Celebrating Success 2020 - Honor Davison

Honor Davison - Early Years, Health and Social Care Student of the Year (Southend) and Student of the Year

Honor Davison was crowned overall Student of the Year at this year’s Celebrating Success ceremony.  Honor from Rayleigh studies Level 3 Health and Care at the college’s Southend Campus.

She was nominated for her development and improvement during the course. She started college as a very shy individual with some of her assignments needing lots of work and to be resubmitted.

Fast forward two years, she’s made a great group of friends within the cohort and flourished personally and academically. She’s on track for top grades and on the road to university.

Her lecturer said: “Honor consistently shows a desire to use feedback to develop her efforts. Her achievements are due to her superb effort, attitude and general approach to education.

“She has overcome the adversity of being knocked and failing, never once complaining or moaning, she just gets on with it. Honor is a genuinely lovely student to teach.”

Honor said: “I was very surprised to win, even to be nominated. I’m happy and proud of myself.

“I really enjoyed my time at college, it helped me grow my confidence and I met new friends that I’m sure I will still have for many years to come. I now plan to go to university to study adult nursing.”

Success stories

Lisa D’Auria and Amy Cassen

Lisa D’Auria and Amy Cassen

Course studied

Early Years Care and Education BA (Hons)

I highly recommend early years. Knowing that you have changed that child’s life.

Lisa D’Auria, Owner of Rocking Horse Childcare (Mother) and Amy Cassen, Manager of Rocking Horse Childcare (Daughter).

My name is Lisa D’Auria, the Owner of Rocking Horse Childcare and my name is Amy Cassen, the Manager of Rocking Horse Childcare.

I chose to study at the college because my daughter, Amy had done her first year of university degree. After looking at her module, I thought that I could do that. I was unsure being a mature student, so I got in touch with Maria Cruikshank and spoke to her about the degree and then decided to give it a go.

It was close to where I lived at the time because I lived at home. I didn’t want to go away for university because I felt like I needed that extra support from home, and I had also been to the tour. I got to speak to the staff and the staff were so friendly.

I would highly recommend university. As a mature student, the support I was able to give other students. Knowledge and experiences I already had that maybe they hadn’t. There were also things they knew that I hadn’t, that combination was brilliant.

The tutors were everything there, Maria she was amazing. They made you think about why you’re doing it and that filtered down to the assignments. That carried on throughout my career, because that’s when I decided to do my PGCE and was successful in doing it. I understood my purpose. The tutors on my course were incredibly supportive.

I enjoyed the whole experience. Coming from early years for so many years and coming from different sectors within that, there was so much I missed and so much building-blocks there and I wanted the underpinning knowledge. That’s what I got from the course.

After I finished my degree, I left early years for a while and went into finance because we all know that the sector isn’t funded well. It was because I didn’t know directly what I wanted in early years at the time, so I had to take a step back and think about it. I didn’t last very long out of the sector, so I went straight back to it. I did my QTS in Teaching and that came from my Early Years degree because I loved the learning and development side, so I wanted to take that further. I did all of those, got into teaching and absolutely loved it, but I still have a passion for the early years side of it. In all honesty, that’s grown me as a person, because coming back to early years with all that knowledge has solidified my passion for it.

After I left the degree, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go but maybe going into accessing. I had been a mentor for the students within the degree, and I liked that way of helping others. I looked into assessing for a while, but I loved being with the children. After going back into nursery, I then started up my own childcare business and Rocking Horse Childcare was born.

Now I’m managing our new setting at Rocking Horse Childcare, working alongside my Mum which is lovely. We took the decision from that we both always loved early years, that’s why I taught because of my Mum. She’s worked within that all her life, that’s all I’ve ever known, and it just worked out. The timing was right, and we wanted to do it together. We’ve both got ideas that we wanted to imbed. Where I said that university empowered us, we felt confident in putting these practises into place.

The early years needs a lot more support in recruiting staff. I love every aspect in being here at work. I love early years, I’m passionate about early years and I like helping little ones achieve. The slightest thing you see, a crawl, a first word, to threading to jumping, it’s all those things that you know that you’ve been part of that process for that child.

I highly recommend early years. Knowing that you have changed that child’s life. It doesn’t always seem like it, but you are. Everything you do in the way you talk to them and the way you’re supporting those families. The tiniest things can have a huge impact and you grow as a person, so I would highly recommend even just chatting to the tutors, just go.  

Leah Horton My Story

Leah Horton My Story

Course studied

Early Years Care and Education BA (Hons)

My time at the university helped me gain confidence and persistence. With my greatest achievement being achieving a 2:1 in my dissertation. 

My name is Leah Horton, I am 21 years old, I studied Early Years Education at University Centre South Essex from 2020 until 2023 and this is my story.

Before starting at UCSE, I had just dropped out of Winchester University after a short period of time, as I felt homesick and was unsure of the course. I was then accepted into UCSE at the very last minute and have been grateful for having this opportunity. I chose to study at South Essex College as I was able to commute from home. When looking at the course, it was suited to the career I originally wanted to do, whilst also having brilliant reviews. 

My time at UCSE prepared me for the workplace as it made me understand that to achieve and succeed in life, you have to work hard for it. The best thing about doing higher education is the rewarding feeling you get once you have completed everything at the best standard you possibly could have. I have gained lots of confidence during my time at the university, whilst also gaining organisation skills, both in which I will use in the workplace. 

My favourite memory of being at the university is when my friends and I would walk down to the beach at lunchtime and eat the donuts! After finishing my degree, I applied for many jobs, and participated in online courses to ensure I got a job in the industry I wished to work in. I have been lucky enough to have been given a job in a Lloyd’s Syndicate in the City, at my dream company, Munich Re.

My official title will be a Claims Delegated Authority Assistant, where I will be assisting the claims team in various tasks including the day-to-day admin. I have had no experience in this industry, however, I was proactive in searching for jobs and completing free courses to gain a better understanding of the industry. 

My tutor at UCSE, Maria helped me to achieve the grades I have achieved in all of my assignments, whilst also helping me to understand what it was that I actually wanted to do as a career, and for that, I couldn’t recommend UCSE enough. Maria helped me grow as a person and gain lots of confidence. My time at the university helped me gain confidence and persistence. With my greatest achievement being achieving a 2:1 in my dissertation. 

n the future, I hope to progress through insurance and to gain my CII certification.

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.