Who wants to be an entrepreneur 2022



South Essex College was once again on the hunt for the next big business idea. 

After a brief hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, the enrichment team launched its ‘who wants to be an entrepreneur?’ competition for students to pitch their business ideas.

Ten finalists were selected and it was Chloe Wade and Mitchell Powell from Level 3 Business who were crowned the winners of this year’s competition.

Chloe presented the idea of a wheat straw phone case that was 100% biodegradable with a fashionable edge. Chloe tailored to an affluent consumer and was praised on her sustainable approach in her presentation to the judges. 

She said: “I am very grateful for having the opportunity to take part in this competition, and one day I really will be an entrepreneur with big goals and passions! Go green.”

Mitchell presented his own fashion brand, Off-Lock. His brand followed a back story about his own personal journey to individuality, with the message for the brand about positivity and unlocking your true self. 

He said: “I was thrilled to win as the competition was suggested to me last minute after I showed my teacher my clothing brand idea. When I got the email that I had won, I was at home and I instantly called my family who were super proud of my achievements.

“I really want to pursue my clothing brand idea as I am already happy with what I've come up with and I want to spread the positive message around in hopes that everyone will feel they can be who they really want to be.”

Katherine Taylor, Enrichment Associate was impressed with the student's presentations and their small business ideas this year. 

She said: “They were full of amazing entrepreneurial talent and it was very difficult to decide on the overall winners. The knowledge and skills shown by them all was fantastic and inspiring."

Both winner received vouchers, as well as business mentoring, to help get their vision off the ground.

Steve Newman, Curriculum Manager for Business and Enterprise said: “It is fantastic to see both Chloe and Mitchell recognised for their entrepreneurial talents, we have had some real success stories with past winners who continue to trade and be successful in the world of business thanks to the skills honed during their time with us.  

“We look forward with excitement to hear about their future achievements and who knows, they may return to us in a few years’ time as an investor sitting on the panel”.

You can find more on Mitchell’s business on his TikTok: @Off.Lock
For more information on Chloe’s business visit her Instagram: @environmentcase

For more information on the Business and Enterprise courses visit: www.southessex.ac.uk/business-administration-management  

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: 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. 


 

Access to Higher Education Journey: William Thatcher's Story

Access to Higher Education Journey: William Thatcher's Story

Course studied

Graphic Design & Illustration BA (Hons)

Whatever your situation I encourage those people thinking of returning to education to make a plan of action and if not this year, maybe the next? Don’t let the past define your future.

My name is Will Thatcher, I’m 26 and a mature student currently in first year of my Graphic Design and Illustration course at University Centre South Essex.

Returning to education was something that I thought about for a long time. I never really enjoyed school and mentally I was in a bad place. By Sixth Form, I felt like I was the only person that had no idea what they wanted to do and the pressure of it all lead me to drop out. I still don’t regret that decision, but I think everyone deserves a second chance to find the right path. Since then, I’ve worked a few jobs including a comfortable position in IT, but I didn’t find it very fulfilling, it was time for a fresh and exciting new challenge.

I have always enjoyed the creative arts and I was interested in doing something in that area for a career. I lacked the qualifications to go straight on to university but by looking at local colleges online, I came across the Access to Higher Education Art & Design course and it was exactly what I wanted. It covers such a great range of areas including photography, graphics and fine art so not only did I have a year of easing back into education, I also had a very clear idea of what degree I wanted to go on to study. 

Access to HE changed my life because I learnt so much and met so many amazing like-minded people from all different backgrounds and ages. I was nervous at first but to come back to education and to be treated like an adult was really refreshing, it gave me a new perspective and made me excited to be learning again. During the course, I was introduced to John Chandler who is the course leader for BA Graphic Design & Illustration, he gave me a great insight into what it was all about so I could be confident in my decision. Obviously, the Access course has suited my needs very well, but I would recommend it to anyone, even if they didn’t want to study at degree level.

