University College Isle of Man (UCM) 2017 graduates have again excelled in their results this year, with an outstanding 83% of students achieving a ‘top grade’ – a first class or upper second class grade.
The ‘top grade’ percentage is a key measure for all UK higher education institutions and UCM have exceeded the UK average for the last three years.
Whilst the 2017 figure for the UK is not yet available last year it was 71% and UCM are proudly confident that their students have again performed better than most UK institutions.
Jo Pretty, Principal, UCM said:
'When you combine enthusiastic and hardworking students, experienced and committed lecturers and a business community that contributes and supports the students learning experience – these are the sort of grades that can be achieved. We also find that our students are immediately able to secure relevant employment, not only because of the quality of their degrees but because they have been able to engage and network with future employers throughout their studies.'
The graduating students agree that this is one of the most important benefits of on-Island degree courses, to both themselves and the economy.
Aimee Freegard, First Class BA Hons Accounting & Finance graduate said:
'My experience at UCM has provided me with the knowledge, confidence and experience to progress into a career in accounting. By studying on the island, I have had the opportunity to build a relationship with local employers, leading to my job offer with KPMG. From theoretical knowledge to practical application, the tutors at UCM cover all bases which helped me to not only gain a first class honours, but also prepare me for the workplace. Studying at UCM has certainly given me the building blocks and opportunities to progress into a successful career.'
UCM continues to build its offer of courses that further integrate undergraduate study with work-based learning and the expansion of applied research services. The degrees offered at UCM are conferred by the University of Chester, UCM’s academic partner, and have a strong focus on the needs of the Island’s economy; IT, business, accounting and finance, event management and marketing, the creative industries, public health, manufacturing engineering sport and history and heritage.
New for 2017/18 are a BSc Hons Cybersecurity and an MSc Advanced Computer Science.
Gail Corrin, UCM Higher Education Manager said:
'All HE students at UCM have the opportunity to complete or enhance an aspect of their studies off-Island including a six-week professional placement as part of their second year. Barcelona and Lyon are just two of the placement destinations that UCM students have experienced. Ensuring that students engage internationally is an important part of their professional and academic development.
'We are creating a powerful product here which involves developing confidence and enterprise alongside high academic standards. In addition, the learning activities of our students contribute directly to local businesses and organisations through applied research projects and professional work placements.
'There are now almost 300 full and part-time degree and postgraduate students at UCM. Numbers are increasing each year and in addition to school leavers, we have noticed more and more people wanting to study later in life as they develop or change their careers.'
Sarah Breed, First Class BSc Hons Public Health said:
'UCM helped me grow academically and as a person providing a variety of support and an excellent learning environment. I had struggled to even meet the entry requirements and I think many thought I would fail. I’ve now finished my degree with first class honours and I owe this as much to UCM and my tutors as I do to my hard work. I am now going to do masters and am excited to build on the skills already gained from my degree.'
Steve Wright, First Class BA (Hons) History, Heritage Management and Manx Studies said:
'As a full-time worker on the Isle of Man, the UCM provided me with the opportunity to study a degree over a six year period, whilst remaining in employment.
'I did consider an Open University degree, but the most appealing aspect of the UCM was to receive tutorials directly from local experts whilst attending lectures, rather than receiving courses online. Having direct contact with tutors was incredibly valuable when I needed support with my assignments and guidance. I have attained transferable skills and knowledge, for example, learning how to research, to think critically and write or present assignments have helped me convey accurate information more clearly and concisely, a skill that has benefited my life in general.
'I would recommend studying at UCM to anyone who wants to develop or change their career, or to pursue their passion like me – for history. It does take a lot of time and commitment, and you will find it takes over your life at times, but the rewards are worth every moment.'
The results of all the UCM graduates of 2017 will be formally recognised and celebrated at the Higher Education Awards on 13 October at the Villa Marina.