Moray College UHI students celebrated at their graduation day yesterday.
For the first time, morning and afternoon ceremonies were held in St Giles’ Church, Elgin, before the precession of new graduates paraded back to the college for a reception with family and friends.
Guest speaker James Johnston, vice chairman of Moray Economic Partnership and chairman of Moray Strategic Business Forum, stressed the importance of education and creating a desire for knowledge.
Graduates ranged in age from 16 to 55, which Mr Johnston applauded and said highlighted the philosophy that it is never too late to learn.
He added: “There is opportunity out there for everyone. There isn’t such a thing as a bad leader, just leaders in the wrong situations.
“It’s just finding your niche to bring out the best in you. We don’t make leaders – they are created for their knowledge, experience and their ability to engage.
“If you don’t have education then your horizon is limited. It’s about getting the right people in the right opportunities.”
Cara Innes, of Elgin, graduated in social care and received this year’s James Smith Award for Outstanding Achievement.
The 23-year-old did not engage in education at school and became a single mum at a young age, after suffering domestic abuse and ending up homelessness.
She was motivated to return to study social science at Moray College to pursue a career in care because she wants to help vulnerable adults change their lives the way she did.
She said: “This year has been a challenge because I’m dyslexic, but I’ve managed to pass it, so it’s been quite good.
“I want to be a support worker , and I was in the Woman’s Refuge and homeless as well.
“I’ve made a lot of bad decisions and been down the bad road. I’ve met a lot of people who’ve doen the same, so I want to change my life to help families who took the bad road too.”