More than 80 students have the keys to more prosperous futures after graduating with university-level qualifications from Accrington and Rossendale College.

Collecting their honours in front of proud family members and friends, the Accrington and Rossendale College graduation event was an evening celebrating dedication, hard work and success in the grandiose surroundings of Accrington Town Hall.

Students were graduating in qualifications encompassing Business, Childcare, Construction, Health and Social Care, Music, and Teaching, and honoured guests on the night included representatives from awarding universities the University of Huddersfield, the University of Bolton, and Liverpool John Moores University, as well as dignitaries the Mayor and Mayoress of Hyndburn, and the Mayor of Rossendale.

Georgia-Leigh Burns, 21, from Clitheroe, graduated in BSc (Hons) Sports Science and Coaching Studies. She was also named Student of the Year for her commitment to the course, and her research project, where she worked alongside Cryotherapy UK in a study to recognise the benefits and limitations to cryotherapy injury rehabilitation within sport.

Georgia-Leigh said: “I feel absolutely amazing to graduate and I’m in shock at the Student of the Year award – that is a complete surprise. I began at Accrington and Rossendale College five years ago with my Level 3 BTEC in Sport, so it has been quite a journey.

“My course has been brilliant. There have been times where I have wondered whether I was going to be able to do it, but my teachers have been so supportive, encouraging me to keep going. They really strive for you to succeed. I couldn’t have achieved this without their help, or that of the other students in the group.”

Sam Postlethwaite, also from Clitheroe, graduated after completing his HNC in Construction and the Built Environment, having progressed into the course from his Apprenticeship in Carpentry and Joinery at Accrington and Rossendale College.

Sam, 23, said: “I’m really happy to graduate. I want to become a Site Manager and my course has really helped develop me on the management side of things such as project management and legislation – it has covered a lot of different and important aspects.

“I have enjoyed my time at Accrington and Rossendale College and I have found my tutors to be extremely helpful and very knowledgeable about their subject.”

Samara Barnes, 32, from Haslingden, graduated with First Class Honours in BA (Hons) Health and Applied Social Studies. She said: “It has been a labour of love for me but I have got there in the end. I’ve graduated before but this feels very different and I think it is one the best things that has ever happened to me.

“It has been a bit of a rollercoaster – I had a tuberculosis diagnosis in year one, and then pregnancy and a car accident in my third year of study, while managing a full-time job and a community project.

“What is great about Accrington and Rossendale College is that I was looking for a career change and I have been able to gain that knowledge here to get the career change that I wanted.

“It is a brilliant College – and some people I originally met 20 years ago at when I did my BTEC in Performing Arts have become lifelong friends and very successful in different ways.”

Dean of Higher Education, Charlotte Scheffmann, said: “Our graduation evening is always a brilliant night where years of hard work culminates in a celebration of achievement. This year’s ceremony was no different and we are extremely proud of all of our graduates.

“Higher Education qualifications are renowned for having a transformative effect on career prospects and I hope that is true for our ‘Class of 2019’ graduates.”

Accrington and Rossendale College has a 95% satisfaction rate in the National Student Survey, and following the College’s successful merger with Nelson and Colne College, Higher Education is offered at two campuses – one in Accrington, and one in Nelson.

Programmes are currently offered in Building and Engineering, Business and Professional Services, Education and Childcare, Health and Social Studies and Humanities.

If you would like to enrol on to a Higher Education course at the Nelson campus or the Accrington campus, please contact the Higher Education Admissions Team on 01254 354047, or visit or