Celebrations and Support for Class of 2020

As the academic year draws to a close, we share how the University plans to celebrate and support the graduating Class of 2020, given restrictions on ceremonies and a challenging employment market that lies ahead.

   25 June 2020

The last few months have seen extensive restrictions put in place due to COVID-19, and as such the University has had to follow the strict government advice and make the extremely difficult decision to postpone summer graduation ceremonies this June and July.

However, the University has continued to seek the opinions of the student body and it remains committed to facilitating physical graduation ceremonies for the graduating class of 2020 as soon as it is safe to do so, in line with government advice.

In the meantime, our colleagues across the University are working to plan an exciting interactive virtual showcase, celebrating the class of 2020.  Students, their families and friends can stay up to date with the range of ways the University will do this on the graduation webpages and across our social media channels. The graduation webpages will also provide further information about the hire/purchase of academic dress, should students wish to avail of this service.  Students who have successfully completed their course will receive their degree award certificate and parchment by post in mid-August.

As well as the celebrations, the University is acutely aware that the restrictions put in place during the pandemic have and will continue to cause challenges for our graduates planning to enter the workforce. As a result, the Employability and Careers team has launched a new programme, UnLockU, designed to support students graduating in 2020 through enhancing their network, developing their skills and providing professional careers guidance.

The 3-step UnLockU programme will offer one-on-one support for students from Employability advisors as well as subject and sector-focused support through networking events, running through the month of July. For more information, visit the UnLockU website.

Brian Byers, Employability Services Unit Manager, said:

“The UnLockU Employability programme was developed to recognise the exceptional circumstances our students this year face as they graduate into a difficult labour market.

Our aim is that upon completion of the programme, our new graduates will feel equipped and confident to take positive actions towards their future careers.”

As a University, we are incredibly proud of our graduating Class of 2020 and we commend them for their hard work and determination in reaching this point, particularly in their final semester, which has been very different to how they would have imagined and has in turn brought unexpected challenges. While our educational programmes are bound by dates, as graduates of Ulster University the Class of 2020 will join a global network of alumni for life and we look forward to welcoming them into the Alumni community and following their journeys after they graduate.

As the Class of 2020’s time at Ulster draws to a close, Vice-Chancellor, Paul Bartholomew had this message to share.