This year has been one of much celebration. We welcomed Anne Isherwood as our new principal and Rob Lawson as chair of the Sunderland College Board of Governors. We have seen the highest pass rate for A-Level results on record, with over 99 per cent of our talented students making the grade this year. Needless to say it was one of many proud moments of 2013.
The start of the year saw a group of our HNC Construction students head to the finals of the National Chartered Institute of Builders (CIOB) competition thanks to their proposal to redevelop a Newcastle city centre office block. And budding chef Ryan Miller competed to win the title of Regional Young Chef of the Year, having been shortlisted for his culinary skills.
Another of our star students, who also worked at the college as a lecturer, netted a job with Premier League Champions Manchester City. Robbie Clarkson, 26, scored his dream role as Manchester City’s lead performance analyst, working with the club’s Under 12 to Under 14 academy teams.
Building on the success story this year was HNC design and construction management student, Glen Campbell, 35. The hardworking student scooped an award and was named the Chartered Institute of Building North East Student of the Year. Glen was presented with his award by legendary footballer and former Newcastle United FC manager, Kevin Keegan, at the event at the Marriott Hotel, Gosforth.
It was all change on our board this year and we were proud to appoint Rob Lawson, former Sunderland Echo editor, as chairman. Rob, who has the interests of the city and its people very much at heart, has been and will continue to be vital and central to the college’s future.
The announcement of our-state-of-the-art facilities was an exciting time for Sunderland College and to mark the start of building work at our Bede Campus Paralympian Josef Craig MBE put the first spade into the ground. The multi-million pound academies – one for sport and the other for visual and performing arts, will open in September 2014 and will be used by students and members of the community from across the North East.
Budding scientist, Jessica Webster, set the bar high for science students this year as she became the first Sunderland College BTEC student in the college’s history to receive an offer to study Pharmacy at Durham University, a subject that is traditionally only open to A-Level students.
In the latter part of the year filming of our TV advert began, which aired for the first time on 2January, with former and current students both in front and behind the camera. The three versions of the advertisement, which feature former students who have really made us proud, will air throughout January on both ITV and Sky channels and online to showcase the short and longer term adult courses Sunderland College on offer.
It capped off what has been a remarkable year of achievement, and one that we hope to build on in 2014.
We have started the year as we mean to go on having been shortlisted as finalist in Sun FM’s Proud of Sunderland campaign, which was launched to celebrate 21 years since Sunderland became a city, as residents voted for the top 21 things that make them proud of Sunderland. Make sure you tune into Sun FM this week and vote for Sunderland College to win.
Here’s to a happy New Year everyone!