AWARD-winning radio broadcaster, Peter Allen handed out 330 graduate degrees to South Essex College students yesterday evening (20 October.)
The local born journalist presented scrolls alongside Principal and Chief Executive, Angela O’Donoghue at the Cliffs Pavilion ceremony.
Peter, who now works for BBC Radio 5 live, was also awarded an honorary degree from University Centre Southend entitled Doctor of the University.
Students graduated in a variety of disciplines including fashion design, sport studies, journalism and social work, with 31 students achieving a first class honours degree.
Peter delivered an passionate speech to the audience describing his career journey; he also gave the graduates a lot of great advice. He said: “Do something that you love to do. You’re going to work for the rest of your life and it’ll be tough if you hate your job.
“Learn how to stand out from the crowd. You need luck too, as a successful journalist I’ve had front row seats to some of the biggest events in the world. I’ve been incredibly lucky.”
Angela added: “This year we have seen lots of fantastic achievements from the class of 2015. Many of our graduates are already working in their chosen industry and going on to do great things.
“We are proud of all of our graduating students. They have faced the challenge of advanced higher level study and succeeded.”
Steve Lovell graduated with a 2:2 in Sport Studies after spending seven years studying at the College.
Steve, 24 from Southend, did not let his Asperger’s and dyspraxia stop him from following his educational dream. He started at the College’s Southend Campus on a Level 1 foundation course and worked his way up to a BSc (Hons) degree.
He said: “Dyspraxia is a form of developmental coordination disorder which affects motor coordination so a lot of people, including myself, thought sport might be too difficult for me, but it’s what I’ve always wanted to do.
“I would encourage anyone with a dream to go for it. The experience has changed my life completely.”
Alanah Smitten graduated with a 2:1 in Fashion Design and she’s already designing work wear outfits for one of the biggest employers in the country, the NHS.
Alanah, 21 from Benfleet, won a North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) competition to design an entire work wear collection for the staff at the Trust.
She said: “All the hard work definitely paid off. I can’t wait to see NHS staff wearing my creations. I learnt so much from the degree, like creative pattern cutting which is an excellent skill to have. The support I received was fantastic.”