Celebrating Success 2020 - Taylor Armstrong

Taylor Armstrong - Sport and Public Services Student of the Year (Southend Campus)

Taylor Armstrong from Wickford studies Level 3 Football Academy at the college’s Southend Campus.

Taylor was instrumental in the 2019-20 season, helping the Football Academy team finish in their highest ever position in The National u19 League. He has also been awarded a first team contract with Concord Rangers Football Club due to his dedication and skills shown when playing for the college squad.

Taylor said: “I feel really proud and privileged to be nominated for such a big award but to win feels incredible. I’m very grateful and I really enjoyed my time at college.”

Success stories

Celebrating Success 2022: Luke Lambert

Celebrating Success 2022: Luke Lambert

Course studied

Performing and Production Arts (Musical Theatre) Level 3 Extended Diploma

I have enjoyed receiving honest feedback and having the opportunity to grow as a performer. Tutors really encourage their students.

Performing Arts Student of the Year, Luke Lambert, has won his award because in every respect, his development and improvement has been outstanding.

Luke said that he feels extremely proud and grateful for the recognition. 

He said: “I chose to study at the college because I went to the open day with my parents. We were all really excited by the course and impressed by Richard and his ambition for his students.”

He added: “The course has been great for learning professional etiquette, as well as the actual training. I have enjoyed receiving honest feedback and having the opportunity to grow as a performer. Richard and Neil really encourage their students.” 

Luke’s tutor said: “Luke is an outstanding student. The development of his skills set during his time at this college is phenomenal which has been rewarded by casting him in the lead of the cohorts FMP production of ‘Spring Awakening’. As a result of his continuous diligence and want to improve, he has achieved offers from four top London Drama Schools to study Musical Theatre, Bird College, Arts Educational, Italia Conti and Guildford Conservatoire (GSA). This is far above what was expected at the beginning of his training. 

“He has demonstrated that he is highly motivated to succeed in this industry and aspires to always do his best. He is polite and well-mannered at all times to both his peers and his tutors. He is extremely well respected  by his cohort. He is always supportive of them and goes out of his way to help them. 

“He has become a very influential member of the group in so many positive ways. Behaviour, focus and attention to detail is impeccable and cannot be faulted. He has met every deadline for both practical and academic tasks. A faultless time at this college.”

Luke will be studying for a BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre at ArtsEd in London from September and his ultimate ambition is to be performing leading roles in the West End. 
 

Celebrating Success 2022: Zoe Souto

Celebrating Success 2022: Zoe Souto

Course studied

Animal Care Level 2 Diploma

Zoe Souto, 17, from Rayleigh, studied Level 2 Animal Care at the college’s Southend campus.

She was nominated for the award for her excellent attendance and attitude to college life and for completing work before deadlines to a very high standard.

Her tutor said: “Zoe is a very calming influence on the group. She keeps up-to-date with all work and goes above and beyond what is expected.

“Zoe may be hearing impaired but she never lets that act as a barrier to her learning and does everything to a great standard. I often have to set her work from level 3 to keep her ticking over.”

Zoe said: “I feel so proud of myself and surprised as I didn’t expect to be nominated, let alone win. I enjoyed all the support that was given during my course and have always been made to feel at home at the college.”

Zoe’s ambition for the future is to run her own pet services business or run her own cattery.
 

Celebrating Success 2022: Stefan Vijan

Celebrating Success 2022: Stefan Vijan

Course studied

IT Level 3 Extended Diploma

Students are given opportunities, staff are friendly and highly experienced and you receive the help you need

Stefan Vijan, 18, from Basildon, studied the Level 3 Information Creative Technology Diploma at the Centre for Digital Technologies Campus in Basildon.

He was nominated for the award for his commitment to his studies and for going out of his way to support other students in the group.

His tutor said: “Stefan is a very able student who consistently challenges himself and always strives to achieve the top grades. I know that his commitment to his studies will pay off and we look forward to hearing about his future successes.”

Stefan chose to study at South Essex College because of the new technologies and opportunities at the college as well as other important factors such as distance and course schedule. 

He said: “I have enjoyed the practical side of my course. I was able to develop practical knowledge within IT, and was able to use my creativity to make programs, devices, and websites. I believe this wouldn't have been possible in another college or a sixth form, thus making me choose this course.

“I would recommend South Essex College because it is a great college. Students are given opportunities, staff are friendly and highly experienced and you receive the help you need.”

Stefan’s ambition is to land a job within in the industry, and from there, work hard until he reaches his goal of working in management. 
 

Celebrating Success 2022: Sophie Peacock

Celebrating Success 2022: Sophie Peacock

Course studied

Creative Media Production (Television and Film Production) Level 3 Extended Diploma

I would definitely recommend South Essex College to those are who are looking for somewhere to be themselves and find their true passion.

