Students from the Faculty of Supported Learning have gathered at our Coatbridge Campus to attend the first Celebration of Achievement event.
More than 120 students were joined by family, friends and supporters at the 101 Park Street conference venue to celebrate their successes in completing their courses.
It also marked the first time that Supported Learning students from across the College’s campuses in Coatbridge, Cumbernauld and Motherwell have met in one venue.
The day featured four ceremonies dedicated to showcasing the accomplishments of students and the different routes that they are taking to achieve their potential.
After enjoying refreshments in the atrium, guests took their seats in the auditorium where they were welcomed by Head of Faculty David McShane.
He quoted the famous words of ancient military leader Hannibal – more recently adopted by Chelsea FC’s manager Antonio Conte – to describe the students’ many triumphs.
He said: “Hannibal and Conte both said ‘I shall either find a way or make one’ and that absolutely sums up what all of us in the Faculty believe and it sums up the spirit of everybody in this room.
“Each and every one of our students have found their way or made their way to get to where they are now.
“It is an honour and a privilege to present these awards and we couldn’t be more proud.
“If students can put the same resolve that they’ve shown to us into all the other journeys that they will make in life, then they will do just fine.”
Each class group was then invited on to the stage where their lecturer shared anecdotes from their time at the College before students were presented with a certificate.
Lecturer Cathy Taylor, who is retiring from the Coatbridge Campus after 25 years, said: “You could see from the students’ faces how much it means to them to be recognised.
“They are the people I enjoy teaching most; people who are quite severely impaired in some ways and yet wonderful in other ways. It’s about bringing out the best in them.
“I’ll miss the students so much. They’re just amazing.”
The courses represented included the Coalyard project, Raising Your Potential, Engage 28, Towards Independence, Skills for Life, Steps to Work, and Life Skills, Enterprise & Employability.
Pat O’Donnell from East Kilbride attended the first ceremony to see daughter Briege, 23, pick up a certificate for completing the Coalyard: Steps to Work programme, which is based in Larkhall.
She said: “She’s done really well with the course. She has been able to get from our home in East Kilbride to Motherwell and to Larkhall totally unassisted.
“Some days that has meant three buses and she has done that. Briege’s confidence has improved a lot and has really helped her social skills.
“And it’s lovely for us to be here today to put faces to all the names of her classmates.”
One student from each course was also nominated by their peers to receive a John Mather Award, presented by Margaret McKay of the charitable trust.
Student Ryan McFarlane, who studies Life Skills, Enterprise and Employability at the Motherwell Campus, picked up a John Mather Award at the second ceremony.
The 17-year-old from Hamilton, who was joined by dad Steve, said: “It was a surprise to me to win this today – it feels really good and I got a big adrenalin rush when I went up to the stage to collect it.”
Student Stuart Florence was made a ‘Saint’ by the Students’ Association and was presented with a trophy for being runner-up in the Sparqs ‘College Course Rep of the Year’ award in March.
And Shannon Collins was rewarded with a Fitbit from the College’s Learner Engagement team for completing the ‘So far, so good’ survey.
Curriculum and Quality Leader Vivienne Pollock said: “I am very proud of all the students today and it is great to see everyone so glamorous for the occasion.
“The students have been fantastic in their class groups despite coming from various walks of life and I am delighted that most of them have further progression routes planned.”
A student at our Cumbernauld Campus, Sharon Currie, 36, from Stepps, said: “I have enjoyed every minute on the Enterprise and Employability course at New College Lanarkshire and would recommend it to anyone looking for a confidence boost to continue studies or go into employment.
“Before the course I faced some personal challenges, and struggled with the idea of coming to college. But since starting I have never looked back, and never will.
“Starting off as a class with low confidence, we have all made friends for life, and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for us all.”
New College Lanarkshire offers a number of programmes for students with additional support needs, which build confidence, independence and employability skills.
It was recently recognised as a Centre of Excellence by curriculum development organisation ASDAN.
Read more about Supported Learning courses here: