Cheers all round for Class of 2019

We were delighted to host our twenty third Higher Education Awards Ceremony on Saturday 19th October at our Pencoed Campus, with almost 200 Higher Education (HE) learners acknowledged across 2 ceremonies.

Graduates celebrated with their family and friends with a canapé reception in between the ceremonies, and were conferred by representatives from the University of South Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Each ceremony included a musical interlude performed by the College’s talented learners from the department of Performing Arts. The students sang a beautiful piece from the BAFTA award winning film, ‘A Star Is Born’ and two hits from the Broadway musical ‘Pippin’.

The College was delighted to award its 2019 Honorary Fellowships to two individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to Bridgend and the wider community. Our morning ceremony recognised David Roberts CBE for his outstanding contribution to disabled sport. Local man David is an eleven-time Paralympic gold medalist in swimming and is one of Great Britain’s most successful Paralympians.

Having first represented Wales in Glasgow in 1993, David has since represented Great Britain in several major competitions such as the Athens, Sydney and Beijing Paralympics, Commonwealth Games and IPC World Swimming Championships, winning a whole host of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. David has also set and held onto world record times in his illustrious sporting career.

His achievements at the 2000 and 2004 Paralympics, alongside his previous successes for Great Britain, earned him an MBE for his services to disabled sport in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours. He was later appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year’s Honours. In winning his 11th gold, David equalled Baroness Grey-Thompson’s record as being Wales’ and Britain’s most successful Paralympian.

Our afternoon ceremony recognised Claire Birkenshaw for her services to education and her advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community. Claire began her secondary school teaching in 1991 and has taught in a number of schools across the city of Hull during a 26 year period, culminating in the role of Principal at an Alternative Provision Academy.

Claire is now a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University where she contributes to the Childhood Studies Undergraduate course. She lectures on various aspects of childhood but is particularly concerned with LGBTQ+ inclusion in education and mental health and wellbeing. Claire has used her knowledge and experience to interact with, across various sectors, numerous organisations both nationally and internationally including Bridgend College.

Claire has been a school governor, a trustee of a LGBTQ+ youth charity and is currently an advisory panel member for the Centre for LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Education at the Carnegie School of Education (Leeds Beckett University). Finally, she is an associate of ‘Independent Thinking’, a patron for ‘Think2Speak’ and is contracted to write a book with Professor Jonathan Glazzard on LGBTQ+ inclusion in schools.

Bridgend College was thrilled to award both David and Claire Honorary Fellows during the ceremonies.

Amongst many achievements this year, out of all the FE Colleges in the UK, Bridgend College was crowned ‘FE College of the Year’ in the TES Awards 2019.  This is a well deserved recognition of the passion and commitment of our fantastic staff, amazing governors and talented learners.

Congratulations Class of 2019/ Llongyfarchiadau Dosbarth 2019!