Sophie Peacock, 17, from Billericay, studied the Level 3 Creative Media (Television and Film) Diploma at the college’s Southend campus.

She was nominated for the award for her good level of organisation and commitment to every task as well as being a mature, professional and articulate student. 

Her tutor said: “Sophie takes advantage of every opportunity available to her both in college and outside, as she understands the value and benefits it will provide her with, in terms of networking, communicating, professionalism and improving her knowledge and skills. She is an absolute pleasure to have in the classroom and I hope she goes on to achieve great success.”
Sophie chose to study at the college because she liked the facilities that were available for her course.

She has loved the amount of creative freedom that the course has offered and being able to create any ideas and turn them into a reality with the support of her tutors.

Sophie was really proud and a little bit overwhelmed about winning the award.

She said: “I would definitely recommend South Essex College to those are who are looking for somewhere to be themselves and find their true passion.”

Sophie’s ambition for the future is to become a producer on the set of a live entertainment program. 
 

Celebrating Success 2022: Reiss Willis

Celebrating Success 2022: Reiss Willis

Course studied

Art and Design (Graphic Design) Level 3 Extended Diploma

Coming to college gave me the opportunity to make a fresh start.

Reiss Willis, from South Ockenden, studied the Level 3 Art & Design (Graphic Design) Diploma at the college’s Southend campus.

He was nominated for his positive attitude, work ethic and for producing high quality work, using digital and non-traditional methods.

His tutor said: “Reiss is a very nice individual, who is popular with the rest of the group and always eager to help other students. He should be incredibly proud of himself and his achievements because if he continues with this positive attitude and work ethic, he will have a fantastic future.”

Reiss would recommend South Essex College because of its accessibility, its support in all fields and the quality of teaching.

His greatest achievement was making a change in himself, to become more dedicated and motivated and be the ‘best version’ of himself. 

He said: “I struggled a little in school with behaviour and staying focussed so I knew coming to college was a fresh start and I could make a new impression. By completing all work to the highest quality and always completing additional work, I was able to win this award which I am very proud of.”

His plan after college is to go to Loughborough University and continue pursuing his dreams. 

His long term ambition is in graphic design where he would like to have his own firm and become a creative director, taking on jobs and rebrands for big companies.
 

Celebrating Success 2022: Mia Riley

Celebrating Success 2022: Mia Riley

Course studied

Sport and Exercise Sciences Level 3 Extended Diploma

I am so glad I chose South Essex College as it has given me the independence I needed in preparation for university

Mia Riley, 17, from Southend, studied the Level 3 Sport and Exercise Science Diploma at the college’s Southend campus.

She was nominated for her award for taking on multiple extracurricular activities and qualifications through college and putting in all her effort to every academic situation.

Her tutor said: “Mia is on track to achieve the highest grade possible for her course and has improved greatly throughout her time on the course. She is an exemplary sports student and person with a great care for education and future. We wish her all the success for the future.”

Mia liked that the students were treated as adults compared to school and that she was given more independence across the two years.

She describes herself as a shy person and said it would have been easier to stay at school, however her current course sounded a lot more challenging and pushed her out of her comfort zone. 

She said: “I feel so pleased about winning the award and feel proud to receive it. I am so glad I chose South Essex College as it has given me the independence I needed in preparation for university.”

Mia will be going to Loughborough University to study sport science, physical education and coaching, with ambitions to eventually become a PE teacher. 

Celebrating Success 2022: Lubna Shamoud

Celebrating Success 2022: Lubna Shamoud

Course studied

I would recommend the college because it opens many doors to you, and a support that accompanies you

Gateway to Vocational Learning Student of the Year, Lubna Shamoud, said winning this award was very unexpected.

She explained: “When things like this happen, you just don't know how to describe them because they are special, but I can say that I felt very fulfilled and satisfied with myself”

Lubna chose to study at South Essex College because she felt it offered her the course that most suited her.

She said: “The college makes all students feel welcome and looks after them both mentally and physically. I really like my teachers, who have been very understanding about my language situation, they have  supported me so much and I would like to send all of them a thank you from my heart.”

Lubna’s tutor said: “ Lubna is a dedicated learner who always attempts work given to her with as much energy as possible. Lubna works very hard, is always attentive and focused, and produces high quality work because of it.” 

Lubna added that 2022 has been full of success both from a personal, educational, and work point of view . 

She said: “It was full of challenges as I am living in a country with a new language, people, culture, and climate. But all this was worth it, and one of the results that proves it is precisely this award.

“I would recommend the college because it opens many doors to you, and a support that accompanies you.”

Lubna plans to start a Level 2 Health and Social Care course and also work in health or sales services. 

