South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust

Chetwynde teacher graduates with family

A couple who both graduated from Furness College on the same day were joined by family who flew more than 8,000 miles to help celebrate their achievements.

Andries Venter and his wife Lyndsay crossed the stage at sixth form this month to receive their degrees in front of visiting family from South Africa and their young daughters.

Andries’ proud parents Louis and Hendrietta had planned a visit from their home in Johannesburg and attended the glittering event alongside their granddaughters seven-year-old Clara and four-year-old Violet.

Lyndsay, who works at Chetwynde School, received an honours degree in education and professional studies which is awarded by the University of Central Lancashire.

“It was really special, especially to have my husband’s family who had come so far and to have our daughters there to see that the hard work had paid off,” she said.

“My in-laws had only arrived the day before after travelling for 24 hours via Dubai. They had not seen the girls for four years because of Covid and we were delighted that their trip was a chance for them to see us graduate.

“They said they were really proud to see what had been achieved, especially as Andries’ first language is Afrikaans so he achieved a degree in his second language.

“It was a balancing act working and studying with children but we tried to do our work in the evening when they were in bed.”

Lyndsay, who met Andries when he moved to Barrow to play at Furness Rugby Club, will now progress from her role as a teaching assistant to do a PGCE teaching apprenticeship at Chetwynde, which is part of South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust.

Andries, who now works at Kimberly Clark, achieved a foundation degree in project management from the University of Cumbria. He said he was overwhelmed and incredibly happy to graduate.

“We have both worked locally and studied whilst raising our young family. The tutors have been helpful, and provided a great amount of information and support throughout my time here. I feel proud to have used my degree to secure my current position at work.”

Director of Curriculum, Technical and Higher Education Kate Colebourn, who presided over the ceremony, said: “In the years that our graduation has been running, I think this is the furthest someone has travelled to be there for the big moment. We are delighted that Andries and Lyndsay were able to share the day with their family.

“At Furness College we know higher level qualifications take hard work, determination and the support of friends and family – all while balancing the demands of everyday life.  The students graduating have shown that it is not only possible but enjoyable and rewarding.”


South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust
South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust
South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust
c/o Chetwynde School Croslands
Rating Lane, Barrow-in-Furness
Cumbria LA13 0NY

Tel: 01229 824 210

Company number 13414087 registered in England.
South Cumbria Multi-Academy Trust