Community and business leaders from across Greater Manchester and Lancashire visited the College’s Hopwood Theatre in Middleton for a networking event showcasing the College’s progress over the last academic year.
Hopwood Hall College’s Chair of the Corporation, Nazir Afzal OBE, opened the ceremony by welcoming nearly 100 guests including; Mayor of Rochdale, Mohammed Zaman, MP for Heywood & Middleton, Liz McInnes and MP for Rochdale Tony Lloyd.
The event also marked the final Annual Review for their Principal, Derek O’Toole, who announced he will be leaving the College in July after 15 years in the role.
Speaking to the audience, the Principal said:
“It is at occasions like this that I have the opportunity to publicly thank you to all for your contributions.
If any achievements or accomplishments can be counted against my time here at the College, they are of course the sum of the efforts of the whole college community who I thank most sincerely.
The numerous successful Ofsted inspections we have had, working in collaboration to establish Rochdale Sixth Form College, responding swiftly and effectively to the public funding crisis of the Coalition government and the subsequent ‘Age of Austerity’ – none of these would have been possible without the backing of our stakeholders.
“I am humbled by the everyday efforts this college community makes to improve the life chances of all our learners. Thank you to you all.”
Many of the attendees highlighted the guest student speeches and Performing Arts students’ performance as their favourite parts of the event.
Alex Ribeiro Wood, a first year studying a Level 2 Diploma in Engineering, spoke about her experience of being a minority in an engineering environment.
Both in the sense of being female and being a ‘high achiever’ in school, Alex described her choices as challenging traditional perceptions by opting to study a vocational course at college – something she feels schools don’t always highlight as a pathway for students of all capabilities.
Guests felt inspired by Alex’s story and as a result she was offered several guest speaking roles and placements in the engineering sector.
Three Level 3 Sports students; Nathan Phelan, Joshua Yates and Isaac Gallier, gave a joint presentation on their journey from school leavers to hopeful teachers and sports professionals.
Aaron Sugden, an IT Apprentice at Hopwood Hall College, spoke about his budding career in IT Services before Hassan Ali, a Level 3 Media Production student, discussed his battle with Leukaemia and his life living in a family full of creatives.