She said: “My ambitions for the future are many, but the concept lies in doing good for people so I would like to create a charity and become a positive influence to people .”
 

Celebrating Success 2022: Joe Carroll

Celebrating Success 2022: Joe Carroll

Course studied

Engineering Level 3 National Foundation Diploma

I would recommend South Essex College because the timetable is great for someone to get a part time job outside of college.

Engineering Student of the Year, Joe Carroll started the year as a shy student lacking confidence, however, his commitment to the course and excellent attitude towards learning has seen him start to develop into an excellent student, both in the academic areas and socially.

Joe said: “It was a good feeling to receive the award because it felt nice for my hard work to be recognised.

“The thing I like most about my course is that it's assignment based, there is a lot less stress because I know it all doesn't come down to one big exam.

“My biggest achievement so far has to be achieving a merit in my engineering principles exam.”

Joe’s tutor said: “Joe’s attitude towards learning is to be applauded and he always takes on board the feedback given to him. Joe is highly motivated and works well individually and as part  of a team within the class. Joe’s attendance and punctuality is exemplary. He achieved a well-earned merit in the external exam in January 2022 and all assignment work is submitted ahead of time and to a high standard. Joe has developed from a quiet student to a potentially skilled future engineer whose values and approach to his studies are an example to his fellow students.”

Joe said: “I would recommend South Essex College because the timetable is great for someone to get a part time job outside of college. My plan is to get an apprenticeship at British Rail as an engineer.”


Celebrating Success 2022: Sophie Wade

Celebrating Success 2022: Sophie Wade

Course studied

Graphic Design & Illustration BA (Hons)

The university centre has given me plenty of opportunities to speak with the tutors and seek feedback and support on a one-to-one basis and there is a real community feeling

Sophie Wade, from Stanford-le-Hope, is in her second year of the Graphic Design BA (Hons) course at University Centre South Essex.

She was nominated for the award for her professional manner and her proactive attitude to work. 

Sophie has many notable achievements at the university centre so far such as securing a web design work placement based in London, working at a Leigh-On-Sea based marketing agency and collaborating with the RSPB on her final second year project.

Her tutor said: “Sophie has approached her work placement unit in a professional manner since day one and her proactive manner has meant that she secured many work placement opportunities, including working with the RSPB on her own self-directed project. 

Sophie has been a really great peer mentor throughout the academic year and all her interactions with employers have helped prepare her for the professional world when she completes the course next year.”

Sophie returned to education after three years of working in local authority administration roles to embark on a new creative career path and was very nervous about starting her degree studies in 2020, but said the staff at the university could not have been more accommodating and helpful.

She said: “I feel privileged to have been selected to receive this award and I am extremely grateful to the staff across the UAL creative portfolio who have selected me as the winner.

The university centre has given me plenty of opportunities to speak with the tutors and seek feedback and support on a one-to-one basis and there is a real community feeling. I could not think of a better way to conclude my second year of study here at the university centre.”

Sophie’s ambition for the future is to embark on a career where she can combine her love for graphic design and digital technology and create solutions which make a positive difference to people's lives.
 

Celebrating Success 2022: Billy Gibbons

Celebrating Success 2022: Billy Gibbons

Course studied

Special Educational Needs and Disability Studies BA (Hons)

I would recommend people to look at University Centre South Essex, especially if you have a disability as there is good access and amazing support.

UEA Student of the Year, Billy Gibbons, won his award for his determination to succeed in spite of the challenges he faces.

Billy has significant speech and language delay, developmental delay and an auditory processing impairment. He communicates using ‘total communication’ which combines British Sign Language, lip reading, speaking and listening. He also has mild cerebral palsy affecting mainly his lower limbs.

Hi tutors have praised him for not letting barriers get in his way and for always striving to achieve his best.

Billy said he was ‘very proud’ to have won the award.

He said: “I knew I would be very committed and determined to do my very best this year and very thankful to be recognised by my tutors for this.”

Billy was quick to recognise and praise the ‘excellent’ support he is receiving, which was one of the reasons he chose to study at the university centre.

He added: “I wanted to study at University Centre South Essex because there was opportunity for me to keep the fantastic support I had had during my time on my Further Education course at the college.

“I would recommend people to look at University Centre South Essex, especially if you have a disability as there is good access and amazing support.

Billy’s ambition is to complete his degree, something he has been working towards and dreaming of since he was young.

He said he also wants to become a role model for other students who believe they can’t go to university when in fact they can. 

Celebrating Success 2022: Amy Slade

Celebrating Success 2022: Amy Slade

Course studied

Hair and Makeup Design and Application for Production FdA

The university centre feels more like a family environment; you get the opportunity to collaborate with other students from other courses as well as work with people who are a part of the industry.

