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Welcome to South Essex College of Further and Higher Education. Our vision is an ambitious one: we aim to provide outstanding education and skills training across our campuses in Basildon, Southend and Thurrock.

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1 day 12 hours ago

Study by the sea! #HE courses available @SouthEssexColl Come find out more at today's open event @ForumSouthend

My story Steve Lovell
Sports Studies BSc (Hons)

Steve Lovell
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Hello my name is Steve Lovell, I am 24 and this is my story.

I did a BTEC Level 3 Sports Coaching, Development & Fitness at South Essex College and I'm about to finish the final year of my sports degree at Southend University. I came to South Essex College in 2008 with no qualifications, having attended St Christopher’s School for my secondary education. I have Asperger’s syndrome and dyspraxia, and wasn't sure whether I should have taken up a course in life skills or choose the sports course that I really fancied.

People doubted that I would cope with the pressure but I managed to complete the first year. It was then discussed whether I should leave then with a sense of achievement or to return for the second year course, when I could have found it too stressful and lose confidence in my abilities.

I decided to give it a try and achieved a distinction. By now, my Asperger’s was beginning to help me as I was totally absorbed in the course and had to make sure that I was prepared and on time for all my assignments.

Once again, when I had passed the second year, there was confusion as to whether the course was getting too tough for my abilities for the third and fourth years, but by then I was living and breathing sport. I was desperate to play football and made four attempts at breaking into the College football team in four years but all ended in failure, however on a positive note, I went on to achieve my qualification of triple * distinction in BTEC Level 3 Sports Coaching, Development and Fitness.

One of my proudest moments was when I achieved Sports Student of the year, and was then encouraged to go on to university which was something I'd never thought of in my dreams. However, not everyone was sure I would cope without my level 2 English & maths and so I was given all the support needed to help me pass. I failed in my first attempt at English by one mark and felt gutted! But I was luckier with my maths when after three months of sleepless nights, I managed to pass. For my second attempt at my English exam, I knew time was running out and was under a lot of pressure. On the day that the Olympic torch came to Basildon, I was sitting my English exam there. While waiting for the results, the examiner walked past and casually mentioned I had passed, which gave way to a lot of erupted screaming and crying (my mother, not me).

Onwards to Southend University, which proved to be more of a challenge and made me think about quitting but decided to stick it out to Christmas. During this time, I'll be eternally grateful to my then tutor, David Blainey, who with much persuasion (remember I’d had four failed trials) got me to join the Uni football team. I had no idea of the success and achievement it would bring as I went from being terrified to actually enjoying being in goal. Thanks to Dave and the team's encouragement, I couldn't believe when at the end of the year after saving two penalties in the last two games to help win us the league, I was made player of the year which I'll remember for the rest of my life. That wasn't bad for someone with weak hands, tremors and no experience of eleven-a-side football! Although we never reached those heights again, I was made captain on several occasions.

Thanks in no little way to the football, by the time it got to Christmas, I seemed to have settled into uni life. I finished my first and second years and I'm now about to finish my final year at university after what I believe to be a record seven years at Southend, from BTEC level 1 at 17 years old to a Bsc (hons) Sports Studies degree (hopefully) at 24 years old.

I'm currently a voluntary football coach at Great Wakering Colts, where I've been working for four years and now looking to do a master’s degree in strength and conditioning in the near future.

I would encourage anyone with a dream to go for it. I hardly left my bedroom when I started at College and preferred food to exercise but now I run in fun runs of eight miles and more, swim, play football up to three times a week (when not injured) and enjoy going out at the weekend.

Going to Southend college and university totally changed my life.

6 days 7 hours ago

Love studying psychology and sociology A-levels? Why not make the next step our BSc (Hons) degree #HE bit.ly/1DdJMDI

6 days 13 hours ago

It's student night at Lakeside on Wednesday 29 April!

1 day 13 hours ago

Who will be joining us for our higher education open event this morning? It starts at 11am @ForumSouthend come find out more! #HE

My story Andrew Hall
Print Media & Journalism Level 3 Diploma

Andrew Hall

My name is Andrew Hall, I am 29 years old, I studied GNVQ Intermediate Media and BND Print and Publishing at South Essex College from 2001 to 2004 and this is my story.

