I have worked for SVT from when it was formed and have seen hundreds of students graduate and achieve their qualifications through elearning, giving me a sense of great pride that I have helped them to achieve their goals. I speak to and have spoken to lots of students over the years via phone/email and had never had the chance to meet them in person until we introduced our graduation ceremony several years ago now. This is a great way to speak to the candidates face-to-face and help them celebrate in the success of gaining their qualification online.
The highlight of the SVT year is now undoubtedly the graduation ceremony and since its introduction it has gone from strength to strength. We have gone from hiring the smallest function room available in Grimsby Town Hall with a handful of students, to taking over the main hall and hosting numerous students, along with their families and friends. A lot of work goes into organising the event but it is well worth it in the end to see the student’s happy faces on their special day.
This year’s event attracted record numbers and was more of an even spilt between Health & Safety, Health & Social Care and Management & Leadership students than in past years. Staff are available on the day to network with our successful students and with representatives from our external awarding bodies such as City & Guilds or ILM which is great for spreading the word about SVT even more. SVT gets a lot of new students from past student referrals and events such as our graduation ceremony help raise awareness for SVT to no end. Students are presented with scrolls on the day and they can have photos in a cap and gown, creating memories to cherish. These photos are an excellent addition to the graduation ceremony, particularly when many of our online NVQ courses are equivalent to higher education level courses.
I’m always a bit nervous when attending events like this at first, just in case any problem students come looking for me (joke). However, once I’m there I grow in confidence and enjoy the networking/socialising side of it. It is always quite funny trying to put a face to a name when you provide online courses and haven't met your students before. I don’t think I have called a student by the wrong name yet, lucky guesses on some occasions! One thing I appreciate is that you feel like you’re getting to know your students when you are helping them study for their qualifications and you really do begin to feel like part of their family, so getting to meet students in the flesh is the perfect sign off.
This year was no different, introducing myself to UK based students and talking about their experiences, but this year for the first time we had students from the Middle East attending the event. This felt extra special that they had come all this way to attend the event and they were so grateful towards me and my colleagues, for helping them to achieve their dream. It will hopefully be the start of more international students attending the event and helping to spread the culture and diversity within SVT and beyond.
Another thing I enjoy about the SVT graduation process, is when a student completes their qualification and they feel happy/choose to leave a testimonial about their experiences with us. It is especially rewarding for me to hear my name mentioned in a positive manner and that I have helped them as much as possible during their online learning process with us.
The graduation ceremonies and testimonies I have attended/received whilst at SVT have boosted my confidence within my job role and given me some good memories.
I hope to attend many more ceremonies and receive a lot more fan mail (testimonials) for many years to come!
Matt King - SVT Safety Assessor