UAL Student of the Year, Amy Slade has won the award for overcoming severe anxiety and showing impeccable determination.

Amy said she chose the course because there are units in it that are not included in other universities and they focus on what is needed in the industry.

She said: “I am surprised but happy to get this award, I enjoyed the course because of the concept of studying with a smaller group of students. You also get more one-to-one time with your lecturers for when you need help with your work or somebody to talk to.
I had the creative freedom to explore the units independently and include my own personal interests in my assessments.”

Amy’s tutor said: “Amy suffered with severe anxiety before attending our course and her skills were of a low standard for industry. Since September, she has embraced all wellbeing sessions with confidence and success, she has picked up all hair techniques, including the advanced techniques within six weeks. She has embraced every challenge that has been thrown her way, so much so, she has completed five work experience placements where all other students have declined them.

“Her attitude and drive has to be commended, as her confidence has soared, we are all extremely proud and it is a joy to watch her truly blossom In this short amount of time. It’s like she is a new person – it’s truly amazing.”

Amy feels that completing her first year having had the opportunities to collaborate with other students for their own personal projects as well as industry work experience has been her greatest achievement.

She added: “The university centre feels more like a family environment; you get the opportunity to collaborate with other students from other courses as well as work with people who are a part of the industry. In the future I would like to travel and to try to find my way in the industry to secure a career as a hair and makeup artist; particularly for film, TV and music.”

Celebrating Success 2022: George Humphries

Celebrating Success 2022: George Humphries

Course studied

Health and Social Care Level 2 Extended Diploma

I would recommend South Essex College because it is a good college to go to and you get to make friends and learn about the different courses.

Health & Social Care Student of the Year, George Humphries has strived to remove barriers to learning and has worked towards achieving high standards despite finding assignments difficult.

George says he feels great about winning the award and that he chose to study at South Essex College because he had a choice of many different courses.

He said: “I like learning new things in my course and my greatest achievements have been starting the course and meeting new friends who I did not know before.”

His tutor said: “George is a kind and caring student, who also shows concern for his fellow peers and also tries to help with class activities and offering advice. George has overcome any barriers that have been thrown at him and has constantly succeeded in anything he does. He is an inspiration to us all and I cannot wait for him to succeed in the health and social care profession. 

George said he would recommend South Essex College because it is a good college to go to and you get to make friends and learn about the different courses.

He added: “My ambition when I finish my course is to stay on for another year of college and then to either get an apprenticeship, or to be able to work in a hospital as a porter or work in a school.”

His tutor said: “Overall George has made outstanding progress and I wish him every success for the future. Well done George!”

Celebrating Success 2022: Jamie Murphy

Celebrating Success 2022: Jamie Murphy

Course studied

Professional Cookery Level 2 Diploma

I was able to not only study the course that I love, but I also met other students who were just as passionate about the course

Jamie received the Hospitality & Catering Student of the Year award because she has proved to be an excellent student, progressing from level 2 to the level 3 qualification achieving high grades throughout.

Jamie said she chose to study at South Essex College because it not only widened what course she could choose but it offered the one course that she is in love with. 

She said: “I feel absolutely thrilled to be receiving this award. What I enjoyed most was that I was able to not only study the course that I love, but I also met other students who were just as passionate about the course. I was able to connect with them with the same level of passion for the hospitality industry and shared all the unique dishes that we made throughout the years together. 

Jamie’s tutor said: “In her final year she is the only student from her group selected to represent the college in a national competition, showing enthusiasm and flare in all aspects of her practice. Jamie works at the Roslin part-time where she is a valued member of staff.

She has shown commitment to the course and the competition she is about to take part in. Her attendance and punctuality are outstanding at 100%, her behaviour is excellent showing great respect to her peers. She is an aspirational student to all around her.”

Jamie added: “The greatest achievement I have so far has to be winning silver at the Junior Pasta Competition in March 2022. South Essex College not only give you the opportunity to find the perfect course for you and your passions, but they also help you to achieve many things and help you when it comes to getting into your chosen career. 

“When I finish my course this year, I am hoping to be enrolling onto a further course to help me get the qualifications to become a teacher because in the future I would love to not only be teaching students how to become chefs but also pass on my knowledge and skills from my experiences in the industry onto them.”

Celebrating Success 2022: Harry Wilson

Celebrating Success 2022: Harry Wilson

Course studied

Carpentry and Joinery (Site Joinery) Level 2 Diploma

I like my course because I get to use the high quality power tools and equipment in the workshop which give me a wide range of skills which will help to further my progress in this trade.

Construction Student of the Year, Harry Wilson won the award because he has proved to be a fantastic worker.
Harry chose to study at the college because he had an interest in carpentry and after looking on the college’s website he saw that there were good facilities and it was local to where he lives.

