HARD work paid off for dozens of Swindon College students yesterday as they graduated.

A total of 165 students donned their robes and mortar boards at the Jurys Inn ready for the ceremony at Holy Rood Church where they were presented with their certificates.

Swindon College principal Andrew Miller congratulated them on their achievements.

“We want to build on what we have achieved because there is going to be such a demand for graduates in Swindon over the next eight to 10 years,” he said.

“It wouldn’t work without the support of Bath and Oxford Brookes universities who do a great job making things happen.”

Students gained MAs in archaelogical illustration, PG Dips in archaeological illustration, BA (Hons) in fine art, BA (Hons) in illustration, BA (Hons) in graphic design,foundation degrees in early years and in business management and communications.

Others gained HNDs in photography, HNDs and HNCs in civil engineering, HNDs and HNCs in construction, diplomas in teaching in the lifelong learning sector, and AAT 4 accounting.

Among the graduates was Eamon Martin, 39, of Old Town, who has just finished a BA (Hons) graphic design.

“I previously worked as a forklift driver and I also worked in the financial industry. “Then I thought I’m going to do this graphic design course before it is too late,” he said.

“My little boy was born and I thought I want him to look at his dad and see someone who followed his dream, like I want him to do.”

Kareen Jackson, 42, of Baydon, took up BA (Hons) fine art after she bumped her head on her 39th birthday.

“I had a glass of champagne and I walked into a door and knocked myself out. “For 10 days I couldn’t see properly and I just had to sit and think,” she said. “I decided I wanted to give up my job in interior design and make-up and do this course. I have absolutely loved it.”

Kennedy Karanja, 29, of the town centre, who is originally from Kenya, graduated in BA (Hons) graphic design. His parents, John and Sarah, came from Africa for the ceremony.

“The course was hard but it was worth doing,” he said.