Upskill or change career with a counselling courses

South Essex College offers a variety of Counselling courses at its Southend campus for adults looking to upskill or change career.

Level 5 courses in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Children and Young People and Psychotherapeutic are aimed at qualified counsellors that want to expand their knowledge, skills and counselling practice.

Counselling can be a fulfilling and board career field suitable for those who want to helps others. The Psychotherapeutic course gives students all the skills they need to work as a self-employed counsellor, CBT provides a good understanding of the different modes to support clients and Children and Young People provides the skills to support the younger generation in a range of settings.

The Level 3 Access to Higher Education (Education and Counselling) is a one year course for individuals who want to become qualified counsellors but don’t yet have the correct qualifications.

Zoe Viscardini, Curriculum Manager Early Years and Counselling, said: “All the Level 5 courses build a strong basis of continuing professional development for individuals in their practice. Alternatively, if you aren’t a qualified counsellor yet and have always wanted to complete a degree in this area then the Access course is for you.”

For more information and to apply for these courses, visit


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.

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.