Staff and students from St Vincent College’s Adult Community College celebrated the achievements of learners who have overcome barriers including addiction, homelessness and mental health issues at a special event.
The Gosport college has worked with the Society of St James, which supports vulnerable adults, to help learners rebuild their lives through education.
Tara Walton, a tutor and assessor at the college, said: “Many of our learners have not been in education since school and have encountered many barriers to learning.
“The team at the Adult Community College, along with the Society of St James, in particular Paul Allen and Jim Cook at Re-fit, work with these learners to support them in finding their way through a variety of accredited qualifications. We are immensely proud of every single person and wanted to celebrate their many achievements.”
Cllr Tom Coles and his wife Nikki, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Portsmouth, and Mayor of Gosport Cllr Martin Pepper, were among the guests at the ceremony, which also included the learners’ proud family and friends.
After a buffet and speeches the learners had their chance to have their photographs in graduation caps and gowns to celebrate their achievements.
Tara said the event, at the Buckland Community Centre in Portsmouth, was an emotional and uplifting occasion. “Many of our learners are now in paid employment or voluntary roles giving back to the community and supporting others. For some, they have stayed with us and continue to learn, develop, and grow,” she said.