Students and apprentices at West Nottinghamshire College have been applauded for their “resilience, determination, creativity and hard work” after coming through another academic year disrupted by the pandemic.
In his end-of-year video message, principal and chief executive Andrew Cropley paid tribute to learners for their commitment to their studies and determination to achieve their qualifications, despite national lockdowns and ongoing restrictions due to Covid-19.
He thanked them for “getting through yet another tough, unpredictable, uncertain year” and commended their commitment to continuing with their learning, whether studying remotely or in college once they were allowed to return, with all the challenges this involved.
“I’ve been hugely impressed by your resilience, determination, creativity and hard work to get through your course and achieve your qualification,” he said.
Mr Cropley praised the resolve of apprentices – some of whom had faced “huge challenges through this year, being on furlough or unable to undertake their off-the-job training because of the demands of the workplace” – adding he hoped they had felt “well supported by the college”.
He also reflected on the “joy” that students brought to the college’s campuses in March, when learners began a phased return as the latest lockdown began to lift.
“The joy, your happiness to be here, the life and the energy that you brought back to college was fantastic,” insisted Mr Cropley.
“A huge thank you to all of you for working with us, sticking to the rules and complying with what we asked of you to make sure that we were able to keep the college safe.”
On the students’ behalf, he extended his gratitude to the college’s teaching and support staff for “enabling you to keep learning to the very best of your ability through all of this.”
And as students await their teacher-assessed grades this summer following the cancellation of exams across the country for the second year running, Mr Cropley assured them their teachers had worked “extraordinarily hard” and the college had followed “really robust processes” to ensure they received the marks their efforts merited.
Praising students who have finished their courses, Mr Cropley said: “For those of you that are leaving us, good luck – whether that’s into higher education, or into the world of employment or onto an apprenticeship. We wish you very well and we hope that the learning you’ve taken from your time at the college, not just in the classroom but the wider experience of being a student here, will serve you well in those futures.”
He spoke about his excitement about the start of the new academic year in September, when it is hoped the college would be able to “operate normally”, with new and returning students “free to interact in classrooms, in our social spaces and other parts of the college to make it the truly vibrant experience for all of you that it should be.”
Mr Cropley continued: “For those of you that are coming back, we look forward to welcoming you. We’ve got really exciting plans for the start of the new academic year; making up for lost time in trips and visits, visiting speakers to the college, and other activities.
“And of course, as experienced students we look to you to be role models for the new students, helping them to understand our expectations, to share with them the opportunities that you’ve enjoyed, and ensure that they can make the best of their time here in the college.”
Reiterating his appreciation and best wishes to all students, he said: “Once again, thank you for sticking with us, for getting to the end of your course, for coping with the pandemic – and whatever the future holds for you, I and all of my colleagues here in the college wish you every success and every happiness.”
You can see his full video message at https://youtu.be/xO8oqL_Uf4Q