He said: “I was very surprised to hear that I had won Construction Student of the Year as I was unaware that I had even been put forward for such an award, however on hearing that I had won I felt very proud and overjoyed. I like my course because I get to use the high quality power tools and equipment in the workshop which give me a wide range of skills which will help to further my progress in this trade.”

Harry’s tutor said: “Harry has been outstanding in all areas. His work has gained him a distinction because he takes his time and enjoys his work. Harry is a fantastic worker.”

Harry commented: “From the theory side of the course we get to learn about a wide range of different topics including health & safety, principles of work and topics just specific to carpentry such as how to use different tools and different materials.  From the practical side we get to learn how to use said tools hands-on and how to use different types of materials for certain projects, which I find very interesting as I will need to know this for when I am on site.

“My greatest achievement so far has been building my frame as part of my end of year assessment, I was granted a distinction.”
Harry hopes to gain a Level 2 Apprenticeship and eventually become a fully qualified carpenter.

He said: “I would like to teach others the skills and knowledge that I have been taught.”

Celebrating Success 2022: Emma Groom

Celebrating Success 2022: Emma Groom

Course studied

Forensics and Criminal Investigation Level 3 Extended Diploma

I gained a lot of knowledge on how criminal cases are analysed and the process that it goes through when taken to court.

High-achieving and dedicated Science Student of the Year, Emma Groom, is on course to follow her dream after securing a place to study Forensic Anthropology at Dundee University.

The 18-year-old has excelled in her Forensic Investigation & Criminology studies, achieving distinction star in her first year of study and is expected to achieve triple distinction star at the end of her programme.

Emma said she chose to study at South Essex College as it was one of the only providers she was aware of that offered the course. Her course has enabled her to pursue her dream of becoming a Forensic Anthropologist and she said it has ‘heightened my enthusiasm about my career path’.

Her tutors were quick to praise Emma and nominate her as Science Student of the Year. Her citation read: “Emma has been an absolute pleasure to work with. She is a polite, kind and considerate individual who is highly regarded by both her peers and her tutors. 
“Emma is an ambitious and conscientious young person and we wish her all the success that she deserves.”

Emma said she was thrilled to have won the award and said her hard work over the past two years had paid off.

She said: “I gained a lot of knowledge on how criminal cases are analysed and the process that it goes through when taken to court.
“I wish to become a successful Forensic Anthropologist. It will bring joy to me when I can finally give those affected by unforeseen events their identity back and finally bring them justice.”
 

Celebrating Success 2022: Chloe Wade

Celebrating Success 2022: Chloe Wade

Course studied

Business Level 3 Extended Diploma

I would recommend South Essex College because I feel it is a judgement-free zone and you can express yourself through the freedom they give you. I enjoy the college environment and the accessibility to resources.

Business & Logistics student of the year, Chloe Wade, has not only used her time at South Essex College to boost her skills, but help others too.

The 17-year-old, from Stanford-le-Hope, helped raise more than £1,600 for Great Ormond Street Hospital at a charity event she organised alongside fellow classmates. She was also crowned joint winner of the college’s ‘Who Wants to be an Entrepreneur’ competition, where she presented her idea for a sustainable, 100% biodegradable wheat straw phone case.

She was nominated by her tutors for the award for ‘really making the most of every opportunity presented to her this year.’

Her nomination citation read: “She is excelling in all aspects of her study programme and is reliable, committed and a pure delight to have in the class.  She is supportive of her peers and is intrinsically motivated to improve her attainment and employability to give herself the best opportunity of being successful in her future career.”

Chloe said she was delighted to win the award.

She said: “I am very grateful for all of the advice and help that my tutors have given me. I am happy with the work I produce and always make sure everything is up to a high standard.

“I would recommend South Essex College because I feel it is a judgement-free zone and you can express yourself through the freedom they give you. I enjoy the college environment and the accessibility to resources.”

Chloe is now progressing on to an apprenticeship in digital marketing for an events and festival company and continues to pursue her dream of becoming an entrepreneur and work in digital marketing.
 

Celebrating Success 2022: Angel Hara

Celebrating Success 2022: Angel Hara

Course studied

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Full Time for School Leavers

Teachers at the college are very friendly and helpful. I would recommend South Essex College because it offers many courses and choices

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Student of the Year, Angel Hara, was praised for the progression she has made in her studies.

Tutors of the 19-year-old from Westcliff said ‘everything from her behaviour, her commitment to the course and her level of English have all come on leaps and bounds and she has matured into a dedicated and hardworking young woman.’

They added: “She aspires to become a writer and she is very proactive in achieving her goal. In the recent story writing competition we had for national storytelling week her story absolutely blew us away with her imagination.”