Enrolling onto BA Graphic Design & Illustration has been the best decision I have made. One of the things I love about it is the enthusiasm from my lecturers, they are very passionate about their subject and know exactly how to get you excited about things you never even thought about before. I am lucky in the sense that graphic design & illustration is very broad topic that can be about anything really so the sense of freedom you are given is fantastic. I also love seeing the sheer diversity of the work my peers produce during each unit, it is very inspiring to be surrounded by all these people.

In second year, we will have to decide if we want to go down the graphic design or the illustration route. I think I will be leaning towards graphics, so to work as a graphic designer either as a freelancer or for a studio would be ideal for me. I’m particularly interested in logos & branding and I hope one day I will have some involvement in professional sports. Designing the next Olympics or FIFA World Cup logo would be the dream job for me, those are images that are remembered forever.

Initially, it was hard to get used to working from home and some days I found it was difficult to focus as there are lots of distractions at home, but this quickly changed as the college and our lecturers were very informative about what’s going on. We also had very good IT resources which is very useful. I also found it beneficial to keep in contact with the people on my course. We have a WhatsApp group that’s very active and we’re always helping each other out in case anyone has missed anything or needs some help. We are now back one day a week which still isn’t ideal, but I’m glad University Centre South Essex is handling the situation as best and as sensibly as possible.

It’s an important decision to make when taking the journey back into higher education. I had to give up a full-time job to return to education though I was fortunate enough to be able to move back home. I recognise that there are many people out there with a lot more constraints and for them it will be a lot tougher, but I have met plenty of people on the courses that are carers, have families & mortgages etc. that are proving it can be done. All I would say is whatever your situation I encourage those people to make a plan of action and if not this year, maybe the next? Don’t let the past define your future.

To learn more about our courses, visit: www.southessex.ac.uk/he/ucse-courses 

 

Louis Alderman, Graphic Design graduate at University Centre South Essex shares his story

Louis Alderman, Graphic Design graduate at University Centre South Essex shares his story

Course studied

Graphic Design & Illustration BA (Hons)

I would recommend the University Centre, 100% compared to London, it felt a lot more like home and a lot more comfortable and it also felt more bespoke.



My name is Louis, I am 25 years old, I studied Graphic Design at University Centre South Essex 2016- 2018 and this is my story.

I left the University Centre with a 2:2 degree.

Before doing my degree I studied Graphic Design at the college and I had been doing it as a hobby since I was 11.

I spent my first year of university at the University Of East London, however I didn't enjoy anything about it besides the view. With three tutors I ironically had minimal attention from them, and the course felt a bit old school, it wasn't really for me. So I decided to move closer to home and attend the local university centre.

The course and my tutors were amazing and they offered support for my learning difficulties and I was able to be diagnosed with Dysgraphia with Traits of Dyspraxia which has always hindered my learning as it was too expensive to diagnose. The diagnosis didn’t help the problem but it allowed me to understand my issues and allowed me to get support.

Doing my degree was like another level of education, they would teach you how to learn, and how to evolve ideas using your best skill set to create better pieces of work. I think the greatest skill I gained l is how to approach a design with more than one idea, it taught me not to just go with my first initial instinct.

All of the abode software at South Essex College and University Centre South Essex is very useful when you go into industry and one that I rely on to achieve my goals.
Since completing my course I have worked a few freelance jobs but mainly I spent time working at a garden centre as a marketing assistant and I recently lost my job in a designer role at a local design agency due to complications surrounding COVID.

Currently I’m involved in running an online marketing business with two of my best friends.

We came together to start business and it has become the best suited position for my skill set and responsibilities.

As the creative director I take lead with any design aspect of our client’s needs, liaising with them to ensure its the design they want. We are looking to hire a web developer so I will be working with them to produce websites for our clients, based on my original design.

My favourite memory of the university was spending time with classmates outside of class, with it being so close to the Highstreet it made it very easy to “pop to the pub after”.

I would recommend the University Centre, 100% compared to London, it felt a lot more like home and a lot more comfortable and it also felt more bespoke if that makes sense.

My greatest achievement has been running this business and being able to pay ourselves a wage at the end of the month feels pretty good.

In the future I want to be able to relax, and be able to just enjoy life? I think if you’re going to be working for the rest of your life, try your best to do something you love and if you can't, then make it for yourself.

To learn more about the university centre, visit: www.southessex.ac.uk/he/ucse-courses 

Psychology and Sociology graduate Katie Fida shares her story

Psychology and Sociology graduate Katie Fida shares her story

Course studied

Psychology & Sociology BSc (Hons)

I chose this university because I was drawn to the class room style lectures, where more conversation and debates could take place, as I feel this is a brilliant way to learn as opposed to huge lecture theatres.


My name is Katie, I am 25 years old and I studied BSc Psychology and Sociology at University Centre South Essex from 2017 to 2020 and this is my story.

Before coming to the university centre, I completed one year of an adult nursing degree; however, it just didn’t feel 100% right. So, I wanted a career change, I decided to enrol on an Access to Counselling course, which I completed with a Distinction, and then that lead me to the Psychology and Sociology degree. Alongside my college course I worked in healthcare as a Health Care Assistant in hospitals and care homes.  I then got a job working in a Psychiatric hospital whilst studying on my degree, which fuelled my desire to work in the field of psychology. 

I finally was able to marry my wife in August, after it was cancelled in July, then I started a master’s in Psychology in September 2020, which I am due to finish in August 2021.

I am currently working in a Psychiatric hospital, on a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit. My job entails ensuring the safety of those suffering from severe mental health disorders (at a point of crisis), who have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act. It is my job to observe their mental state daily and report this, carry out enhanced observations to minimise potential risk they pose to themselves or others. I carry out risk assessments, ward rounds, liaise with family members and the MDT. I also assist with care plan writing, verbally de-escalate patients when they are in crisis and carry out CBT skills coaching sessions.  

I started working on the Personality Disorder ward, then I carried out CPD training within the company I work. I now work with patients with Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Psychosis and other severe mental health conditions. I employed my knowledge and skills from the degree into my work also. 

I chose this university because I was drawn to the class room style lectures, where more conversation and debates could take place, as I feel this is a brilliant way to learn as opposed to huge lecture theatres.

It has helped massively with my understanding of a lot of social and psychological dilemmas that people may be in. It has also helped me with critical thinking when in crisis situations. It helped me prepare for my Master’s, the progression from degree level 6 work, to master’s level 7 work felt almost natural. A lot of what I learned on my degree I am now expanding on in my master’s, and I don’t think I would have such a great understanding if I had never completed the degree that I did. 

I gained critical thinking skills, communication, I learned how to use SPSS which is paramount for the profession I seek to be in. I have the skills to write an academic piece of work, which has helped my report writing skills in my current job role. I also learned presentation skills, which has helped me with the confidence of speaking in front of others in a formal manner. This has helped when I have carried out handovers and ward rounds in my current role and have also helped with my masters. 
I used SPSS at the university, which I am very grateful for, as I use this a lot in my master’s now, and will use it many times throughout my career, so that software is the exact same as I am using now and in the future, which is excellent. 

My favourite memory would be the trip we all took to the Bethlam Mental Health Hospital, we got to look through the archive hospital records which we were all absolutely glued to. It was very fascinating and great insight. But I also just have so many brilliant memories from the lectures, being able to chat in depth as a group about the topics, I learned a lot through the conversations. 

I would recommend it because I feel smaller learning groups are an excellent way to build confidence and to really get engaged with the topics you learn. The tutors are very helpful and the smaller class groups means you can have more one to one conversation with the lecturers. It is also in an excellent location. 
My greatest achievement I would say is getting a First class on my dissertation, and then winning an outstanding student award. I have also recently received a Distinction on my master’s Psychology exam. 

After completion of my master’s I hope to progress in the company I am currently in, to an assistant psychologist, and then I will be applying for a Doctorate. I hope to work as a Clinical or Forensic psychologist. I also hope to be a good role model to my daughter, as a single parent it has not been easy studying and working, but I hope it finally pays off and that I can give her a nice life, whilst also working in my dream career.

The university centre really helped with my confidence, especially my academic confidence and to believe that pursuing my aspirations may actually be achievable.
If you would like to learn more about the Psychology and Sociology BSc course, visit: www.southessex.ac.uk/he/ucse-courses 

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.