A graduation ceremony was held at Epsom Downs Racecourse on February 2 for foundation, HND and masters students at Nescot.

For many of the graduates of the Epsom college of further and higher education arriving to be formally gowned and photographed, the event was a reward for years of struggle to balance work, family life and the desire for a better education and future. Among them was Raquella Mosquera, who left school at 15 with no qualifications but who decided to return to education as an adult. She graduated with a foundation degree in teaching in the lifelong learning sector despite being diagnosed with dyslexia in her 30s.

She said: “I always knew I wanted more from life and for my three sons but was very daunted about going for such a high-level course.

“The first term was hard but the tutors at Nescot are fantastic. When you’re learning something you’re passionate about, it becomes easy – even with kids and a full-time job,” she added.

Raquella now works with unemployed adults and youngsters in her community.

“Graduating from Nescot with all my family and friends there to see me was a very special occasion and something I never dreamt I’d be doing,’ she said.

For others, like Hinikshi Jayakody, graduating with a degree in biomedical science, the quality of teaching at Nescot has proved an excellent basis for further study.

“This has been a wonderful pathway and I have gained invaluable essay and research skills from the excellent tutors at Nescot,” said Hinikshi, who is now studying to become a doctor at Aberdeen Medical School.

“I’ve just passed my first medical exams and the grounding I got here has helped enormously,” she said.

For Nescot principal Sunaina Mann, the day was one of the highlights of the year. “This day was very special. It was the culmination of so much hard work by the students, their families and the staff. It is an immense privilege to be a part of that success, and I feel happier about our future in these uncertain times, knowing these are the leaders, entrepreneurs and managers of the future,” she said.

For further information about opportunities at Nescot College, please go to www.nescot.ac.uk or call 020 8394 3038.