A mother and son from Wigan celebrated their joint graduation from the HND Fashion Design course at the University Centre, Wigan & Leigh College.

Karrie and Jacob Connolly, who were in the same class, secured distinction grades and celebrated at the Graduation Ceremony at All Saints Parish Church.

The pair, who share a mutual interest in fashion, decided to enrol on an evening course in pattern cutting in 2014 at Wigan & Leigh College where Jacob’s talent was quickly picked up his tutor.

Karrie, aged 41, said: “We started evening classes to learn how to make skirts and trousers.When our tutor, Dawn Cunningham, saw Jacob’s work she said he could be doing so much more.Within a week he had started a full-time BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma course in Fashion.”

While Jacob, 22, studied as a full-time student, his mum continued evening classes in garment design.Two years later they both signed up for the HNC/HND in Fashion.

Since starting her studies as a hobby, Karrie has taken the life changing decision to quit her job as a financial compliance officer and follow a new career path.

The unlikely student pair were apprehensive about starting their higher level study together.

“We thought it might be a bit awkward but it really wasn’t”, said Karrie.

“We had a bit of family rivalry but really that was just in terms of trying to beat each other’s grades.We are really different in terms of our designs.”

Jacob, a former Hawkley Hall High School pupil, has long-term ambitions in the fashion industry.

He said: “At the moment I just want to achieve my degree. But one day I would love to start my own business.”

The fashion family members have started a Top-up Degree - BA (Hons) Fashion Design at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and are once again in the same group.

Karrie added: “The tutors at the University Centre Wigan & Leigh College were amazing.We had lots of one- to-one time as the class sizes are quite small.We have had a fantastic preparation for our degree study at UCLan.

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