Meet our students

Meet our students

Aaron - Countryside & Wildlife Management (Level 3)

Previous School: The Radcliffe School 

Aaron

I started at sixth form after school but after a year decided to change direction and come to College instead. I’d always had an interest in the environment and I realised that Shuttleworth was the right place to achieve what I wanted to do.

My favourite part of the study programme is the ecology side; learning how ecosystems work and carrying out surveys. I am planning on going to university after College to study ecology further and focus specifically on marine ecology.

The facilities here at College are brilliant and you can contact your tutors at anytime. They help you to get the grades you need, but it is up to you to put the work in and decide how you want to work.

I was part of the Gardens Team on the Woburn Estate for my work experience placement. There was lots of cutting back of plants and maintaining trees and I found that I was much more confident both using the machinery, and in other aspects such as plant identity, thanks to the skills and knowledge I had acquired in lessons.

If you’re interested in the environment and the countryside then I would say definitely apply for this study programme. It gives you both the knowledge and experience in industry that you need to progress.

Find out more about Countryside & Wildlife Management Level 3

Abby - Agriculture Advanced (Level 3)

Previous School: Manshead School, Dunstable

Case Study Abby Agriculture Level 3

Once I’d finished my GCSEs I knew I wanted to go to college rather than stay on at school because I enjoy more practical based learning. Shuttleworth College has a really good reputation so we came to visit at an Open Day. The Agriculture tutor, Anne-Marie, was really nice; I had an interview and enrolled on to the course.

I hadn’t studied Agriculture before but I really enjoy it. My favourite part is the livestock because it’s very rewarding and I enjoy the challenges it brings – looking after the sheep and cattle, and of course the lambing season! The facilities at Kingshill Farm are brilliant and there is a separate mechanisation yard with all the tractors and farming equipment. I’ve just joined the onsite gym and the library is good too. I live in Dunstable, which isn’t a problem because the college run bus service covers the area.

I’m looking forward to a work experience placement this September at a farm during the harvesting season.

You are treated like an adult at College and I get on really well with the tutors – they are always there if you have any problems or questions. In fact, when I started at Shuttleworth I didn’t want to go to university, but my tutor Anne-Marie has inspired me to learn more. I’d now love to go on to Harper Adams University when I finish here and hopefully pursue a career in farming. I’d recommend the course to others as it really helps you grow as a person.   

Find out more about Agriculture Level 3

Amy - Equine Management (Level 3)

Previous School: Harlington Upper School

Amy

I’ve ridden since I was three years old and have my own horse at home who I compete at British Dressage (BD) Elementary level. Once I’d finished my GCSEs, it was important for me to do something I would enjoy, and this study programme looked like it would open up plenty of opportunities in the industry.

You get to ride some really nice horses here at College and the facilities are great with two large indoor arenas. I’m also learning new things, such as all about rehabilitation therapy. I had never really looked into it before, but it is so interesting.

The support system here is fantastic; it makes me feel really happy coming here every day because the tutors are so great and always look for the best in everyone. I’d definitely recommend the College to others.

I’m looking forward to a three week work experience placement at Beverley Brightman’s [International Grand Prix dressage rider] yard. Once I complete the Level 3 I am hoping to get a job on a dressage yard and work my way up from there. In the future I may go off and look into rehabilitation as I have enjoyed learning about it here at College.

Find out more about Equine Management Level 3

Ben - Steps to Independence

Previous School: Ivel Valley School

Ben

When I was looking at options after finishing school, both my dad and my teachers told me about the programmes on offer at college. I looked at a couple of different colleges but chose Bedford College because I live in Bedfordshire so it’s easier for me to get here. I have to catch two buses each way, which I do on my own. 

One of my favourite things on the course is cooking skills. We make soup, sausage rolls and jacket potatoes, and run Souper Douper where we set up an area for people around the College to come and buy our food. We also take orders and deliver around the College.

Cooking is on Tuesdays and then on the other days we study travel, Maths and English and then get to choose another option to study. I chose media because I would love to be an Actor one day and do some camera work as well; maybe even make my own films. I’ve always loved music and drama.

People here at College have all got different individual needs and the staff know how to accommodate this. The tutors are actually amazing; if you’ve got a problem they will help very quickly.

I came to College to be more independent because I want to get things right for the future. I already get the bus on my own, but I also want to be able to cook for myself and look after my own money. I know the College will be able to help me with these things.

Buse - Health & Social Care (Level 2)

Previous School: Hastingsbury Business & Enterprise College (now Kempston Challenger Academy) 

buse

When I was studying the Level 1 in Childcare here at College I wanted to become a Social Worker. However, now I have changed my mind and would like to be a Criminologist because I find it a fascinating area to study. There are aspects of criminology and mental health on this programme, so once I have completed the Level 3, I plan to apply to university to study Criminology and eventually work in a police department.

Although I miss school, I have found that College offers you more freedom and that the tutors here are really nice and funny, so you can have a laugh with them. They give you lots of feedback and I have got used to writing the assignments we have to do as part of the assessment. I use the Learning Resources Centre (LRC) regularly; I really like it as there are plenty of books for the study programme and you can use the computers and different silent and group work zones.

