It was a proud moment for the students from Lincoln College’s Air & Defence College who graduated during a special ceremony at the International Bomber Command Centre on Monday.
The ceremony involved students from Lincoln College, College of West Anglia and Stamford College. It was the first physical graduation for the college since 2019 as last year’s was a virtual event due to the coronavirus restrictions.
After the graduation, students from all three colleges laid poppy wreaths at the memorial Spire of the International Bomber Command Centre, where a minute’s silence was observed.
All students received certificates, which were presented to them by Air Commodore Suraya Marshall, Comdt RAFC.
She said: “This graduation is a very welcome opportunity for us to come together to celebrate the achievements of the students of the Air and Defence College, the next generation of the Royal Air Force and future employees in the defence industry.
“Meeting the challenges and threats of a rapidly changing world is something that the Royal Air Force has done throughout its history. And the Air and Defence College has done the same over this past year.
“As the Air and Defence College moves forward and adjusts to the ‘new normal’ I am genuinely excited for the future.
“The opportunities that have emerged from the increased use of virtual learning can now be combined with the more traditional, face to face, hands on approach that should provide a vital stimulus and motivate future students to take up an exciting career in the Royal Air Force or pursue a career in the defence sector.”
Mark Locking, Managing Director for Education and Training Delivery at Lincoln College, said: “The Air and Defence College continues to go from strength to strength and provides fantastic opportunities across the partner colleges for students due to the exceptionally strong levels of employer support it receives; with the RAF at the forefront of this work.
“This programme has now delivered outstanding outcomes and destinations for five years to over 510 students across all colleges. It embodies our mission to be “employer-led” and it continues to deliver the jobs and progression that employers asked for when creating such a unique programme.”
Other awards presented on the day included Best Female and Best Male from each of the colleges.
Best Female winner from Lincoln College was awarded to Faith Stephens, who said: “I was a little bit surprised – I’m happy that I’ve managed to get it, because I struggled through this year quite a bit due to covid restrictions, it’s been quite challenging.”
Best Male winner Bradley Lefley-Kemp said: “I feel very honoured indeed to receive this award. The opportunities we’ve been given on the Air and Defence course have been fantastic and that’s been down to all the tutors we’ve had. “