Angel said she did not expect to win the award but is ‘happy and excited.’

She said: “Teachers at the college are very friendly and helpful. I would recommend South Essex College because it offers many courses and choices.”
 

Celebrating Success 2022: Andy Amoako

Celebrating Success 2022: Andy Amoako

Course studied

Electrical Installations Level 3 Diploma (2365)

The environment is quite serene and calming. The college gives the opportunity to fully explore your academic visions.

Building Services Student of the Year, Andy Amoako, was nominated for his enthusiasm to learn and progress while pursuing his aspiration of becoming an electrical engineer.

The 20-year-old from Grays studied Electrical Instillation at the college’s Thurrock Campus and is described by his tutors as a ‘model student’.

His tutor added: “It is truly a pleasure to have Andy in my class, he is a credit both to himself and the college.’
Andy said it was amazing to win the award.

He said: “It felt so good to receive an academic recognition, I have never been really recognized for anything like this, so it felt so great to be seen like that!

“I chose to study at the college because among all the available choices, South Essex College stood out more. The environment is quite serene and calming. The college gives the opportunity to fully explore your academic visions.

Andy is now looking to progress onto university to further his skills. As for the future he said: “I want to reach a height so high, I can't see the ground.”


 

Celebrating Success 2022: Aimee Glaze

Celebrating Success 2022: Aimee Glaze

Course studied

Public Services Level 2 Diploma

The support at the college has been second-to-none. The staff here always go above and beyond especially the wellbeing team. They have helped me so much throughout my time here.

Despite facing the challenges of ill health, Aimee Glaze has excelled in her studies and has been named Public Services Student of the Year.

The 18-year-old from Basildon has stood out in her studies for her behaviour, standard of achievement and motivation to succeed.

Her tutors have recognised how much Aimee has progressed over the course of her two year programme. After her first year of study, it was unclear whether she would be able to progress on to the second year of her course, however, Aimee was determined to succeed and went above and beyond to accomplish her goals and is achieving distinction level grades in her assignments.

Her nomination citation noted: “Aimee is an outstanding student who uses her mature reflective skills to complete all assignments before deadlines to an outstanding level. 

“Aimee also supports other members of her class and discusses class issues with her personal tutor in a mature and balanced manner in order to achieve the best outcome.

“Seeing Aimee develop academically and personally into a mature, committed and outstanding student should be something to be rewarded.”

Aimee said she was ‘incredibly proud’ of her achievements.

She said: “This year I have faced a lot of challenges but I put endless amounts of effort into my college life and my assignments. I put all my energy into this year so I could come out with the best possible outcomes. 

“The support at the college has been second-to-none. The staff here always go above and beyond especially the wellbeing team. They have helped me so much throughout my time here, they helped me gain my confidence and walked me through my hard days when my illness was getting too much to handle. 

My lecturers are always working hard to accommodate for all of their students and you can easily see how passionate they are about their job which makes learning so much more enjoyable.”

Aimee is now pursing her dream of becoming a prison officer. 


 

Successful alumna wants to help students and businesses connect

Successful alumna wants to help students and businesses connect

Course studied

Art and Design (Graphic Design) Level 3 Extended Diploma

Attending the college helped me try out all the different sectors of design and find the areas I most enjoyed.

A former student from South Essex College is now a successful graphic designer working with big brands.

Samantha Fairbrother, 34, studied Level 3 Graphic Design at the college before heading to the University of the Creative Arts to study a degree in the subject.

She’s now a senior graphic designer and account manager at P&W who work with clients such as Tesco, Nutella and Tetley.

Sam is also starting her own business called TernHeads. She’s on a mission to help students, educators and businesses collaborate and connect in an easier way.

TernHeads will be a website platform for students to upload their portfolios, access business directories and adverts for placements plus a forum to ask industry professionals questions.

She said: “I hope it will also allow businesses and educators across the UK to collaborate together on more live briefs and workshops, enabling students from all walks of life to get better access to their dream jobs.”

Sam credits the college with helping her find her future career. She added: “I always knew I loved to problem solve and create stuff but I didn’t really know how to funnel that into a tangible job title. Attending the college helped me try out all the different sectors of design and find the areas I most enjoyed.”

She has lots of advice for students who may be worried about finding a creative career after lockdown. She said: “Take this time to research companies and build yourself an action plan. Get prepared for when the lockdown is lifted because everyone is going to be a bit bruised and battered by this but the industry will need to rebuild and future talent will be a big part of that.

“Get connected and start talking to people. Join LinkedIn and join online groups to see what industry people are talking about. There are many designers out there who are willing to help their fellow creatives in any way they can so don’t be scared to ask for help or advice.”

