More than 300 graduates from NPTC Group of Colleges donned their caps and gowns at a special ceremony where they were joined by newly appointed honorary fellow Professor Vivienne Harpwood.
The annual ceremony, held at Swansea Arena, saw the 2022-2023 cohort of students finally get their moment in the spotlight in front of lecturers, family, friends and dignitaries before becoming new members of the College’s Alumni.
The ceremony reflects the links the College has developed with other institutions, including the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, the University of South Wales and Wrexham University. Through these partnerships, NPTC Group of Colleges is able to offer a range of Higher National Certificates, Higher National Diplomas, Foundation Degrees, Degrees and Internationally accepted qualifications that carry an excellent reputation within the public and private sectors.
In addition, this year the College has become an associated body of the University of Wales Trinity St David, designated as a University of Wales Technical Institute (UWTI). It works in partnership with Coleg Sir Gâr, Coleg Ceredigion, Cardiff and Vale College, and Pembrokeshire College to develop higher technical education and employer-led training and innovation. Working within a confederal structure, the network of Technical Institutes is informed by the needs of employers and aims to promote equality of opportunity and encourage participation in tertiary education.
The College was proud to award an Honorary Fellowship to Professor Vivienne Harpwood, for Services to the Health Service. Vivienne Harpwood is an Emerita Professor at Cardiff University. She was Course Director for more than 20 years of the Legal Aspects of Medical Practice (LLM) degree, the first Masters degree of its kind, established in 1987. During her time in Cardiff University, she published books and numerous articles on medical law and tort, and she continues as editor of Butterworth’s Medico-Legal Reports. She was the founding editor of the journal “Medical Law International” and has given invited lectures on medical law and ethics to healthcare professionals in the UK and overseas. Vivienne served on the UK Government’s NHS Complaints Review Committee, whose recommendations in 1994 formed the basis of modern NHS Complaints Systems in all four UK jurisdictions. She was also a member of the Silicone Gel Breast Implant Review Group. She chaired the Wales Cancer Research UK Governance Board and was a member of the Wales DNAR-CPR Core Group. She presented oral evidence to the Welsh Government’s Health and Social Care Committee during the passage of the Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill 2013 and was a member of the Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2013 Expert Reference Group.
More recently Vivienne has participated as a panel member in the webinar discussion series of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics Programme ‘In the Wake of COVID-19’. She is the UK member of the UNESCO South Asia Education Department’s International Research Committee on Health Law and Bioethics and gives international seminars on Medical law and Ethics for UNESCO. She has practised as a barrister and has given many media interviews on legal topics and ethical issues. After a long career as a legal academic, Vivienne held a number of posts in NHS Wales culminating in her appointment to an eight-year term as Chair of Powys Teaching Health Board. She also chaired the Welsh NHS Confederation and was a Trustee of the central NHS Confederation in London. Currently, Vivienne is Lead Governor of Royal United Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Bath. Vivienne is proud to be Welsh and is from a Swansea family going back many generations. She spent most of her childhood there and gave her first lecture in what was then the Swansea Institute of Higher Education.
Professor Harpwood reflected on her award saying:
“I’m very proud, absolutely delighted and very honoured. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a long and fruitful career and seeing the students here, celebrating with friends and family, and the joy on their faces after three years of hard work, it’s very rewarding and exciting to see them at the start of their career journeys.”
The Honorary Fellowship is the highest honour that NPTC Group of Colleges can bestow on members of the public in recognition of an exceptional and outstanding contribution to the people of Neath Port Talbot County Borough and the County of Powys and Wales. Over the past ten years, the College has awarded fellowships to many individuals including rugby stars Ryan Jones, James Hook and Dan Lydiate, actor Michael Sheen, Astrophysicist Professor Geraint F. Lewis, footballer Ben Davies and Welsh Netball’s Suzy Drane, amongst a whole host of others.
In his ceremony speech, the Chief Executive of NPTC Group of Colleges Mark Dacey said:
“Graduation is one of the highlights of our calendar year at NPTC Group of Colleges. I feel so proud to be here to celebrate with our students. I myself didn’t graduate until I was in my early thirties, so I think this shows exactly what lifelong learning is about and I think it shows the position that further education has in the delivery of university-level courses in Wales. To all our new graduates, you now join the thousands of college alumni who represent us worldwide. This is not the end of the journey but the beginning of a new chapter of your life.”
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