Motherwell student set to achieve her childhood dream

Vice-principal Ann Baxter presents two awards to Gemma Graham.
Vice-principal Ann Baxter presents two awards to Gemma Graham.

A Legal Services graduate from New College Lanarkshire is well on her way to achieving her childhood dream of becoming a lawyer.

Gemma Graham was one of more than 600 students honoured at the college’s annual awards ceremony at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall recently.

The 22-year-old from Motherwell made two trips to the stage – firstly to pick up a HND Legal Services diploma, and secondly to accept two special awards for her academic achievements.

The former Dalziel High School pupil was presented with one of only three SQA Awards for achieving 100 per cent in the Graded Unit exam.

She also received the Eleanor Lafferty Award for Achievement, which was set up in memory of a much-loved Law lecturer.

Gemma spent three consecutive years studying at New College Lanarkshire’s Motherwell Campus, first enrolling on NQ Introduction to Law in August 2016, followed by HNC Legal Services in 2017 and HND Legal Services in 2018.

She has now progressed to studying for a law degree at the University of Strathclyde.

Gemma said: “I thought starting at NQ level was good because it’s a more gradual learning experience – and you don’t really study anything to do with law at school.

“It was a good progression doing those three courses at New College Lanarkshire – I really enjoyed them.

“The support from the lecturers, and Ciaran O’Neill especially, was amazing – if you ever had anything that you needed help with, they always had time and they were really helpful.

“My goal is to hopefully become a solicitor; to do a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice and two-year traineeship and then just see from there what kind of law I want to do.

“Even when I was a wee girl, my mum said I wanted to wear a wig like a judge or a sheriff, and that this was the path that I always wanted to take.”

Lecturer Ciaran O’Neill commented: “In her three years at the college, Gemma matured greatly as a person and student.

“She exhibited many of the attributes that will stand her in great stead for what lies ahead – tenacity, self-discipline, self-belief and good, old-fashioned hard work.

“She was very deserving of her place at Strathclyde University Law School, where we wish her every continued success with her studies.”