For more information about TernHeads, visit www.ternheads.com Follow Sam @ternheads on Instagram where she’s happy to help answer more career questions for creatives.

 

 

Success Stories -  Kerry Thomas

Success Stories - Kerry Thomas

Course studied

Graphic Design & Illustration BA (Hons)

My name is Kerry Thomas, I am 35 years old, I studied graphic design at University Centre South Essex from September 2013 until June 2016 and this is my story.

My name is Kerry Thomas, I am 35 years old, I studied graphic design at University Centre South Essex from September 2013 until June 2016 and this is my story.

I left school in 2002 just after my GCSEs and worked up from a receptionist role to accounts payables assistant roles in various jobs until 2007. I then had my son and stayed at home and started a little cupcake company which didn’t really take off. In 2010 I went back to work again in an accounts assistant role until I fell pregnant with my daughter in 2011. After she was born I realised I didn’t want to work in accounts and I wanted to do something creative. I wanted a career so that I could change my family’s future and I wanted my children to know it’s never too late to chase a dream. So I enrolled with the college and did the Access to Art and Design course in 2012. I actually wanted to do interior design however, as I learnt more about graphic design I began to fall in love.

After graduating in October 2016, I landed my first role in a publishing/events company called Media10 and worked across a variety of magazines designing layouts for different publications. After a year I moved on to a creative agency called Powwow Creative. Here I learnt so much, there was such a variety of work from creating social and advertising campaigns to brand development. I was involved in the projects from start to completion and really grew as a designer here. Unfortunately in January 2019 I was made redundant. 

In February 2019 I lined up several interviews including one at Formula One, which was an amazing experience however, I was offered an amazing position at out of home media agency JCDecaux. 

I have been there for the past two years and I absolutely love it. I work in the department called one world which means that I work with all the large and global brands. I help creative solutions come up with new out of home advertising ideas and I create realistic mock-ups so that they can pitch to clients the concepts. I also support the sales team with their PowerPoint decks and any sales and marketing material.


Because I had children and obviously my family life I couldn’t go to a university that was too far away and luckily for me University Centre South Essex was more or less on my doorstep as I lived in Shoeburyness at the time. However that being said, I probably would have still chosen to go there even if I did have the option of going to another university. 


I think because I’d already had experience in the workplace I don’t know if it really helped me prepare for the work blows, it definitely helped me prepare for the type of roles that I would be doing once I had my degree. I can see and I do know the university has helped younger people who may not have had that experience to experience what work the workplace might be like.
The best thing about higher education, from my point of view, is the friendships you make and the inspiration you get from your tutors. There is support and guidance from other people and the pride in receiving recognition for learning about your passion.
One of the biggest skills university gave me was confidence. Confidence in my ability and the confidence to trust myself. It also gave me a firm understanding about the subject in which I was about to embark on a career in.


The equipment is all up-to-date when I was doing my degree and I then went into my first job because I was so used to using the equipment at the university centre I found it really easy to just carry on.


At the end of my first year on the graphic design degree I was feeling a little bit like, is this for me? Am I too old to be learning this? Most of the people on my course were under the age of 22 and had done a Graphic Design BTEC so they were already aware of things that I wasn’t and I was feeling a little deflated. Then we did the final major project and I will never forget that I looked at my final major project and I looked at my tutor John and I just felt in that moment so proud of how far I had come because when I started I knew nothing and looking at that final major project I thought, that's progress, this is where I’m finally getting it and I think my course tutor agreed.


There are a ton of universities that all claim to have the best courses the best people and I’m sure that they do but I don’t think I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for the tutors, support and the guidance I received whilst at University Centre South Essex.
The best way I think to look at it is if a 27 year old mother of two children who has never had any experience in the career that she wants to do is able to go back to school and not only graduate but to also then embark on that career and be established as a designer then I think that shows exactly why you’d be mad not to consider University centre South Essex.
My greatest achievement apart from my beautiful children and getting a degree is working for one of the biggest media advertising agencies in the world (JCDecaux).


I do a lot of freelance work as well and in the future I would like to own my own agency in five to ten years

University Centre South Essex gave me confidence and also never will I be afraid again to chase my dreams because now I know for sure that if you shoot for the moon and you miss, that's okay, you’re still among the stars.


Also can I add in a thank you to Cherry Sandover (Access Course Leader) for taking me under her wing and allowing me to express myself and to John for giving me the chance. He knew I had no prior knowledge of Graphic Design but I promised him I would work hard and he gave me a shot. I want all the tutors to know I kept my promise and I’m still working hard but I will forever appreciate you taking a chance on me and changing my life.
 

Success Stories -  Siobhan Best

Success Stories - Siobhan Best

Course studied

Graphic Design & Illustration BA (Hons)

I love the course so far. Everyone on the course is so friendly and supportive. The classes at University Centre South Essex are very small so there’s always support and equipment available.

