Kick start your career in Creative Media

If you are interested in a career in Media then South Essex College has a wide range of courses on offer to start you on your journey.

Whether your interest lies in computer games design, animation, film, television or journalism, our Media department are able to equip you with the skills required for your chosen field.

Our courses aim to give you a taste of what it is like to work in the media industry and ensure that you are setup with the right skills base and portfolio to progress onto University or Employment. We offer a number of qualifications in Media right up to degree level at our University Centre, with opportunities for entry at all levels.

Success stories

Jordan Smee My Story

Jordan Smee My Story

Course studied

My greatest achievement so far has been my interview with Lv.80, it was an unexpected surprise as I wasn’t ready for the project I had released at that point to gain so much traction and gain their attention

My name is Jordan Smee, I am 25 years old, I studied Computer Games Development at University Centre South Essex from 2018 until 2020 and this is my story.

I was born and raised in Essex to a middle class family, in the countryside of the Dengie Area.

During my time at the college between 2015-2017 while I was doing my two years BTEC course, I was encouraged by the head of the games course at the time to consider staying on at the college to continue into the university course, and after reviewing a number of options within other universities I decided to heed that advice, as at the time the university offered a more broad course structure to some of the others which had more narrow and closely defined subjects. This was useful because at the time of choosing I had little real knowledge of the industry and didn’t know where I wanted to go within it.

During my time at the university, I had a genuinely great experience. From the moment I joined, to the moment I left, I was supported by both the tutors and by my peers, and although I ended my time at the university at home due to the pandemic. Before that time I learned plenty and grew both as a creative and as a person.

The course lead was phenomenal at ensuring we were as prepared as possible, and taking a technical minded focus enabled me, who granted was more artist focused, to broaden my skillset and give me a chance to learn and explore other avenues within game development that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to learn or capitalise on. In tandem to this, the events and industry connection we had and used in our visit to Bossa Studio did a great job and keeping me invested and in tune with some of the expectations people were expecting from within the industry.

Within my time at the university I was given the chance to broaden my skillset and explore the various different ways in which games can be made and how to approach that. The course primarily takes a technical focus the game development and so coding, tools programming etc. take presidency but it doesn’t mean we were limited to these points, instead these were usually pathways to lead us to explore other options, coding could lead into shader creation and understanding the mix between technical and artistic pursuit, tools programming gave us faster pipelines which could be expanded to create generative tools in Blender or Maya.

These skills have given me a solid baseline upon which I can now specialise and focus in on the parts of my industry that I love, and with those other skills in toe it means I am a more capable developer and can aid in more cases than I can’t and I wouldn’t be able to do that without the time I had to gain those skills.

Since completing my course at the university I have gone on to publish an interview of my work and process in a well-known game development website and organisation that help to share information around the industry from development logs to interviews. I have also gone on to work with Surgent Studios a transmedia company that is currently working in partnership with EA Originals on an unannounced video game project.

I also recently joined the Grads in Games organisation as an industry advocate, helping to get more up and coming graduates into the industry.

I am currently working with Surgent Studios. I am a technical artist which requires me to act as the bridge between both the programming/design teams and the art team. This means that I will be doing a variety of shader creation, tool generation for artists, optimisation of assets and materials alongside implementations and blueprint work to ensure visual consistency. I have also recently taken on a number of VFX pieces, and thus in that I also create new VFX for various aspects of our game.

I had previously worked freelance both at an indie company and a modding project, Black Clover Games and Beyond Skyrim. From there I did some minor contract work and during the spring of 2021 I was approached for the position of Technical Artist for Surgent and applied and was lucky enough to get into the company.

Doing higher education means you can gain a better understanding and a broaden your skills for the industry you want. Additionally, if your course is able and can get you to industry events, these events can enable you to make numerous connections within the fields you are aiming for. I’ve known a number of current and past students already in the short time I’ve been in the industry who know a number of my colleagues due to events they’ve been able to go to, and I know that this has enabled those students to progress further than those who have not made those connections.

I also think for those who do pursue further or higher education, the education itself should inspire you to do additional work on yourself at home or wherever you are. Courses can only teach so much and while that could be seen as a negative, it can also be an impetus for a student to go on and learn things that have been missed or get answers to questions that the subject just doesn’t or can’t answer yet.

My time at the university really helped my confidence, I have never been the most confident person in the world, but being able to chat with other people who shared my interests but could also be critical of my work and enable me to keep growing both as a creative and a person, it massively helped me figure out myself and where I wanted to be in the fields I was interested in.

