Hull College’s annual Graduation Ceremony saw Tim Shaw, Chief Executive Officer at KCOM, and Lucy Blackley, founder and Chief Executive Officer at Bombyx PLM, awarded an Order of Distinction in recognition of their outstanding achievements and support to education, business and communities in the city of Hull and East Yorkshire region.
Shaw's journey with KCOM began in June 2019 when he joined as Chief Technology Officer, quickly ascending to Managing Director of its Wholesale & Networks business in 2020. In April 2022, he assumed the role of KCOM's CEO, steering the company beyond its traditional roots in Hull to new territories across Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. Shaw brings extensive experience in leading network and IT-related transformations, having held senior roles at BT and served as VP of Engineering at Loot Financial Services. Under his leadership, KCOM has embraced a vision to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, reinforcing the company's commitment to being an integral part of Hull's local communities.
Blackley, a former Hull College student, has carved a niche for herself as the visionary founder and CEO of Bombyx PLM, a cutting-edge manufacturing tech start-up. With over a decade of experience in the fashion industry as a clothing engineer, Blackley's journey was marked by gruelling 80+ hour workweeks and frustration with inadequate software for industry professionals. This experience fuelled her mission to create a comprehensive Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system, tailored to empower manufacturing experts through process optimisation, administrative workload reduction, and the integration of automation and machine learning.
Presented by the college’s Chair of Governors, Rob Lawson, the Order of Distinction’s serve as a testament to Shaw and Blackley’s dedication, innovation, and significant contribution to the fields of technology and business. Their impact resonates not only within the corporate sphere but also in the communities they serve, exemplifying the spirit of leadership and excellence that Hull College aims to instil in its graduates.
Tim Shaw said: “It was an absolute honour to be part of Hull College’s Graduation Ceremony last week and speak in front of hundreds of talented young people receiving their qualifications and taking their next step towards the world of work.
“I’m passionate about KCOM’s commitment to local education and the fantastic job that institutions like Hull College are doing to empower the next generation of young people with the skills and values they’ll need to succeed.
“It’s great to see the new team at Hull College making a huge positive impact on the lives of so many young people. It’s a commitment that KCOM shares and, as one of the region’s leading businesses, we’re delighted to be part of that journey; creating pathways for young people to find rewarding future careers within this city. It’s great to see our iconic K6 phone boxes now standing outside Hull College, symbolising the strong ties that exist between us and our commitment to working together going forward.
“On a personal note, it was also humbling to be presented with an Order of Distinction by the college, which also involved wearing what can only be described as a rather fetching hat and gown. A huge thank you to everyone at the college for this recognition, which was received with great pride!”
Lucy Blackley added: “It was an incredibly emotional for me to receive the Order of Distinction. I went to Hull College, my career started because of Hull College, and to be invited back to speak to and inspire the next generation, the future of work, was very humbling.
“It was a fantastic occasion to be part of and everything from start to finish was beautifully curated. My favourite part of it all was the awards presented to students at the end, some of whom had endured some form of challenge or hardship that they overcame to finish their studies. It made me incredibly proud to see the people of Hull being given opportunities and support like Hull College have.
“I will do my utmost to continue supporting the city of Hull, its people, and the education sector. There is definitely no place like Hull, and I was a very proud Hullensian on the day of graduation! I would also like to say a huge well done to all graduates - you absolutely smashed it in the most difficult of times and I couldn't be prouder!”
Shaw and Blackley also shared keynote speaker duties at the ceremony, giving inspirational speeches to graduates before the college's ‘Class of 2023’ - donned in traditional caps and gowns - received their certificates from Lawson and Alison Price-Moir (University of Hull).
For the first time, the college’s prestigious ceremony was held at Hull Minster, ensuring a magnificent backdrop on what was a day of pride, reflection, and joy for more than 150 students. The event recognised the hard work and achievements of graduates who have completed Higher National Certificates (HNCs), Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), Foundation Degrees, BA Honours Degrees and Professional Qualifications in subjects ranging from Fine Arts and Criminology to Performing Arts and Young Children’s Learning Development.
David Vickers, Head of HE Development & Registry at Hull College, said: “Everyone at the college was delighted to be able to come together and celebrate those students who completed Higher Education programmes with us this year at our annual Graduation ceremony. With the stunning surroundings of Hull Minster, it was truly a day to remember for everyone involved.
“Our Graduation Ceremony is always one of the highlights of the college year and this year’s event was no exception. It provided the perfect opportunity for us to acknowledge the incredible achievements, progress and success of our Higher Education students. This is just the start of their journeys and we wish them every success for the next chapter of their stories - whatever that may be - as they use the skills and knowledge gained on their degree-level courses to achieve their career ambitions.”
The ceremony also saw several special awards handed out to students who have demonstrated a particular flare or ability during their course, achieved outstanding grades or made significant progress. The winners of these awards were:
Rollits Prize for Business Enterprise: Georgina Cooper
Construction Student of the Year: Harry Sturdy
Early Years, Health & Education Student of the Year: Laura Paddison
The Nick Morrison Award for Engineering & Technology: Joseph Kidd
Performing Arts Student of the Year: Stacey Couper
Music Student of the Year: James Taylor
Art & Design Student of the Year: Maria Saleh
Advanced Beauty Therapy Student of the Year: Alisha Fee
Criminology Student of the Year: Florence Mugira
Education Profession Student of the Year: Deborah Ann Fletcher
The David White Memorial Award: Derek Donsworth