Student Union

When you enrol with us, you automatically become a member of the College’s Student Union.

Run by students, the Union exists purely to improve your experience as a student both academically and socially, and make your time with us exciting and memorable.

Get involved in College life

There are many ways you can get yourself involved in College life, meet other students, make your voice heard and gain important experience to put on your CV. When you enrol with us, you automatically become a member of the College’s Student Union which is part of the National Union of Students (NUS). Run by students, the Union exists purely to improve your College experience both academically and socially and make your time with us exciting and memorable. This membership gives you access to advice and information, discounts on parking, shopping, stationery and many other useful benefits to make living on a student budget easier.

TOTUM cards
Totum logo

As you are a student at the College, you are entitled to purchase a Totum (NUSExtra card) for £14.99 for 1 year or £24.99 for 3 years. This is a must for all students who want to get radical discounts in hundreds of outlets. You can purchase your card online.

TOTUM is the UK's number one student discount card and app. It is the new name for the NUS extra student discount card and your TOTUM membership opens up a world of brilliant student discounts, offers and vouchers on your everyday essentials, must-have gear and luxury items.

In store and online, TOTUM puts over 350 UK student discounts and offers right where you want them – in your pocket. And TOTUM is the only student discount platform endorsed by the National Union of Students (NUS).

There are lots of discounts available depending on your type of membership, from a range of famous online and high street brands and local independents.

TOTUM also is available with PASS-accredited proof of age ID, perfect for proving you're over 18 on a night out.

It’s your Student Union…

…and that means you can take an active part in shaping it. You can put yourself forward for to be an Executive Officer in the annual elections. We encourage you to develop clubs and societies, organise trips, parties and various other leisure and sporting activities.

If you are elected as a student union officer you will be entitled to get a Totum card free. As an Executive Officer you will have the opportunity to attend the annual NUS conference at our expense which can be held anywhere in the British Isles. This will give you the chance to interact with over 500 SU officers. The Student Union also runs various charity events and awareness campaigns, so keep your eyes out and get involved.

At the start of the year, each course will elect a Course Representative, who is invited to attend monthly meetings with the various College Departments and Senior Leadership Team to discuss their opinions and suggestions on behalf of your whole course. Remember, it’s your College and we want you to have a voice in how things happen here! Recently, along with the Student Union, the Course Reps have played a major part in securing parking discounts in Southend, improving the College’s WiFi, ensuring that all courses have all of the relevant equipment that is needed and making sure that prices in the canteen are kept low enough for students to afford.

We are proud of our students and encourage you to gain skills that go beyond your qualifications. We offer you the chance to contribute to College life, helping out with internal College events such as Freshers’ Fairs, Open Days and Award ceremonies. As a student union officer you will also get paid an hourly rate for work that you do for the student union.

In short, being a student at South Essex College is your opportunity to play an active role in our community, make friends, learn new things and ensure your voice is heard.

Check out the Student Union's Facebook page.

Success stories

James Mitchell Success Story

James Mitchell Success Story

Course studied

Film & Television Production BA (Hons)

My name is James Mitchell , I am 38 years old and I studied/at South Essex College from 2002-2007 and this is my story.

I studied MND Moving Image and then a degree BSC Television Production and Screen Theory. South Essex College was local to me, it had the course I wanted to study on and it allowed me to stay at home and work in a local theatre. Industry kit is evolving all the time but a basic understanding of the college kit was very helpful.

It was a great base unit to help you realise your career aspirations. My most memorable aspect of the college was the relationship with the lecturers. This gave me the confidence more than anything elseThe chance to prove myself. 

Since completing my course, I have worked in the West End in various theatres in Stratford Upon Avon for the Royal Shakespeare Company and in London at the National Theatre. I also worked at the college as a lecturer and technician for a couple of years, followed by working in Peterborough in shopping television and now work in Media City, Manchester for ITV News as a Lead Production Specialist.

My job entails looking after a team of fifteen production specialists and operating in television production roles. Which include head of lighting for ITV news, sound mixing, directing, floor managing, weather recordings etc. By working my way up, I was able to work as a trainee production specialist in 2013, to then being the Lead Production Specialist.

My proudest achievement so far, is winning two BAFTAs as part of a team, also winning Production Specialist of the year in 2017. I hope this will lead to my dream aspired role as an Operations Manager.


Are you an ex FE or HE student? Do you want your story to be told? Then contact us at 

Celebrating Success 2022: Maison Lundrigan

Celebrating Success 2022: Maison Lundrigan

Course studied

Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Level 3 Diploma

It’s a great college, especially for people with disabilities. The support I received from my tutor Charlie was brilliant. I really enjoyed the practical, hands-on aspect of the course.

Maison Lundrigan was named Motor Vehicle Student of the Year for his dedication and the consistent hard work he put into his studies.

The 18-year-old was praised for the high quality of his work and the fact that he was the first to pass his online exams. 

He has excelled during his time at the college, so much so, he is now embarking on a three-year apprenticeship programme at the college.

Maison has achieved all this despite living with additional needs.

He said it felt ‘brilliant’ to win the award and ‘it’s made me realise that I can achieve even with my disability.’

He added: “I chose the college because it offered the right course for me.

“It’s a great college, especially for people with disabilities. The support I received from my tutor Charlie was brilliant. I really enjoyed the practical, hands-on aspect of the course.”

Maison is now looking forward to his apprenticeship so he can pursue his dream of becoming a car mechanic.

His tutor said: “He is a pleasant and well-mannered young man that any college or employer would be pleased to have. Maison has a very bright future ahead of him.”

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.