My background (along with most of the students I studied with) was that I studied for my GCSEs at school and when I finished I wanted to study something that excited me. I chose to study at South Essex College because I felt the College would give me a better understanding of the field I wanted to investigate. College prepared me for the workplace by making me able to talk to people from all backgrounds. It taught me to know when I should speak and when to listen, when to fight my corner to the bitter end or when I should admit defeat. I learnt that stuff happens - the good and the bad - but what happens next is just as important. If something bad happens you have to pick yourself off the floor, dust yourself off and keep going.

Since completing my course I have had a range of jobs such as working at Essex County Council and Chelmsford City Council. In 2010, I started working on my young adult book reviewing blog called The Pewter Wolf (http://thepewterwolf.blogspot.co.uk).

For the Pewter Wolf blog I read and review books and then give an honest reaction to the blog readers. I fell into being a book blogger by sheer fluke. I was unemployed and while looking for work I started reading and then writing my thoughts on the book I read online. I didn’t think anything of it when I started, but then publishers and authors talked to me and invited me to blogger events, sending me books in exchange for an honest review and I found myself being part of the book blogger community. At College I learnt different things that made me have a much better understanding of the field I was entering which is hugely important now when I write The Pewter Wolf. Just because I don’t use the equipment I learnt on at College doesn’t mean they haven’t been useful in my life now. It’s how you use those skills that is important.

The great thing about doing further education was that I studied the field that I was interested in. No one told me I had to. I wanted to learn about the world of media and then later the world of publishing. Because I wanted this knowledge I made myself learn it and I had to put the work in. The skills I learnt at College have helped me in both my professional and private life. The College taught me that it is important to listen to my work colleagues and work with them and there are also times when I must use my skills to work alone. It also taught me to voice my thoughts over possible ideas and to ask questions - no matter how big or small they are.

I think my favourite memory of being at College was my first day. I remember the excitement and nerves over what was going to happen next. Meeting my fellow classmates, who felt exactly the same as me as no one knew what was going to happen next. Then getting straight into it. That, I think, is my fave memory. Earlier this year The Pewter Wolf was nominated for three awards with the UKYA Blogger Awards. These awards are the first (to my knowledge) to be supported by publishers and recognise the hard work that book bloggers do. I won one award; Blogger’s Blogger, which is a huge honour as I still feel like I am faking my way through reviewing books at times.

My ambition is to keep working hard at The Pewter Wolf and continue reading books so that my review may make one person think: “That sounds like something I like”, and discover a book or author that they love. I feel that my time at the College built my confidence up and it was the start of me getting comfortable in my own skin. College was the kick I needed to realise that I didn’t need to please everyone. I had to please myself and make myself happy. It took a long time to get there (and I think we all have a long way to go) but College was very much the starting block! I would recommend South Essex College because it gave me space to grow. Not just in what I was learning, but personally as well.

1 week 2 days ago

Thinking of higher education? Fancy studying in #Southend or #Thurrock? Watch our new #HE film to learn more www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOvb0QCMj_Y

2 days 3 hours ago

@SouthEssexColl BA End of Year Screening. Student films at Odeon Southend for free. 18.5.15 - t.co/pIGfUH8VMT t.co/pwC0ZNKjgq

My story Sam Lovell
Early Years Education BA (Hons)

Sam Lovell

My name is Sam Lovell, I am 29 and am studying Early Years education at South Essex College.

I was in Full-time employment before coming to the College. I worked in the banking industry for ten years. I chose to move away from banking because it wasn’t the career that I anticipated and I felt it was time to make a change and try my hand at something else. The Early Years Education course really appealed to me because I thought it would be a very rewarding career to get into. I chose to study at South Essex College because the facilities are great and my tutors have been brilliant - very supportive, very knowledgeable and they are always on hand if you have any difficulties with the modules.

So far I have gained a wide range of skills anything from organisational skills to time management and I am much more aware of how important it is to read around a subject. I am hoping to achieve a degree In Early Years education which will then provide a platform for me to move into primary school teaching.

The biggest challenge for me with moving to full-time education from full-time employment was the financial side as I have always been used to having a regular steady income. Since I have started university this has been not so much the case but it is not unmanageable and is something I have gotten used to fairly quickly.

I would definitely recommend south Essex College to other people: the facilities are great and I have met some really good people.