university further away.

More than 300 students have gained a higher education qualification this year, and around 140 are expected to attend the ceremony today, along with family and friends.

The students will receive their BAs, PGCEs, HNCs and HNDs in a range of subjects including construction, engineering, and management studies and computing courses.

The special day will begin at 12.30pm with a procession of dignitaries through King's Lynn town centre destined for St Nicholas Chapel. At the end of the ceremony the newly admitted graduates then join the procession.

The ceremony at the chapel will open with a speech by the chairman of the governors, Peter Dixon, and the mayor of King's Lynn and West Norfolk, Kathy Mellish.

Steven Bennett, the secretary and clerk of Anglia Ruskin University, will address the students and their families.

The diplomas and degrees will be presented to the students by the principal of the college, David Pomfret, and Mr Bennett, along with the appropriate head of faculty.

After the ceremony, staff and graduates will celebrate their success at a black-tie graduation ball at the Corn Exchange.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter