Graduation 2019

University Centre Colchester graduates proudly received their certificates in front of family and friends at the prestigious venue, Colchester Town Hall last week. The Graduation ceremonies celebrated the hard work and dedication that students had shown throughout their degree courses.

Amongst those graduating, awards were given out to one individual per academic School who had gone above and beyond in their studies.

The weekend saw students from a variety of subject areas graduate, who are all hoping to go onto have successful careers in their chosen industry. This included students from the Schools of Art, Business and Management, Information Technology, Construction, Engineering, Health and Social Sciences, Education, Digital Media, Music, Performing Arts and the area of Accounting.

The four ceremonies took place in the Moot Hall over a two-day period on Friday 4th October and Saturday 5th October. The new graduates then took to the High Street wearing their gowns in a walk of honour to The Minories Galleries, where they enjoyed a sparkling celebratory reception alongside their invited guests, tutors and the Academic Procession. A Graduation photo booth was set up in the grounds of the garden, featuring hanging frames that graduates used to capture special memories with their fellow peers.


Guests of Honour 2019

Graduates accepted their certificates from a Guest of Honour each day before taking a lap of honour around the Moot Hall. Guy Armitage was Friday’s Guest of Honour and Saturday saw previous University Centre Colchester Honorary Graduate, Anthony Roberts as their Guest of Honour. Both delivered a speech sharing their career journeys, offering words of advice to graduates as they prepare to enter their chosen industry and pursue their career ambitions.


Guy Armitage

Guy Armitage is the founder of Zealous, an online network created to simplify access to talent and opportunities within the creative sector. Previously, Guy founded IT contracting firm Bright  Creations in Egypt and worked at the London Stock Exchange where he headed up the FTSE quarterly changes.

Guy has talked about the world-changing potential of creativity at TEDx speaker events and in the media, including Forbes and Metro. Guy was The Guardian’s Creative Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013. He is a proud Trustee of Firstsite art gallery in Colchester and Arebyte in London.





Anthony Roberts DU Essex (Hon.)

2016 University Centre Colchester Honorary Graduate, Anthony Roberts DU Essex (Hon.) came to Colchester in 1991 as the Director of the Colchester Arts Centre. He has been here ever since, championing new work, writers and performance artists of all kinds.

He began his illustrious career in the arts through the unusual route of car park attendant at Watford Borough Council, before going on to work at Salisbury Arts Centre and the Old Bull Arts Centre in North London.

Anthony has performed and directed numerous shows at The Headgate Theatre and Edinburgh Festival, and he now writes a weekly column for Colchester Gazette and County Standard.






Award winners 


Kayleigh Reed – School of Art 

BA (Hons) Fine Art student, Kayleigh was nominated for the proactive and conscientious approach she demonstrated throughout her degree. She challenged herself throughout her studies and got involved in many initiatives, including running recruitment workshops at open events.




Robert Ward – School of Information Technology

BSc (Hons) IT Systems and Applications student, Robert was commended on his enthusiasm, politeness, great energy and team work skills. Robert progressed to degree-level study after completing his Diploma at Colchester Institute and grew in confidence throughout his degree.






Thomas Kyne – School of Construction

BSc (Hons) Construction Management student, Tom’s award recognised the consistently high grades he achieved during his studies. He showed determination and maintained a great attitude during his studies, all whilst running his own construction business.







Florence McCran – School of Health and Social Sciences

BA (Hons) Health and Social Care student, Florence showed great determination and fortitude throughout the course of her degree. The lecturing staff were impressed with how she juggled parenthood, work and study and persisted even when she spent long stretches of time in hospital.






Scott Johnson – School of Education

Scott was awarded for the dedication he showed throughout his PGCE Initial Teacher Education. He maintained a positive outlook, encouraging his peers and excelling in his teaching placement.





Joseph Allison – School of Digital Media

Joseph was nominated for the courage and determination he demonstrated throughout his BA (Hons) Digital Film Production degree. He embraced personal circumstances through his research project, using technical skills and technology.






Matthew Lawrence – School of Music

Matthew has been a student at Colchester Institute since 2010 and has progressed through further education to become a successful graduate of the BA (Hons) Popular Music degree. He has been nominated for his great team work and eagerness to get involved with extracurricular activities.





Laura Joseph- School of Performing Arts

Not only did Laura achieve a First-Class degree in Musical Theatre but she has been named as an ‘outstanding super-rep’ by her tutors. Laura represented students at University Centre Colchester by being the student voice in senior management meetings.






Harry Etheridge – School of Engineering

Harry’s tutors were impressed with Harvey’s distinctive ability to meet academic and personal challenges throughout his Higher National Certificate Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. Harvey’s commute meant that he had to travel a round trip of 150 miles each week. Despite this, he still achieved seven out of eight modules at Distinction level.


Fashion and Textiles – shining students

BA (Hons) Fashion and Textiles students Ashley Raynor, Jenna Martin and Rachel Thackeray have already made an incredible start to their career in the space of a few months.

Rachel was crowned the winner of the Sainsbury’s Home Award at the New Designers Graduate show in London in July, she is now working freelance for them.

Ashley is breaking into the fashion world, having just returned from New York Fashion Week where she showcased her graduate collection on the catwalk. This incredible opportunity has led to Ashley being featured in magazines such as BAHM magazine, K-fashion magazine and AIME Magazine. She will also appear in this month’s issue of Vogue, a dream come true for any designer.

Jenna was awarded the title of Student Designer of the Year at the National Bridal Buyer Awards. The judges praised Jenna’s creative output for the brief ‘Hollywood Glamour’. The material used was from her final degree projects, where she up-cycled old wedding dresses. She is hoping to continue her work by up-cycling clothes that are destined for landfill.



Honorary Graduates

An honorary doctorate degree is one of higher education’s most prestigious awards. Both Steven Huckle and Tony Fisher have been awarded with this honour for their significant contribution to their respective industries.


Steven Huckle

Steven Huckle is a multi-award-winning veteran video games artist and director who has been in the industry for 30 years. He has been BAFTA nominated, was named a Top 10 Creative England top 50 Future Leader, and has won an Essex Innovation 50 award.

Originally from Teesside, Steven moved to East Anglia at the age of 10. He discovered his love of gaming at the age of 14 after his parents got him his first Sinclair (ZX81). Steven and his friends would make games for fun, not expecting it to go anywhere but it wasn’t long before he was hooked and upgraded to the Spectrum 48k 128k.

After completing his studies at Suffolk College, Steven showed his artwork to Travelling Mate and secured a job where he was lucky enough to use cutting-edge 3D technology on a TV show called Knightmare.

When Knightmare was finished, and now in his early 20’s, Steven got himself his first proper games job at Sensible Software, setting him up for a fruitful career in the gaming industry.

During his career, Steven spent five years freelancing and teaching whilst living on a narrow boat in the middle of Oxford. During this time, he worked with video game developer, Exient on a few projects which led to him staying on as their Art Director.


Steven now lives in Suffolk with his wife and four children and runs his own studio, Shark Infested Custard. The company works on its own titles as well as supporting other developers on theirs.

Steven is committed to helping the games industry in East Anglia to flourish. The Games Hub, which was started by Steven in 2014 helps young people to learn more about games development and the industry. Some have even gone on to set up their own award-winning games development companies.

Not only does he contribute to helping the next generation of games directors and artists locally but Steven travels annually to Kampala in Uganda to teach children to make games.

Steven has been supportive of gaming degree course at University Centre Colchester from the very beginning. He has helped the course, offering mentorship and advising on course content. He has also been very supportive of Colchester Institute’s further education courses by helping out with industry projects and offering mentorship to students.

Steven has not only made an incredible contribution to the games industry with his own works but he has made a tangible difference in developing young people’s careers.



Tony Fisher

Tony Fisher is a long-standing BBC Essex arts and entertainment radio presenter and was nominated for his extensive contribution radio. With over thirty years’ experience working on air, Tony has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in his field. He was recently appointed the important role of Head of Music for BBC East, which involves him working with all radio stations in the eastern region as quality control.

Growing up in Yorkshire, Tony became enchanted with radio as soon as he had the fine motor skills to turn the dial. By the age of 9, he was presenting pretend programmes from his bedroom and went on to win a national DJ competition at the age of 12. At 17, he became the youngest broadcaster on professional radio in the UK.

Over the years, he has presented a marathon 4-hour afternoon programme about local arts, live entertainment, healthy living and community events with an average audience of over 20,000 people per show.

What sets Tony apart from other radio presenters is his sheer commitment and dedication to the show. Tony goes above and beyond to ensure that the content is entertaining. He spends his daily train commute to BBC Essex in Chelmsford listening to podcasts and new music as well as reading the novels of authors prior to interview. He also watches movies in the cinema and the latest TV boxsets ready to discuss and review on air.

He is a strong advocate for grassroot arts and has always endeavoured to provide a platform for up and coming musicians, artists and performers. In 2016, Tony launched the Essex Playwright of the Year competition and also co-presents the Pride of Essex awards, celebrating outstanding children and adults in difficult circumstances.

Colchester Institute has received great support from Tony over the past four years, by giving a regular radio slot to Phil Toms, UCC’s Head of Music, Media and Performing Arts to be able to promote the College, its degree courses and events.

Not only has Tony given staff a platform but he has regularly invited students from Musical Theatre degree productions in to promote their performances and allowed media students to visit for coveted work experience. What has been most inspirational to the students, has been the way that he puts them at ease on air, enabling them to fluently and passionately talk about their studies and future career in the industry.

Tony has made a significant impact throughout his time in the industry.


More photos from Graduation 2019