College finds its spark at Higher Education Graduation Ceremony

Successful learners from across Cheshire celebrated their achievements at Cheshire College – South & West’s Higher Education Graduation Ceremony on 13th November at Chester Cathedral.

The ceremony celebrated the success of more than 70 learners who have studied at the College’s Crewe, Ellesmere Port and Chester campuses.

Dhesi, Principal and Chief Executive at Cheshire College – South & West who opened the evening, said:  ‘’I am delighted to welcome our graduates and their families, friends and employers to this prestigious event at Chester Cathedral.

“All our courses are dedicated to ensuring that our learners leave us with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to make the next step, so we are always delighted to see them moving forward in their careers. Whether this means progressing to higher level qualifications, starting their own business, or entering their chosen career, we are extremely proud of all our learners’ achievements.

‘’On behalf of everyone at Cheshire College – South & West, I wish you every success in your careers.’’

Keynote speaker for the event was social entrepreneur, Michelle Shavdia, founder of Find Your Spark Limited. Michelle has a BSc (Hons) Degree in Psychology from Warwick University and an MSc (Dist.) in Coaching Psychology from the University of East London as well as eight years’ experience of coaching, mentoring and delivering inspiring talks to young people.

Michelle is passionate about supporting young people to reach their full potential. Michelle commented: ‘’Confidence comes through doing something you have never done before not from reading about it in a book or magazine or watching it on YouTube or Instagram, actually doing it.  Therefore, take regular leaps of faith into the unknown and step outside of your comfort zone as with uncertainty comes new experiences, opportunities and confidence.

‘’So many people fear failure but the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.  Rather than fear failure or fear making mistakes, think what can I learn from it or what is life trying to teach me here as there is a lesson in everything.  It really is a case of ‘Learn to fail or fail to learn’.

‘’To end, know that ‘The opposite of success is failure only if you choose to disregard the lessons you have learnt along the way’ so don’t let the fear of failure ever put you off doing something.  And bear in mind that if it doesn’t go to plan and you don’t get what you want, the Dalai Lama said, ‘sometimes not getting what you want is a remarkable stroke of luck!’  Good luck in all that you endeavour to do and congratulations once again for graduating tonight!’’

Learners graduating have studied a range of different Higher Education qualifications including Foundation Degrees in subjects such as ICT, Travel and Tourism and Public Services; as well as professional qualifications such as AAT Diploma in Accounting, CIPD Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Management and CMI Diploma in Leadership and Management.

Dr Chris Haslam, Senior Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic, Recruitment, Quality and the Student Experience) University of Chester, presented this years’ Student of the Year Award, which was awarded to Adele Pollard, who graduated with BTEC Higher National Diploma in Travel & Tourism Management Level 5. After receiving her award, Adele was invited to give this year’s vote of thanks.

Adele said: ‘’Let me start with one of my favourite quotes, one that really resonates with me and one that is displayed at the Ellesmere Port campus “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”. Some of you here this evening may have realised this during high school, sixth form or at college, when considering your futures. But for myself it was in 2015 when I decided after spending many years bringing up my children, to return to education.’’ 

She continued: ‘’Before we continue on our life journey, we want to take this opportunity to thank those who have helped us achieve this milestone in our lives. Over the past couple of years, we have all been supported by a team of dedicated teachers, and with their wealth of experience and knowledge, they have provided us with the foundations in our various fields of study, and for this we owe them a debt of gratitude.

‘’Cheshire College – South & West has given us an education, and it is our responsibility to continue our journeys and to be able to apply the skills and knowledge learnt when faced with new situations and experiences.’’

Our Higher Education and Professional courses enable people of all ages and backgrounds to gain qualifications from Level 4 to Level 7. For further information on our range of courses, including Access to Higher Education and Teaching and Education qualifications, please visit our new website at


Adele Pollard – Student of the Year 2018
Cheshire College – South & West Higher Education Ceremony at Chester Cathedral