My name is Siobhan Best, I am 34 years old, studying BA Graphic Design & Illustration at University Centre South Essex and this is my story.

I worked in mental health care for ten years before having my daughter, Effie and when my daughter started school, I thought it would be fun to do a course to keep me busy.

I chose Access to Art and Design as I loved crafts and drawing in my spare time.  The Access course was amazing and changed my life. It was hard work but I loved every minute, learning new skills and discovering artists. It sounds cheesy but it made me see the world through a new set of eyes! 

I had very few qualifications and had never done well in education until the access course, the tutors encouraged me to apply for a degree and I decided to go for BA Graphic Design and Illustration. 

A friend recommended the course so I looked at the website and met Cherry, one of the tutors, who discussed the course in more detail and inspired me to learn more.

I love the course so far. Everyone on the course is so friendly and supportive. The classes at University Centre South Essex are very small so there’s always support and equipment available. 

After university, I am really interested in printmaking and illustration - I would love to write and illustrate a children’s book. I am also interested in becoming an art teacher.

The difficulties during lockdown have been mainly trying to home-school my daughter whilst doing my coursework and it has certainly been a bit of a balancing act.

I would say to anybody who is looking to start their journey to higher education is to visit the open days and go for it. 

If you would like to learn more about the next virtual open day visit: www.southessex.ac.uk/events 
 

Success Stories -  Emma White

Success Stories - Emma White

Course studied

Interior Design BA (Hons)

I would have never imagined in four years’ time that I would have met my business partner and be setting up our own company, both doing something we truly love.

My name is Emma White, I am 30 years of age, studying BA Hons Interior Design at University Centre South Essex and this is my story.

It was the start of 2017 and I wasn’t enjoying my current job working in HR and had just started writing a blog about home styling and design. Interior design has always been something I’ve enjoyed and found interesting so I finally took the plunge that year to quit my job and go back to studying full-time. 

I started looking online at interior design courses locally and found the degree through there. But as I hadn’t studied art in the past, I wanted to start by trying the Access to HE Art & Design course (which I found through the website) to see if I enjoyed it before committing to the degree. Turns out I did! 

I have really enjoyed the course so far and the briefs are flexible so they allow you to be as creative as you want. It also links well to the interior design industry so the work we do feels really relevant.

After I finish my degree, me and another student on the course are currently setting up our own interior design business so we will have our own company when we finish in May.

During lockdown I sometimes found it hard to feel inspired with an idea for a design, as the days have blurred into one. But I’ve found actually spending some time away from work really helps this rather than staring at a blank screen all day.  

The advice I would give to anyone looking to start their degree journey is to just go for it as you never know where it might lead you. I would have never imagined in four years’ time that I would have met my business partner and be setting up our own company, both doing something we truly love. 

To learn more about the University Centre and what we have to offer, visit: www.southessex.ac.uk/he
 

Success Stories -  Louis Papagavriel

Success Stories - Louis Papagavriel

Course studied

Early Years Education BA (Hons)

You are never too old to achieve your dreams, it might just take some hard work, but anyone can make it.

My name is Louis Papagavriel I am 32, studying the BA Hons Early Years and this is my story.

I decided to return to education not long after my 30th birthday. This was after a spell of major mental health issues causing me to be unable to work.

I did a lot of extensive research and reflected on my strengths and weaknesses when looking for new careers to pursue and decided that I wanted to become a primary school teacher.  I attended the college when I was 17 so I decided to look up what adult courses they offered, discovered Access courses and was able to find out that they clearly fitted into my career goal as the college offered an Access to Teaching course. 

Whilst studying the Access course, we were visited by students on the Early Years Education degree at the college and from what they told us about the course I decided this was the course I wanted to progress on to after I finished my Access course. Since starting the course, I have also visited this year's Access course to inform them about my current course.

The course covers many interesting subjects and has developed my knowledge of Early Years education. The course tutor is also very passionate about the subject which makes some of the more, less exciting subjects more interesting. Also, being in a class of likeminded people and being able to share our experiences and passion for the subject is amazing.

Having a young child who is also having to be home-schooled and trying to complete assignments has been difficult during lockdown but luckily the university has been very accommodating and given me extra time to complete tasks and assignments. Also, an important part of the course is having a placement in local schools. However, due to the pandemic this has not been possible. We have however, been making videos from home for children to watch.

The advice I would give to anyone who is looking to go into higher education is that if you have the drive and determination to change your career or to advance in your current career, then go for it. You are never too old to achieve your dreams, it might just take some hard work, but anyone can make it. 

To learn more about the university centre, visit: www.southessex.ac.uk/events