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St. John the Baptist Church in Chipping Barnet was the perfect venue for the Barnet and Southgate College higher education (HE) graduation ceremony on 26th September. The graduating HE students were presented with their certificates in a glittering ceremony by Dr Kondal Reddy-Kandadi, Pro Vice Chancellor from the University of Bolton.

Over 150 students graduated in a total of nine academic areas including: a range of Access to Higher Education courses, Hair and Beauty Management, Computing and Business Management. Also present on the night were family, friends and staff from the College alongside former student, Bobby Fasogbon, aged 48 from Colindale and BSc (Hons) Business Management alumnus from Barnet and Southgate College.

Bobby gave a rousing speech congratulating the new graduates, where he said: "I'd already got a degree in engineering back in 1993, but I'd always had a very keen interest in business ever since I was a child. In 2013 I started my own carpet cleaning business in Edgware, whilst working in a design company in Radlett. At the same time I decided to enrol on a foundation business degree at Barnet and Southgate College, which I later completed with first class BSc Honours with Middlesex University. At the time I thought that it would not be possible to do everything, but I persevered and worked hard. Today, I still have my business flash flooring, which now has branches in Harrow and Edgware with ten staff, and I'm also about to embark on further study with an MBA! So the only way is up for all our new graduates tonight and my advice to them all is to believe in yourself and your abilities."

Graduating students on the night included Sarah Stern, aged 36 from Willesden Green, who said:

"I studied for the Foundation degree in Business with Management, which I topped up to a BSc (Hons) Business with Management with Bolton University, from 2013 until 2017, I'm so proud to be graduating with a first class honours degree. I researched courses and it was a very last minute decision to do a degree, I only signed up the week before classes started. As I'd left school after my GCSEs I had to do an Access to higher education course, so the foundation degree I chose worked well. I was working full time in music management and music publishing before that. The teaching at the College has been good with a few outstanding teachers, they all knew their subjects well and were willing to help if asked. I'm still working in music publishing now but life has changed because of the College as it has expanded my theoretical knowledge and brought depth to my business decisions. Most importantly, coming into Wood Street campus one day a week really worked for my working life, plus I'm dyslexic and as soon as I enrolled at Barnet and Southgate College there was immediate support and a plan in place for me, which was invaluable. Being dyslexic means that I absorb and process information differently and I struggle to get my thoughts on paper. My verbal ability is much stronger than my writing skills. It's not something that I've ever been ashamed of but it caused me a huge amount of distress at school and things that others could do quickly would take me twice as long. I'm sharing this for others who feel that achieving in an academic forum is not possible for them, as I am proof that it is possible for anyone. I think coming back to College as a mature student meant that I had a large amount of practical business experience and also some very effective ways of managing my emotions to keep persevering with the studying, even when it felt impossible. The teachers were supportive too and being in smaller classes in a local environment was a large factor in my success at Barnet and Southgate College."

David Byrne, Principal of Barnet and Southgate College said: "We're very proud of all our new graduates. The diversity of excellence reflects not just the diversity of our courses, but more importantly, the diversity of our students. From all walks and stages of life, across London and beyond and we wish each and every graduate every success in their future career."

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