Graduation culmination of hard work and dedication

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Students attending the Borders College have celebrated their achievements at a graduation ceremony – the highlight of their academic year.

At the ceremony in Kelso’s Springwood Hall, they were praised by principal Liz McIntyre.

She told the gathering of around 700, that it was a special day for those graduating, for their families and also for college staff.

The principal declared: “Success has come about through hard work and a huge amount of dedication on the part of each and every one of our graduates and congratulate them all on their achievements.”

She added; “I would also thank all the staff of the college whose dedication, enthusiasm and encouragement, have aided them in achieving their success and in making Borders College one of the most successful colleges in Scotland.”

This year 189 students graduated through the college and there were a number of special awards recognising outstanding achievements by students during the course of their time at the college

And an Honorary Fellowship was bestowed on Catherine Maxwell Stuart, the lady laird of Traquair.

Here are the special award winners and part of of what the college had to say about them ...

Best higher education student – Kirsty Fojcik from Hawick.

A dedicated and committed learner throughout her hairdressing studies, producing work to a very high standard as well as having exceptional client care skills. She has received many additional certificates for long hair design, cutting, colouring and Avant Grade work and was Student of the Year during each of her three years at the college. Amazingly positive attitude and always keen to help and guide others as well as keeping her own skills updated, moving with trends within the Hair and Beauty industry -an excellent role model to all learners. Has opened her own salon in Hawick and will pass on her skills to work placement students.

Best Further Education Student Award – Kaylee Brownlee from Galashiels

An outstanding student and on completing her NC in Administration and Tourism has now embarked on her first year of the HND Business programme. Going directly into work from school, Kaylee held down a full-time job and two part-time jobs to help support her family, including her two brothers and a sister. Although quickly promoted within her full-time role, was keen to progress her career into new areas and, with the support of her family – especially her dad, returned to education, whilst still managing to work part-time. Elected as a student representative and appointed as chair of the Business and Employability Faculty Council in September 2013 and undertook her duties to a very high standard, demonstrating very good leadership skills.

Exceptional Achievement Award – David Nicol from Swinton

Found it increasingly difficult to find full-time employment as a qualified carpet fitter, so he and his wife enrolled on a 10-week Prepare to Care Course which encouraged him to pursue a career in social care. After finishing the course, secured employment with the Community Integrated Care Service in Duns and successfully completed his Higher Social Care course before progressing to HNC level. Shone as an HNC student and his work with service users demonstrated an excellent skill level that has been positively commented upon by both college staff and his employers as well as gaining him an ‘A’ pass in his graded unit while keeping his family life ticking over as well as supporting and encouraging his wife and other classmates through their studies. His commitment to his own, and others, personal development is commended.

Superior Performance in a Work Place Award – Kyle Aitken from Galashiels

As part of his mandatory work placement for the HNC Administration and Information Technology course he was placed with the Scottish Borders Council’s human resources department one day per week, over a 12 week period when he demonstrated a keen interest in his work and always willing to complete any task. Good team player with a good range of skills and his supervisor described Kyle as a very confident and efficient colleague who asked questions when he needed to and often tried to solve problems using his own initiative and overall, a capable young man and an excellent help. Successfully completed his Higher National Certificate and has secured full-time employment as a clerical assistant within the human resources department of Scottish Borders Council.

Award for Creativity – Liam Murray from Hawick

Hugely successful time at college. A Student of the Year and achieved an A in his graded units in both years of his studies.

Came third in a national competition Dangerous Ideas to design a poster or leaflet to encourage revolutionary ideas in education and was commissioned to design items for the competition organiser’s marketing campaign. Won the tender to design a 140 page book Hidden Riches – a celebration of the Mining Institute of Scotland to be published this month. Built an excellent portfolio of work which has earned him a place on the third year of the Design and Digital Arts (Hons) course at Edinburgh Napier University.

Access to Learning Award – Thomas Morton from Peebles

Successful Skills for Learning and Work student chosen to be the class representative last year. This year voted chair of the Access Faculty Council by his peers due to his good job as the class rep last year showing excellent leadership skills in all classes. Passed all his assessments and led the way by taking an active part in their outward bound residential trip. Had a very successful work placement at Kingsmeadows Catering and gained summer employment with them as a result. Unanimously voted Student of the Year.

Citizenship Award – HNC Gamekeeping and Wildlife Management students

Students took up the challenge of participating in the Gamekeepers Welfare Trust’s national competition which raises funds for the trust as well as highlighting the work the trust undertakes locally and nationally. The group organised a sporting clay pigeon shoot and auction evening and contacted both local and national businesses to secure prizes. The response from businesses, gamekeepers affiliated to the college, friends and colleagues was fantastic. A total of 58 entrants shot in the event at Bisley of Braidwood near Selkirk and many non-shooting attendees snapped up the raffle tickets and bid at the auction, raising an amazing £2,000 for the charity. The students won the trust’s national competition and were presented with a day’s shooting for six in the Czech Republic.

Stuart Wilkie Memorial Trophy presented each year by the Wilkie family in memory of their son Stuart who was a motor vehicle student at the college – Corrie Aimable-Erskine from Innerleithen (presented by Mrs Wilkie)

First attended Borders College as a pupil on the schools plus programme where he showed a keen interest with motor vehicles. Achieved a place on the Level 1 full-time motor vehicle course and later gained an apprenticeship with the Innerleithen Garage. Spent the next three years working towards his Level Three Modern Apprentice award, achieving many distinctions. During his five years at the college he has been Student of the Year on four occasions and has shown dedication, drive and commitment.

Scottish Motor Trade’s Apprentice of the Year Award – Karl Kincaid from Duns

Joined college as a mature student with a lot of experience, but no qualifications. As a result of his experience and knowledge progressed straight into the second year of his apprenticeship course. Strongly self-directed in his learning, showing a great deal of commitment and drive in order to achieve his qualifications. Completed his Modern Apprentice Award within a two year period and attained a range of Level Five core-skill qualifications. Completed all this study whilst holding down a full-time job at East End Garage in Chirnside.