I’d recommend the UCSE for those who want to gain a baseline skillset that could enable them to specialise in any field that then takes their interest. Having an overall understanding of your subject will let you more accurately decide what area you want to pursue.

My greatest achievement so far has been my interview with Lv.80, it was an unexpected surprise as I wasn’t ready for the project I had released at that point to gain so much traction and gain their attention. The interview was great and I’m very proud of the published work.

I’m looking forward to the eventual release of the project I’m working on now, and in the future I plan to continue to just make interesting and exciting games that will give people new experiences.

Chloe Wade

My confidence has boosted massively and my work is recognised here. Last year I won who wants to be an entrepreneur and student of the year in business and logistics

South Essex College Group student, Chloe Wade, has been accepted as an Apprentice Marketing Executive for the BBC in White City.

Chloe is currently studying Level 3 Interactive Digital Media. She previously studied business at the college before swapping over to the Digital Media course. Other colleges didn’t supply the course she was looking for, and she felt that South Essex College Group provided the perfect environment and location to suit her needs.

Chloe applied for the apprentice position on Boxing day in December 2022 after finding the advert on Indeed. The interview process took six months and there were six different stages of the interview. Originally, there was supposed to be only five stages, however towards the end on the interview process it was whittled down to Chloe and another candidate so the BBC added an extra interview on top. The role is for a Marketing Executive Level 4 for 18 months, as well as being full-time with one day-a-week apprentice study through the online external provider.

When asked about the support from tutors, Chloe said: “They were all so encouraging, as each stage went on I informed my tutors. Darren who teachers audience theory, was so interested and excited, he was helping me prepare for everything and teaching me certain areas such as core values to put me ahead of everyone. They were so supportive, and I don’t think I would of got this far without their help.”

Chloe enjoys the flexibility at the college and secured work experience at which she created content for a zen and holistic company. She said: “The college offers such a variety of courses and freedom. 

“The courses are structured, but you get freedom as well, for example for my final project I chose to rebrand a cosmetic palette, where as another student created a music video. You all have the same criteria but freedom too. If you are worried, try it and give it a shot, the opportunities here are so wide.” 

She added: “My confidence has boosted massively and my work is recognised here. Last year I won who wants to be an entrepreneur and student of the year in business and logistics. My work recognised given me a boost. I work really hard and I’m so proud of how far I have come. The college appreciates you as an individual and gives you praise when you do work really hard.”
Chloe hopes to have her own business one day, in marketing, doing social media and content creating. As well as hoping to study Level 5 and 6 at the BBC.

Ethan Khumalo

Ethan hopes to produce music in games production as a career and performs rap and hip hop as well as his studio work. His final message to anyone struggling with autism or any mental health issue is: “Remember it’s okay to be not okay.”

South Essex College student Ethan Khumalo, 20, from Southend on Sea has taken part in a BBC documentary series ‘Inside Our Autistic Minds’, which is presented by wildlife expert Chris Packham who himself lives with autism.

Ethan studies Games Design at the college’s Centre for Digital technologies in Basildon and has progressed from a Level 2 course through to currently studying for a degree. Ethan was asked to participate through his involvement in the Anna Kennedy Online charity which aims to raise autism awareness.

Ethan said that he enjoyed the whole filming process and that Chris Packham was really down-to-earth. He commented: “I learned a lot about how TV crews work and really got along with Chris. I am really excited about the show.”


Talking of his autism, Ethan explained that he prepared in advance before attempting his studies. He said: “With autism and other mental health issues preparation makes you feel more comfortable and you have to make the best of your abilities. You have good days and bad days the same as anyone but personally, If I have moments where it doesn’t go so well, music helps me.”

Ethan’s tutor, Rama Maccha said: Ethan is a dedicated and committed student who never misses a deadline. He is wonderful with sound and has helped younger students with their projects.”

Rathi Raman, the Head Basildon Town Centre Campus (BTC) would like to thank all the staff and students who volunteered to take part in this filming, and to the Estates team at Basildon Campus for providing hospitality to Chris Peckham and the BBC crew on the day of filming.

Ethan hopes to produce music in games production as a career and performs rap and hip hop as well as his studio work. His final message to anyone struggling with autism or any mental health issue is: “Remember it’s okay to be not okay.”

To watch the episode, follow the below link:

For more information on the Anna Kennedy charity, visit the below: