We are proud of all our students and what they achieve in the time they spend with us, but sometimes we like to congratulate certain students on their extraordinary achievements.
Peter Jones Enterprise Academy
David was crowned National Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy student Graduation Ceremony in London this July and won the Edge Challenge in November for his innovative business idea – Viewpoint Videos.
David, who has just completed a BTEC in Understanding Enterprise and Entrepreneurship with the PJEA, received the Entrepreneur of the Year trophy and a cheque for £5000 from Peter Jones CBE, to further develop his business idea. More recently David was presented with a further cheque for £3000 at the Edge Challenge awards by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
“My business idea is called Viewpoint Videos, it’s an experiential online video company that allows customers at experience centres to feature in their own action-movie style point of view video, which they can instantly relive online.”
“The PJEA course at College provided me with the skills set I needed to run my own business, from great tutors with real business experience, sessions to guest speakers with incredible life stories, and the chance to receive one-to-one mentoring from people who have ‘been there and done it’,” David concluded.
Chloe has been dancing since the age of 2, training at Vernon Johnson School of Dance, Egerton School of Theatre Dance and Performers Theatre School where she studied Ballet, Tap, Modern and Musical Theatre. She then moved to Kercher School of Dance when she relocated to Aylesbury from Liverpool at the age of 13.
Here she studies Ballet, Tap, Modern, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Street and Acrobatics. Chloe has thoroughly enjoyed her time at Amersham & Wycombe College and would like to thank all the teachers for all of their hard work and support. After receiving offers from Bodywork Company Dance Studios at Cambridge Performing Arts, Millenium Performing Arts and Performers College, she has decided to study on the Pre-Vocational course at Performers College from September which she hopes will provide her with the training she needs to become a successful musical theatre artist.
Harriet started dancing at the age of 3 at Maggie Monk School of Dance. She has trained in a multitude of dance styles, and has improved her technique and performance skills during her time at Amersham and Wycombe College. Harriet has auditioned for numerous dance colleges and has received offers from Urdang Academy, Performers College and London Studio Centre. She will be attending Urdang Academy in September to complete a foundation course.
BTEC Extended Diploma Graphic Design
“I can’t believe it, I got my results from University this week (2015) and I have a first class honours degree from Chelsea College of Art.
“I just wanted to thank the College for the help and support I received and without the encouragement of art & design tutors this wouldn’t have been possible. I remember one day when I said that I didn’t want to go to University I was advised I had to go! So thank you for your encouragement – it has really paid off.”
Peter Jones Enterprise Academy
For the third time in six years an Amersham & Wycombe College PJEA student has won the title of National Entrepreneur of the Year. Jamie Gamble, who developed Panda Skateboards, a business for manufacturing environmentally friendly skateboards, was presented with the award and a £5000 cheque to help develop his business by Peter Jones CBE in July 2016.
Jamie said: “I am so incredibly pleased to have won National Entrepreneur of the Year. Since joining the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy I have achieved more than I ever thought was possible. The Academy has been amazing for growing my business. Having the opportunity to pitch to Peter Jones and the other board members was fantastic. The support for my business idea and financial investment will be hugely beneficial – not least because I need to buy a laser engraving machine to help me to trade full time!”
Kieran Baldwin is studying a Level 3 BTEC in Information Technology and he joined the marketing team at The Window Film Company’s head office. We asked him to share his thoughts on the experience in his own words:
“The work I carried out was both interesting and challenging, and I quickly learned the value of marketing. The range of products the company offers was much wider than I had originally thought and I was amazed by the variety on offer. I got the chance to fit a piece of film myself and it was definitely easier than I thought it was going to be!
“I learned the value of teamwork as well as the importance of discipline and multi-tasking; prioritising was important as there was always more than one task that needed completing. The week helped with my self-confidence and I’m happy The Window Film Company took me on. I was encouraged and made welcome the whole way; I was able to feel comfortable in the work place very early on and at the end of the week I was disappointed to leave!”
Speaking about his time at The Window Film Company, Marketing Manager Mike Parkin said: “It was a pleasure to have Kieran join us for the week. He was a credit to himself and the College, setting about the work he was asked to do in an impressive and professional manner. We asked him carry out new tasks in an area in which he had no prior knowledge, and his attitude to learning and then delivering was first class throughout.”
Sport & Leisure
I have had an amazing time on my HND course. The opportunities I have enjoyed and the knowledge gained has been quite phenomenal. I enjoy this way of learning and my HND has enabled me to grow and develop my ideas. The unique range of industry led guest speakers we have had in the classroom (or via skype) has in part influenced the way I think and has also led me to change direction and to eventually want to seek a career as a sports therapist. Having access to experts in boxing, tennis, football, rugby and coaching has been of immense value. Hearing their sporting experiences tells you how it is in the real world and what you need to do to get on. These experiences and great teaching have helped me to focus on what I want from this course and what I want to do when I finish this year. I hope to take my final year at Bucks New University. The specialisms that the tutors are able to offer allow the contact time and 1-1’s to be much more specific and direct to not only learning but to personal experiences too.
Whilst completing my course I am working at the college as a Football Development Officer who oversees the use of the New 3G Football Pitch and working closely with Berks and Bucks FA to ensure a great facility to the sporting community. If I had the option of going to university or college again I would choose the HND route without hesitation based on the support, experiences, enthusiasm and how much I’ve learnt. It’s been utterly brilliant.
Sport & Leisure
I had good predicted AS grades at my school but didn’t enjoy the exam based assessment and transferred to college to take a HND in Sport. I much prefer continuous assessment and this has really helped me find my feet. We get lots of speakers into class, probably more than you’d find at University and as we have smaller class sizes you get almost one to one tuition. We get to put a lot of questions to each guest speaker and they all get answered. Doctor Michelle Pain, an Australian Board of Sports Psychology speaker has been perhaps the most revealing and interesting and she even taught us a lesson. Our guest speakers tell us how they got started in sport and hearing real life stories are especially interesting and can help with your course work and assignments. Swimming is my favourite sport and I teach a school of 4-12 year olds when I’m not in College. I much prefer this way of learning as I’ve had much better contact with my tutors and at the end of my course I will still be going to university.
Business & Enterprise
I was always interested in business and having held a managerial position within a company made it a sensible choice to expand my knowledge in this field and study business management. I choose Amersham & Wycombe College due to its convenient location, favourable course structure and affordable pricing.
The course is part-time and this allowed me to continue working full-time though the weeks that required two days attendance were occasionally challenging to manage but the overall structure of the course fitted in quite nicely with my life . Based on my market research, this Foundation Degree Course was the most affordable in the South Bucks/East Berks area.
The course has not just helped me to gain theoretical business knowledge but has taught me to apply it at work which has opened up my career opportunities in terms of promotion. It was also a useful experience to be able to connect with other students from different business backgrounds and exchange views.
All teachers had relevant work experience of the subjects that they were teaching and were in possession of high level academic qualifications. I found the quality of teaching excellent and having dedicated and inspiring tutors made the lectures interesting and academically stimulating.
I would recommend this course to other students as it offers a great academic environment to support and encourage students to gain expertise in their chosen field of study.
I studied musical theatre at college in Hertfordshire for two years and then looked around for a final year top up. I applied to five universities around the country. When I came to Amersham & Wycombe College for my interview I felt really at ease and comfortable with the tutors and I got a good feeling for the course. I didn’t find that when I had interviews at universities.
I like the fact that we get workshops from West End professionals who tell you about the industry and what to expect when you leave college. We go to extra classes in London and on trips to shows and we put on three shows in the year – one in Amersham two in London.
Studying here is a lot cheaper than going to university but we still get all of the benefits of University as the course is run through Bucks New Uni and we stay in lodgings provided by the Uni.
I get good feedback in class and the lessons are a good length taught by tutors who are experienced in their field. I like the fact that they tell you how it is rather than catering for egos.
My friends in Hertfordshire are already auditioning for courses here in performing arts, but this HE course is the only one available in the area as far as I am aware. I will be studying music at the Royal Academy of Music in September.
Business & Enterprise
I chose A&WC as locally they were one of the only providers offering Business Management in a part time capacity in the evening which I could fit in around my full-time job. I opted for Business Management as Business has always been a passion of mine, from GCSE level onwards and having gained the foundations from studying Business earlier on – I wished to top my knowledge up and stretch myself further. Also Business Management is a well-rounded degree that offers insight to lots of topics and means the variety of what’s covered can be applicable in multiple roles.
The course fitted in well, we pre-agreed at the beginning of each term which nights worked for us for tutorials as well as the taught lessons and Helen our tutor was always flexible in accommodating individual personal needs. Studying whilst working full-time was always going to be a challenge but I found the support we received from our tutors throughout the two years for the foundation degree amazing.
Studying with other mature students meant not only could you apply your own prospective and personal working environment but you could learn from others from varying organisational sizes the impact the topic may have on them. Even just networking within your peers helped develop your personal understanding of what varying industries and businesses did as well as any challenges they faced, which was really interesting.
I found the course very affordable as I was able to get student finance so it made accessing higher education much easier and more affordable than the traditional route.
The teaching was second to none, my teachers were interested in our development and challenged us to bring the best out in us. I had a good variety of teachers throughout my two years offering different takes on learning which encouraged us to flex our learning styles and develop in different ways based on the feedback we received from each teacher. As said previously, they were always available should we need them and encouraged us to get in touch should we have any issues.
I would highly recommend this course to anyone wishing to work whilst studying as although the hours are sometimes long, the overall benefit is worth it. Being able to apply what you learn within the organisation you work in was really beneficial and allowed me to challenge myself and my assignments.
Art & Design
I am a documentary photographer and photojournalism student currently in my final year of study at Southampton Solent University. From September 2013 to July 2015 I studied at the Amersham Campus.
When I left school after finishing my A levels, I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I wanted to do photography. I didn’t even know about foundation courses before I got to Amersham, but I had a friend who went to the college so I went on an open day. I was introduced to the HND Photography and Digital Imaging course which is a 2-year course, treated by universities as an alternative to a first year of university.
Throughout the first year, lecturers brought in photographers for talks and local businesses as well. One example was a fashion designer who came in for a week and we were tasked with photographing her dresses and accessories for a fashion walk in Italy. It got us to try all the different tasks you might expect with a photography job, and some that I didn’t even realise came into consideration – including organising the actual photographs, communication skills and what you might expect to get paid for a job. Rendering images in computer programmes and most importantly working with time constraints were other key factors. This kind of work experience has lead me to do photographic assignments for bands and actors, as well as assisting at jobs for PR companies in London. I was fortunate enough to assist a photo-shoot with British Band ‘The Vamps’ (through my lecturer) so the college course has given me a lot of opportunities.
When going to University, you’re looking at around £12,000 per year. You’ve got about £9,000 for the course, £3,000 for accommodation and I haven’t even included prices for food, equipment etc. The HND course I did, was £5,500 a year but because it was only a bus ride home I didn’t have to worry about accommodation.
Without sounding too dramatic, the teaching I experienced at Amersham & Wycombe College is the reason I still study, and enjoy photography. Coming from a grammar school there was always pressure on academic courses like business, science and politics, which I wasn’t interested in. The photography course at my school was beyond poor, seen more as an easy way to get extra UCAS points for University.
Before I started at Amersham, I was worried about my level of knowledge compared to others on my course but by the end of my first day all those worries had gone. The teaching was excellent, where each person was treated as an adult, and as an individual.
I was taught all about film photography, as well as digital photography and about the different genres of photography. My lecturers Paul Smith, Tom Warland and Dave Willis were beyond excellent, and went beyond what was expected for teachers. Dave, coming in as a well established music photographer, took people out on shoots with him, which is how I got to meet the Vamps, so you could experience his industry. Paul and Tom helped filter my ideas and steered me into the genre of photography I do and love to this day. There was just as much emphasis on private study and projects as on college modules, and the support and guidance I received is the reason I now have had work published in different magazines. I have to say without a shadow of a doubt that this was the best teaching I had ever received in my academic life, and I would recommend the college and course for that alone.
The course fits in well with daily life and leaves you room to improve personal work, but also time to have a part time job, or you can still come in on your off days. The facilities are good with a colour and black and white film developing room, something rare in many colleges, as well as a well-equipped studio with background wall and lighting. The experiences at college developed me as a documentary photographer and photojournalist, with my first photobook set to be released at the end of this year.
I worked as a self-employed beautician before coming to college and have always been interested in make-up and beauty therapy. This course has helped to expand my creativity as I had never worked with special effects before. I’ve learnt about so many new techniques such as life casting of faces. Making casts out of plaster and latex has been a particular revelation. As a group we get involved with various college projects as part of our assessment. For example, we provided the make-up and effects for musical theatre students performing Sleeping Beauty in the college theatre. I have loved everything about this course and have learnt so much from prosthetics to new make-up trends.
“I arrived at Amersham & Wycombe College having not done very well in my AS levels I was unsure what I wanted the next step to be. I decided to look for a new challenge that was more specific to Computing or IT. Fortunately I gained a place on the Level 3 Extended Diploma in IT Practitioners course, which was equivalent to three A-levels and opened up the possibility of university.
“During my course I found the practical lessons very interesting learning various skills such as web design & development, animation and programming. The workload was much easier to manage compared to A-levels, furthermore by focusing entirely on one subject (IT) it was so much easier to get my work to a good standard and to immerse myself in the one subject.
“After completing the course I gained a D*D*D* which is the highest mark possible on the BTEC course. I then gained a scholarship of £1500 at Bournemouth University and I will be starting my undergraduate BSc Computing course in September 2015.”
HNC Sound Production student Ashleigh Davies has been offered a dream start to her music career with 12 months paid work experience at Avid in Pinewood Studios. Ashleigh will be working as a Training Partner Support Assistant on Avid training programmes.
“The Music department got a call from Avid who were seeking an employee,” said Ashleigh. “Names were put forward, I attended an interview and a week later I got the call – which was fantastic. Ideally I would like to develop within the company to do more studio-based work possibly in sound production for film, but I’m really grateful for this opportunity and will be taking it a step at a time.”
“One of the most important things I’ve learnt from my time at college is how to be employable. Tutors did an amazing job at helping me realise what field I wanted to be employed in within the music industry and I want to thank the whole of department for doing everything they could to help me achieve my goals. I’ve had an amazing four years here.”
Former IT student James Canning is now working with London-based branding agency Grain, before starting his undergraduate studies in Computer Science at the University of Sussex.
“My friends recommended this course to me and it delivers exactly what I was looking for in animation, film and games development. The software we use is to industry standard and the tutors are passionate and engaging. A team of us competed in the World Skills event in London last year in the animation and games sector. It was a great experience and we had to complete 3D modelling within a specific time frame which really got you focused. You learn a lot about how to succeed in this field and the college has some great industry links which will be really useful when I leave.”
Art & Design
George spent two years studying Graphic Design with the College. He had high predicted grades and these predictions were met owing to his dedication and hard work. George demonstrated exemplary commitment to his studies for the duration of the course. With strong sketchbook illustration and innovative, logical and inspiring final designs, George developed a portfolio which wowed his interviewers for BA Hons. Industrial Design at Brunel University, where he is now studying.
Business & Enterprise
My business course has really helped my confidence in group speaking and with communication skills. I much prefer this way of working to A levels as it’s not exam based and relies on course work.
“I came to college because my brother was here previously and said it was a great place to study music. I’ve learnt so much since I’ve been here and have met some great people. I have a much better understanding of the industry and music genres and this has really helped to expand my musical knowledge and interest. I’m now in a band where I play drums but I also play guitar and harmonica. I get a real buzz out of performing and that’s what I enjoy most – playing in front of a live audience.”
Sport & Leisure
BTEC student Karis Baker completed her BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport – Development, Coaching & Fitness (equivalent to 3 ‘A’ levels) and achieved a triple distinction.
“I was hoping for good grades and am really pleased with my results,” said Karis. “The College helped me a great deal whilst I was there and I achieved more than I could have imagined. My tutors were all really supportive and it was sad to leave after two fantastic years.”
Karis started a Scholarship in Sport Science at Brunel University and at the end of the three year degree course hopes to enter a career in physiotherapy.
Mimi Harker OBE
PJEA Certificate in Enterprise & Entrepreneurship
As a result of attending the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, at Amersham & Wycombe College, I did something I never dreamed of doing – I launched my own business and am going to be exhibiting at the Ideal Home Show this Christmas! None of this would have happened without the adult course, which will help you too to learn how to run your own mini empire. The course teaches you every aspect from concept to realisation, from market research to business plan and at the end of it, you have a really comprehensive understanding of your market place and where your business fits in.
For me, I realised that in order to be successful, I had to create a totally new market place for my product and so ‘Mimi’s Marvellous Mixers’ was born, a range of delicious, home-made chutney mixers, which can be used in so many different ways that the word ‘chutney’ becomes redundant! And a new market sector has been created as has a chutney with attitude!
PJEA is an amazing course and Amersham is extremely lucky to have a college on our doorstep which offers a real variety of courses to suit students of all abilities and ages. There is a lot of publicity surrounding getting young people to stay in education, and quite rightly too as education provides you with options and opportunities, no matter what subject you go for. It’s about getting a tangible qualification under your belt, no matter what it is, as it will help you build the foundations you need for your future. However, there is very little publicity for adults who wish to do something different with their lives and who may want to try a different route to success and survival!
I cannot recommend the adult PJEA course enough if you have always wanted to have a go at running your own business and want to take a different route. The course tutors are amazing and the industry experts and gurus you meet, might be mentors, who help you achieve your success. If you want to find out more about this treasure on our very own doorstep, give the college a ring and find out whether it’s for you! Good luck! We need more entrepreneurs to give our area a massive boost.
Gas & Plumbing
“I run my own property maintenance company and am studying this course because it will give me the paperwork to work in the industry.
I fitted a bathroom recently and the instructions mentioned it should only be fitted by a person with a NVQ Level 3 qualification. I can see insurance companies refusing to pay out in the future if the work is not done by a competent and qualified engineer and this course will ensure that I am. The course runs two nights per week and is very good. The tutors are knowledgeable and approachable.”
“I started out on a BTEC acting course and achieved a BTEC National Award in year one, I decided to switch over to the technical side of theatre production.
I really enjoy seeing a show come together and this course really suits me much better. I was made deputy stage manager for a recent college performance of “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying,” at the Elgiva Theatre in Chesham and really enjoyed the experience. I think stage management is my forte.
College has helped build my confidence and has brought out my personality. I’ve had such a lot of support from tutors and I will really miss college when I leave. Teaching is to a very high standard, tutors take time out to help out and I’ve also learnt an awful lot from other students along the way.
I am progressing to Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in North London to do a BA (hons) degree in Technical Theatre. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at College and would recommend this course to anyone with an interest in theatre production.”
Art & Design
“I have always had an interest in photography and wanted to learn to take my own pictures. As well as learning how to use a camera I particularly enjoyed the various projects that were set for us. Working with graphics students to photograph their food packaging projects was particularly good.”
As a result of her hard work, Sarah was presented with a Commitment and Determination Award at the recent Student Awards ceremony. Her tutor commented: “Sarah has been tenacious in her studies and responded well to advice from teachers on how to develop her work. Through her commitment and determined efforts, Sarah has achieved a foundation degree with merit.”
“I chose this course because the college has excellent animation resources and an excellent learning environment.
The best part of the course is learning something new and being able to express myself creatively and how I want to. My course has helped me understand e-media and also improve my drawing skills.”
Last year Alex was a recipient of a Student Achievement Award. His tutor said: “Alex has successfully mastered some of the most technically demanding software that the Animation & Visual Effects industry uses. His written theory work has gained some of the highest marks ever awarded on the FdA Animation course.”
“Good performing arts facilities and an equally strong reputation were key factors in my decision to enrol for the BTEC National Diploma Musical Theatre course,” says former student Shanay Holmes.
“I always wanted to be a singer and to find a path to further my career, and starting out at Amersham & Wycombe College gave me the right foundations to do so.”
So far, Shanay has Cabaret, TV and Musical experience to her credit and will be expanding her portfolio when she launches a solo R&B album set for wide scale distribution. In the meantime, Shanay has a lead singing role in the West End musical THRILLER LIVE, which showcases the life of Michael Jackson. The show takes Shanay to China, South Africa and a host of European countries.
Art & Design
Winning a prestigious category at the 2010 Association of Photographers’ Student Awards in London, being a finalist again this year, qualifying as a finalist in the Nikon Foundation competition and having her work published in Italian Vogue, are just some of the many achievements of Foundation Degree Photography student Antonina Dolaniecka.
“College has really helped me to develop my potential and style of photography and the teaching has been helpful and supportive. I have really enjoyed my time here at College and hope to go on to work in the fashion industry.”
Sport & Leisure
“I found my time at the College very rewarding. I loved the interaction with tutors plus the outdoor pursuits courses we undertook.
I learned about nutrition, diet and training, understanding my body and how to get the best from it through personal training. A particularly rewarding aspect of the course was organising a dodgeball event for students which resulted in strong participation and was a thoroughly enjoyable event.”
Joe has gone on to Bucks New University where he is studying Sports Science. He is also a semi-professional road racing cyclist with a long-term ambition of competing in the Olympics.
“I work part time in the private sector delivering training to Health and Social Care workers and the proximity of the college allowed me to study this course whilst juggling work and home life. My previous employment has included childcare, project management and serving in the Women’s Royal Naval Service.
I would say the highlight of the course for me was the classroom sessions where I could interact with other students, learn from them also and enjoy being part of a group.
This qualification has given me confidence to explore innovative ways of teaching and learning at work and I hope to gain QTLS status in the near future.
I would definitely recommend this course (Diploma to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) to anyone who is interested in developing their skills for effective teaching and learning and would suggest that the course will provide lots of opportunities to challenge any preconceived ideas.
I used to think that it was all about the teaching, but now I can see it’s about the learning.”
“I initially took a Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector course as I was interested in teaching. I had a bit of training work but not a proper job. After the course, I applied for a lecturing job. The interview was full of questions I couldn’t have answered if I hadn’t done the course. It got me the job!
I am a lecturer with Relate Institute on a number of courses — some very academic (MA) and others which are more vocational or CPD. I am also teaching in further education as well as continuing my private counselling practice. I have just completed an MA in counselling and am considering a PhD, thanks to an action research project I undertook at the College, which has given me the confidence to take my studies forward.”
BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Public Services student Jamie Acton joined Wigan Warriors rugby league team, whilst at college and now plays for for Leigh Centurions in the Super League.
His playing ability was recognised by a Wigan Warriors scout, which lead to him joining the under 20s squad.
BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Public Course tutor David Benson said: “Jamie always tried to be the best in everything he tackled and his assignment scores certainly reflected this.” Jamie adds: “The College helped me a lot with my course and coaching and I thank them for being so supportive.”
“Walking into college I knew I had my eyes set on performing in some capacity, but if someone had told me in two years time I would be hosting my own radio show and climbing up the ladder of national broadcasting, I wouldn’t have believed it. In my first year of college I got to grips with what I was like as a performer, I found my own niche and speciality which was monologues. As much as I enjoyed playing the part of a class clown on stage and always making people laugh, my first year taught me a lot more than just how to put on a comedy performance. My second year tested my perseverance and will power, focusing more on training my voice and speech to make things sound clearer and interesting to an audience. Hours of reciting tongue twisters and breathing exercises paid off to walk out of college with two Distinctions and A Merit to show for it. Radio may not be the norm, but it just goes to show how sending in a small voice clip of yourself to a local radio station can go a long way. Now managing my own music and hosting two live on air shows (VIBE 107.6 fm), it looks like mastering that tongue Twister about a “Tiny Tiger” really did pay off. Onwards and upwards!”
“When I left school to do the Acting course at Amersham and Wycombe College, I was absolutely terrified as I didn’t know what to expect, however I knew that Acting was what I wanted to do and I felt that the course offered a highly professional training that would help me get into a drama school or university.
It was the best decision I made as it helped me to grow in confidence and self esteem a huge amount and the friends I made in college are some of my closest friends. The course itself covers a great deal of subjects and everyday you feel like you are learning and growing as a performer to really understand the industry and craft of Acting. I left feeling like I had been trained to a really high standard as an actor which gave me the confidence to apply for drama school and university.
The teaching on the course is the best part of the course because you are being trained essentially by people who have worked in the industry and really know what they are talking about. You are challenged and pushed by the teachers to do the best you can and treated as a professional which is brilliant because you learn to be responsible and committed and to work as a team which is really important. There was also a tremendous amount of support from the teachers and I felt that I could talk to my tutor about anything that was worrying me whether it was college related or not.
After I graduated from college, I was invited to come back as a teaching volunteer and help. It has been an amazing experience for me and I have found it so interesting being on the other side and seeing what it is like being a tutor. I feel like it has helped me grow a huge amount in confidence both as an actor and a person and has made me even more passionate about being an actor. Passing down knowledge of the craft of acting, has made me want to study it even more and the technical sides of acting that I may not have understood when I was a student have become really clear and I fully understand them now. Being a voluntary teaching assistant and having such an amazing experience has definitely made me want to become a teacher myself someday.
During my second year at college I applied and auditioned at most of the top drama schools in London and outside. It was an incredibly difficult time for me because I each time I was getting rejected and I was terrified that I was going to end up not going anywhere. I didn’t have any success with drama school and I had no idea what I was going to do. I took a gap year but I knew that all I wanted to do was act, so I decided that I would audition again for drama school.
Auditioning for a second year has been such a positive experience for me because although I wasn’t sure if I was going to get anywhere again, I felt that having taken a year out to really process what I had learnt from college and knowing that I wanted to act more than anything else helped me to just take each audition as an experience and learn something from it whatever the outcome.
I have had so much more success this year getting recalls, offers and paid parts in plays that I think is down to just being myself in auditions and not trying to be who I think they want me to be or trying to do things that will make me different because at the end of the day they don’t even know themselves what they are looking for. I think doing voluntary work at the college has made me more responsible and confident in what I am looking for and how I want to be further trained.
I would definitely recommend the Acting course at college to anyone who is passionate about Acting and Storytelling. It is a hard course and at times it will push you but if you are committed, reliable and enthusiastic you will gain so much from it and it will boost your confidence and self esteem. It is also a brilliant course for bonding people together and you make such close friends so quickly through this intense experience you are sharing that there is a bond between your class mates even after you have graduated the college.
My advice would be to not care what other people think of you and jump in and take risks from the beginning because your time at college goes so quickly. Also ask questions, be hungry for information and take advantage of the fantastic teachers you have! Finally, I would say don’t worry about rushing to get in somewhere, everyone matures and is ready at different times in their lives and if you don’t get in first time it may not have been your year but if you love it and want to do it nothing can stop you and eventually it will be your time. I’m really excited to be starting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art this autumn.”
Art & Design
Jayne Wilton put her first class BA (hons) degree to good practice. Having studied at the College from 2004 to 2008, she then went on to secure an MA place at the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art.
During her time at Amersham & Wycombe College, Jayne developed a unique fine art technique which captured human breath on paper and went on to produce a book of this work for her degree show. This was later purchased by the Tate Artists’ book collection.
Health, Social Care & Counselling
Tariq is committed to the Health & Social Care Profession and shows this through his unfailing professionalism. Tariq’s achievements were recently rewarded at the College’s Student Awards Ceremony where he picked up a Commitment and Determination Award for being a consistent and enthusiastic learner in his NVQ Level 3 Apprenticeship in Health & Social Care and for his excellent manner and outstanding practitioner skills.
“It was very kind of tutors to nominate me and I was impressed with the event and to receive the certificate for my efforts. This is an encouraging event for students and something for parents to look forward to as well. We thoroughly enjoyed it. I have learnt so much about Health and Social Care through College.”
Business & Enterprise
“I started this course to help improve my business skills in the office and it is helping me understand more about everything I do.
My tutor does a great job of explaining aspects which are unclear and he has been very supportive throughout. As a result, I am enjoying my job more because I understand what’s required and how to get good results. This qualification will be extremely useful for me as it’s developing my professional skills.”
“I have worked at Chiltern Railways for 2 years in their High Wycombe station ticket office and am about to finish my Apprenticeship (NVQ L2) in Customer Service. Originally the Customer Service Manager asked us to do it, although it wasn’t compulsory.
I hadn’t done any form of studying since university, so I was a bit nervous to start with, but the tutor from the college explained it so well that I decided to go for it. I am really glad I did – you need to be committed to do it, but the rewards are really good; I am proud of what I am achieving in my qualification and in my job. I can increase my theoretical learning with real life experience and the theoretical side is teaching me how to better deal with challenging situations at work and giving me a greater awareness of customer needs.
I would really recommend training in this way – it’s nothing to be frightened of, even if you haven’t studied since school, it is really interesting and you can apply what you learn straight away.”
Business & Enterprise
“I decided to do an NVQ because my previous qualifications were not field related to my current position. I am a Trade Administrator for Rebellion and the company is supportive of employees not just as workers but as people. I wanted to do a course to complement my career and help me think more roundly about the tasks I do at work. The level 3 NVQ Business Administration course was the next step.
The College has been great right from my initial enquiries. I asked around a few colleges but Amersham and Wycombe College offered me what I was asking for, with a reasonable price and within a way that would fit around my career. Everything was just so smoothly coordinated right from the word go. As soon as I said I was ready to go ahead I was connected with John my assessor who emailed me the course info. We met a week later at my workplace where we decided upon the modules I was looking at and how to go ahead. He was able to answer all my questions and was even happy to meet with my employer to explain how the course would work.
I would definitely recommend this course to others. The elements of the course include coursework, where I answer a series of statements relating to the things I do at work, and proof of what I do, such as witness statements from managers or first-hand assessor observations. The modules really do make me think not just about what I do but also why I do it, what it means and the wider implications within the whole company.”
“I chose Amersham & Wycombe College because it had the best facilities and reputation locally. I started on the level 2 course and am now doing a level 3 Apprenticeship.
The college part of the course is really important as I get to learn all the theory, which you can’t really learn on the job. I am capable now of completely wiring a house and work with my supervisor in terms of him officially signing my work off. I am also studying in the evenings to complete my suite of qualifications. I can recommend vocational training, don’t just follow the A Levels/university route- it isn’t the only way and doing a vocational course can really give you the right skills you need to get on in life. It is paying off for me in terms of work and achievement – I won the National Sparks Apprentice of the Year competition 2012 – competing for the Sparks magazine prize against electrical Apprentices nationally.”
Art & Design
“The Graphic Design course I studied at AWC helped me prepare for work by not only equipping me with an understanding of visual communication and the ability to use the software used by professional designers, but it also the confidence to pursue my creative aspirations.
The College helped me establish myself as a designer and the events it gets involved in such as the D&AD awards (international student design competition) and local exhibitions really helped me to get noticed. I was thrilled when I was asked by the College to apply my understanding as an Alumnus with my ability as a designer, to create the new College logo and brand”.
The new College brand, the results of Will’s hard work, can be seen on this and other College materials.
Gas & Plumbing
“I joined this course very late and wasn’t sure whether I would make the grade, but after a successful interview and test and a clear indication from tutors what lay ahead for me I decided to grasp this opportunity and make it work.
I was fortunate to have been offered a position as a plumbing apprenticeship with Boss Plumbing & Heating in Ealing when I started the course and this has been brilliant for me. Before starting this course I jumped from job to job but with an apprenticeship I feel as if I am achieving something new every day.”
Gas & Plumbing
“I studied a Multicrafts course initially to get a taste for what was available and then decided on a plumbing career path.
I started my course in September 2010 and through determination and a lot of hard work, I managed to get myself a job as an apprentice almost straight away. I work for Apple Interior design in Great Missenden most of the week and come into college to complete my training. I get great support and am regularly assessed. Now I know where I’m heading in life, it’s a great relief and I know I have the full support of the college’s lecturers behind me.”
Sport & Leisure
Nicky Poulter jetted off to America on a soccer scholarship after spending three years on the Amersham & Wycombe College football development programme. Nicky achieved excellent results both in the classroom and on the football pitch and is continuing his achievements across the Atlantic, playing collegiate soccer at the highest level while studying a level 4, Business Management degree course.
Nicky was recruited by Iowa Central Community College, athletically known as the Tritons and made an immediate impact, helping them to a winning streak and runner up status in their region.
Nicky says, “Amersham & Wycombe College gave me the perfect stepping stone to get me where I wanted to go in America. The college provided the opportunities and I was in the right place at the right time to take advantage of them, otherwise I wouldn’t have realised my dream of studying in the USA. The coaching was first class and the support both academically and on the pitch was excellent.”
“After attending a College Open Day, I was impressed by what the course offered and the facilities available,” says Natalie Harris explaining her decision to enrol for the Musical Theatre course.
Through her dedication and hard work, Natalie achieved a triple distinction “You have to put the work in but this is a great course if you want to get on in the industry,” says Natalie, who secured a place at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London.
“The knowledge of my lecturers, the individual modules we undertook, such as life drawing and media theory, helped me immensely to understand how the process of animation is achieved.
Visits to Double Negative and Aardman Studios have been some of the course highlights and these have given me an insight into working within the industry. This course was recommended to me by my friends and I am just completing my third year at the college having already done a BTEC in animation before moving on to my Foundation Degree course. I specialise in architectural animation and really enjoy it.”
Greg Hill’s decision to enrol on the College’s BTEC National Diploma Music course came partly through recommendation and partly after visiting the College’s music facilities.
“I was impressed by what I saw and as I’ve found out since leaving College, the standard of equipment provided doesn’t get much better, with lots of high-end gear. I learnt a great deal about recording, composing and playing music as part of a heavy rock band ‘EXIST’. Playing with the band at the College was a real highlight for me.”
Since leaving, Greg has set up a small independent record label and recording studio using the business plan written as part of his studies.
Thomas Lishman was presented with an ‘Outstanding Achievement’ Award at the College’s recent TV/Media Awards evening.
Thomas’s amazing visualisations epitomize the very high standard of work exhibited by the College’s e-media students. Thomas has already produced commercial work for industry as he continues to develop his style and technique.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time here at College and learnt so much along the way. I enjoyed it so much, I stayed on to study a Foundation Degree in Animation and have now gone on to university.”
You can see Thomas’s outstanding work on his website here: www.tlishman.co.uk
“I have a learning difficulty when it comes to writing and was told that Amersham & Wycombe College would be the best place to help me towards my studies in media and TV Production.
The teaching and support I had was very good and this helped me with my practical and written work. A highlight of my course was the group productions, because you had to interact and be more sociable. I learnt so much from meeting visitors and presenters. The College has helped me to develop my social skills and to become more adult when working with others.”
In addition to successfully completing a National Diploma Performing Arts dance course at the College, Nadine Samuels auditioned against 25 other acts to earn the privilege of performing on stage at the prestigious annual Learning and Skills Council Awards evening, where she sang the Etta James’ song, “At Last”.
Following her graduation, Nadine was accepted to the Urdang Academy in London on a three year Musical Theatre programme.
“Nadine took up ballet, contemporary dance, jazz and tap and demonstrated a real gift for choreography,” said course leader Rebecca Smedley. “She sang with a natural, powerful and passionate voice, in spite of having no formal training.”
“I am really noticing a difference to my teaching style after studying Teacher Training at the College.
I feel much more empowered as a teacher and more able to get student feedback to improve my lessons. The feedback is positive and constructive and I am able to bring that to the Teacher Training sessions to further my development. The teaching on the course is excellent, it is clear and the course delivery is very well organised.”
Art & Design
“I studied a BTEC National Diploma in Photography at Amersham and Wycombe College. If I had to sum up the experience I had over the two years studying there, I could call it nothing less than phenomenal.
Prior to starting at Amersham I had begun to feel like my time in education had become stagnant and that I was far from learning new things; I was just repeatedly proving I still knew things I had been taught several years prior.
Having studied in the area of art and photography for many years I expected more of the same but I was still drawn in by the fantastic facilities Amersham & Wycombe had to offer. I was pleasantly surprised, throughout the course I was consistently acquiring new skills and developing existing ones, and many of these have come in handy in my current line of work as a web designer.
I had very primitive knowledge of web design which had grown from toying around building my own website at home. The eye for design, which was honed whilst at Amersham, helped dramatically. It meant I was able to achieve websites that look fantastic and modern, or really capture what the customer wanted. I have nearly been in the role for a year and since starting, my technical skills have caught up to where they need to be.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Amersham and Wycombe College and regard it as a revolutionary experience which has changed my life and put me into the career I have now. I would recommend its courses to anyone – young or old – interested in carrying on in Further Education or simply expanding their skill set.”
Jack’s website: www.jackpierce.co.uk
Business & Enterprise
“My brother went to Amersham & Wycombe College and had a good experience but I did the rounds of other education providers before deciding to study here – I like the environment and the helpful tutors.
My course is going well but you need to ensure you keep on top of the work. I’ve gained in confidence and you are encouraged to interact and share your views. I was President of the College’s Student Union which is another great achievement for me.”
Media student Scott McGreal was awarded the prestigious title of 2011 BTEC Student of the Year in Media in recognition of his tremendous achievements, work ethic, social skills and overall ability during the two year course.
“I wanted to study at the College because of the facilities offered and the excellent reputation of tutors. You do not get this kind of equipment in any other college and once I saw the TV studio I was sold on the course.
Over the past two years I feel as if I have grown a great deal as an individual and developed a strong technical and practical understanding of the TV industry. I have felt engaged in learning, have been given lots of responsibility and was always been treated as an adult. One of the biggest things I’ve learnt is how to apply myself in a variety of situations as a result of developing my people skills and being given the role of student ambassador for the College.
I am going to Bournemouth University in September to study TV Production at Degree level and then hope to progress to an MA at the National Film & Television School.”
Sophie completed her Foundation Degree at the College in 2011 and has gone on to dance in some of the most popular programmes on TV.
These have included The Rob Brydon Show and Dancing on Ice. Sophie is also a dancer with the Vegas Show Girls, a UK-based dance troupe who perform at special events throughout the country and is currently performing in The Rat Pack national tour.
“The course and tutors have been very helpful with my progression and with my career,” says Sophie. “I particularly enjoyed working on the performance of Pacific Overtures under the exceptional direction of college tutors. We were able to capture the essence of Kabuki Theatre and Japanese Culture. The production was new and exciting and completely different from anything I’ve worked on before.”
“I had a strong interest in childcare whilst at school and this has remained with me into higher education. The course is hard work and time-consuming but it has fulfilled my expectations and provided me with valuable knowledge about childcare in many areas I wasn’t familiar with.
I particularly like the idea of engaging with children in outdoor play rather than being taught in the classroom as you get the opportunity to put theory into practice. I am hoping to take a BA Hons course on completion of my studies and specialise in either speech/play therapy or psychology.”
Jaimie’s dedication to her course earned her a High Attainment Award at the recent student Awards ceremony. “With dedication to her studies and personal application, Jaimie has displayed outstanding practice in Early Years and an excellent transfer of academic knowledge to her skill base,” said her tutor.
Peter Jones Enterprise Academy
“I have 2 children and was made redundant when I started my maternity leave with my second daughter in 2007.
I dreamt of starting my own business and had many ideas but lacked the know-how to get started. I did all the Business Link one-day start-up courses, and read everything I could about starting a business. However, none of these actually helped me enough to start a business. It was the Academy’s short adult course that helped me crystalise my vision, channel my passion and helped me gain the confidence to realise my dream.”
Peter Jones Enterprise Academy
“My childhood dream, from the age of seven, was to one day set up and run my very own business.
The Academy taught me that entrepreneurship is similar to an iceberg, in that 90 per cent of its mass is underwater. The depth of 90 per cent of an entrepreneur is drive, hunger, ambition, the ability to be a sponge, continually learning and picking up skills amongst many more others. What the academy allowed me to do was to take a dive beneath water in order to explore my limits.”
Throughout his year at the Academy, Ayo faced his fair share of trials but he learnt the importance of positive thinking and hard work, which all paid off when he was awarded the National Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2010. Several years have passed since Ayo graduated from the Academy and he is now running a successful property investment company with two experienced investors. Ayo was invited to act as the Academy spokesperson when Academy Ambassadors attended a reception at Buckingham Palace with His Royal Highness The Duke of York and Peter Jones CBE.
“Having left school at 16, I wasn’t sure which career path to choose and a friend recommended this course to me last year. I’m getting good support in my studies and the practical work is very interesting.
I’m with a good bunch of students and everyone takes the course seriously so we tend to get a lot done in the classroom. The biggest benefit for me so far is to have confirmed in my own mind that this is the best step forward for me.”
“I want to study theatre lighting and design and this course will give me a qualification which is recognised throughout the industry. At the moment I am fitting this vocational course in with building work which gives me money in my pocket and a new career opportunity to look forward to.”
“I travel from Oxford to study this course as it offers much greater availability than anything local. I am a delivery driver at the moment but I decided to learn a trade and am training to become an electrician.
I am enjoying the course but it’s not something you can do solely at College as there’s lots to think about and absorb. The course has met my expectations, it was a bit daunting at first but we have good tutors who do what they are here to do. I didn’t particularly enjoy school, but here the College’s tutors are more approachable.”
“The five-evening plastering course was excellent and just what I was looking for. I learnt everything I needed to know in order to apply base and finishing coats to internal walls, repair holes and to perform rendering.
I was initially a bit concerned that I would be only forty-plus woman in a class full of 18-year-old boys but after talking to a few friends I realised that the 18-year-olds would be far more likely to go on daytime courses! This class was a nice mixture of people both older and younger than me, and was evenly divided between those wanting to learn the skills in order to work on their own properties and those looking to diversify their professional skills in related areas. And there was even one other woman in the class which was nice!
So I would say to any woman looking to acquire these skills – don’t be put off because of the mostly male environment; everyone was treated equally and with the utmost respect both by the instructor and the other participants. The instructor was a professional plasterer and happy to advise on related areas of plastering even though they could not be covered in practice on the course. As a result of this positive experience I have now booked on part 2 of the course for another 5 weeks, which offers a choice of different plastering-related areas; my goals are to learn how to plaster a ceiling and screed a floor.”
Business & Enterprise
“I chose to study at Amersham & Wycombe College as it was a local college close to both my home and working environment – I thought this was essential if I was to commit to studying in the evening. My career started in telesales with British Airways from which I progressed into field sales within the motor industry working for organisations that included Saab and Honda.
After having my children I began part-time work in an office and when my eldest was old enough to go to school I found roles in education and currently work as an Employer Liaison Co-ordinator for Bucks New University.
Achieving a distinction on my course was an amazing feeling especially after I left school with ‘O’ levels and have not undertaken any formal education in over twenty years. Also to receive an award from the University for ‘Most Distinguished Undergraduate on Programme at a Partner College’ – I still can’t quite believe it!
The qualification so far has widened my business acumen in the workplace and given me a new found confidence in all that I do. I am now planning to take the top up year so I can obtain my full degree next year.
I cannot recommend highly enough taking this big step – two evenings per week seems a lot especially when you have a family, job and home to run but it goes so quickly, you learn so much and when your family attend your graduation it is one of the proudest moments of your life.”
Art & Design
“I worked really hard at College and expected to do reasonably well but achieving a Triple Distinction was a fantastic surprise.
I developed a technique for producing hand-based illustrations and manipulating them in Photoshop and learned many new techniques along the way. College has been a great experience for me and I have been surprised by how much I have learnt bouncing and feeding ideas from others. I am going on to BNU to study Corporate Event and Conference Management.”
Hair & Beauty
“This course is a natural progression for me as I have already studied hairdressing at Levels 1 and 2 at the college.
I now attend classroom sessions once a week and my tutor is amazing in pushing me as well as being very supportive along the way. I work the rest of the week at Oxygen Hair & Beauty in Beaconsfield and have a bit of a passion for wedding hair and the fashion side of hairdressing. I’ve learnt an awful lot both at College and in the salon.”
Health, Social Care & Counselling
“A friend recommended this course to me and it has been a good experience. I like the way the course is structured but you need to be disciplined to keep on track of everything.
You are encouraged to do independent research and self-assessment. Previously I had no experience in this sector but I find the course very interesting. I am hoping to go on to university to study social work.”
BTEC National Diploma Performing Arts (Dance) student Robyn Bevan made it through to the final of the World Skills UK Contemporary Dance finals in London in 2009 with a highly original solo performance, repeated at the College’s End of Year Show.
At the completion of her studies this year, Robyn achieved a triple distinction, the highest award attainable. Speaking about her time at College, Robyn said; “I made strong bonds with tutors and this had a really positive impact on my learning. It helped me to fully develop my technical ability and to understand how I could help myself to get the best out of the course. The high levels of experience and expertise in performing arts also played a major role in helping me to progress to my HE college of choice.” Robyn has secured a place at the highly regarded Bird College in London.
Arriving in a foreign country with little or no understanding of the local language is undoubtedly a daunting prospect for any individual.
Fortunately Amersham & Wycombe College’s English for speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) department is geared up for such occurrences. Sylwia Molenda-Kotowska from Poland is just one of the many students who enrolled for the full-time Entry Level course that is designed to help students gain an initial grasp of English so that individuals can more fully integrate into society. “The tutors are really supportive and I have learned so much already,” says Sylwia. “I want to work in England but it is difficult if you can’t speak the language. This course is run by very friendly tutors and I am making good progress with my English.”
“Studying at Amersham meant I was exposed to music I wouldn’t have been normally. This has helped me work in different environments with different styles of music and to appreciate them.
Because of this, when I started university I felt as though I had a foot up as I was being taught stuff I already had wide experience of. Furthermore, after taking part in the Shamstock music festival, I felt that live music and events were things I could pursue and am now working in that industry whilst at University.
I’m Manager of a record label which recently had an album at number 16 in Itunes Europe Hip Hop chart. I have had 14+ Vinyl releases which are shipped all over the world. I also help run events in the Czech Republic and the USA. On top of this I am Online & Street Promotions manager for an international Event – Shake It! – http://www.shakeitlondon.com/. Finally, I co-run a website and event site – getdownordie.com”
Business & Enterprise
“I have been working in the ticket office at High Wycombe station for Chiltern Railways for 5 years now. When my Manager first approached me and asked me if I would like to do a Customer Service Apprenticeship, I was a bit unsure, but then I realised it could be really useful.
I have finished the course now and am waiting for my results and have to say I can really recommend doing an Apprenticeship to anyone. It gives you extra skills which really help you in your job; it helps you really focus on your job and gives you the extra knowledge you need to improve your performance.
It has helped me to understand exactly what is involved in giving excellent customer service and its importance for the company as a whole. What I really like about an Apprenticeship is that you learn things which you can immediately put into practice, plus the course part of the training helps you understand the whole company as well as your role in it.”
“I love my course. I’m really enjoying it. I didn’t do particularly well in my GCSEs but I really enjoy my time at college and achieved a distinction in all of my modules last year. I am enjoying looking at web design and programming in particular.
Tutors Jim Grant and Ruth Evans have both really helped and Ruth has built my confidence. I’ve always been interested in IT so I was very pleased to have been able to get onto this course.
I never expected college to be this good. The tutors really help out and this has given me the confidence to get the work done. College has been a great experience for me and I can’t rate it enough. I am hoping to go to university to follow my interests in web site design.”