For one household, yesterday’s occasion was the cause for a double celebration as a husband and wife duo graduated with honours degrees.
Despite juggling the demands of full-time work and full-time study – alongside the small matter of bringing up five children – Debbie and Jay Delonnette attended at Eden Court yesterday where their hard work and dedication was celebrated.
Mrs Delonnette, who works as a principal housing officer with Highland Council, attended Inverness College UHI on the BA (Hons) Health and Social Welfare course.
The 40-year-old said: “It was hard work, there was lots of adapting and juggling, but it’s all been worth it in the end.
“It’s wonderful to be here with my husband Jay to share graduation.
“The degree was really diverse and covered lots of different aspects of social impact, relevant to my work, so it’s been really beneficial.”
Mr Delonnette decided after much deliberation as an assistant store manager that it was time for a change.
The 40-year-old decided to up sticks and return to studying, enrolling in the BSc (Hons) Architectural technology course.
The Inverness resident said: “Architecture was something I’d always been interested in. The degree really challenged me, but it was 100% worthwhile.
“I never believed I could have achieved this and it’s given me lots of self-confidence and opened up lots of opportunities.”
Using the skills he has developed during his studies, Mr Delonnette has found employment with Property and Land Surveys as a CAD technician, with Mrs Delonnette now moving to further education, undertaking a Masters in Housing through the Chartered Institute of Housing.
Also graduating yesterday was fellow 40-year-old Alastair Watt from Nairn, who threw in his chips as a poker room manager in London to venture to the Highlands.
Mr Watt worked on the casino floor for 10 years before heading north, where he worked as a portable appliance tester, before embarking on computing studies at Inverness College UHI.
He said the establishment has had a “massive positive influence” for him and his wife, adding it is “an experience we will never forget”.
Mr Watt said: “I really enjoyed my time at Inverness College UHI and it’s because of contacts I made there that I’m now working for Lifescan.
“I am really proud of what I have achieved, and I’m determined to continue learning.”