My favourite part of the programme so far has been the Creative Therapies unit where we have worked on tasks such as making an object from playdoh and learning how to clearly describe it to someone who might be blind, or learning how to describe simple tasks to someone with dementia.

Every Friday I do work experience at a local school, which is really fun. I’ve recently been helping the children with their castle project.

Find out more about Health & Social Care Level 2

Charlene - Barbering (Level 2)

Charlene

Since leaving school I have studied for a degree in Floristry and completed a part-time Accounting course. I still love doing floristry, but unfortunately it was not providing consistent work; I needed something that would guarantee full-time work, and I love working with people, so I chose Barbering. I’m a very creative person, so I knew I could incorporate this into barbering.

I came to Bedford College because it is local and has a good reputation. The Barbering programme was recommended to me and all I can say is, I wish I had done it earlier! I love coming here everyday and just don’t want it to end. My tutor has been a brilliant support and has flown me through the programme.

I’ve had work experience with Jagged Edge Barbers where I helped on the till, with stock checks, gowning up and shampooing hair. After the Level 2 I am going to move on to the Level 3 with Jagged Edge Barbers Academy and have been offered a position with them. I’m aiming to become a successful Barber.

Find out more about Barbering Level 2

Chloe - Computing (Level 3)

Previous School: Hastingsbury Business & Enterprise College (now Kempston Challenger Academy) 

chloe

Although I considered sixth form after finishing school, I chose to come to College because I wanted to do something different and focus on one thing. My brother had studied the Level 2 and Level 3 here, and I had already studied IT in school. Everything is becoming IT based now in society so it made sense to choose this study programme.

I’m enjoying all of the practical work, particularly coding, which is fun. I’m not so keen on databases! I am good at maths though, so once I finish this programme, I want to study Accountancy here at the College for a year, or perhaps find a job or apprenticeship in the area.

I’ve completed 51 hours of work experience at The Re-Use Centre in Bedford where I helped with online sales. Whatever you choose to do, it’s your responsibility to be at College and so there is a greater sense of freedom compared to school. The tutors are really nice and helpful too.

Find out more about Computing Level 3

Chloe - Hospitality & Catering (Level 1)

Previous School: Mark Rutherford School

Chloe

I love cooking, so coming to College was a great opportunity to give it my full attention and learn more about it. I enjoyed cookery lessons at school and cook regularly at home as well.

The best thing about College is learning new recipes and being able to cook for others. The onsite College restaurant, 25 Restaurant, is open to the public and we get to prepare the dishes for their lunchtime service. It can get a bit stressful when working in the kitchens during service, but you learn a lot from it. Our tutors are always very helpful and explain things well.

Outside of College I work in a garden centre cafe at weekends, which is really good experience. My aim is to work in a professional kitchen full-time, so I will continue to work through the levels here at College to gain the qualifications I need.

Chloe - Hospitality & Catering (Level 1)

Previous School: St Andrews School 

Chloe 3

I was the only person at my old school to study cookery at GCSE! I’ve always had an interest in it and I chose to come to College to continue studying the subject, and to have a fresh start and meet new people.

At school the kitchens were set up as domestic kitchens, but here at College we work in professional, industry standard facilities. From these kitchens we cook for the 25 Restaurant lunchtime service. The College restaurant is open to the public and we have a set menu that we are each given a section to work on. This is my favourite part of the study programme.

I have also completed 30 hours work experience at Donatello’s - an Italian restaurant in Ampthill where I had chance to put my knife skills into practice with lots of chopping, and also did a bit of serving.

My tutors are very supportive. I have dyslexia and they try and help the best they can. Overall I think the environment is a lot better, as everyone has grown up a lot since finishing school.

I want to stay at College and continue to gain the qualifications I need to either become a Chef and do a bit of travelling, or I would really like to get a job as a Keyworker. This involves looking after a teenager who needs a bit of extra support in their life and cooking for them on a daily basis.

Ciaran - Performing Arts and Media Production

Ciaran Further Education Alumni Performing Arts

Ciaran chose to study at Bedford College after finishing school because of the fantastic Deaf awareness and plentiful support available to Deaf students. His journey through College and experiences along the way have really helped to boost his confidence and two years ago, aged 21, Ciaran fulfilled a lifelong dream by becoming a contestant on Countdown.

Having always loved to act, Ciaran enrolled on to the Intermediate Level Performing Arts study programme at College, before moving on to the Advanced Level. “Performing Arts gave me lots of confidence and the teachers were very supportive,” said Ciaran. Studying acting helped with Ciaran’s confidence and communication skills, but also made him realise that anything is possible if you want to achieve it. “You’ve got nothing to lose,” explained Ciaran. “You come to realise that you can do it, and you might really like it.”

Supported all the way by the Deaf Support team, Ciaran continued his journey at College to study Media Production before leaving to pursue another interest and become an apprentice tennis coach. “I used to play tennis when I was younger but started playing more seriously at about 19,” said Ciaran. “I love teaching children, adults and people with a disability and really enjoy seeing them improve their capabilities.”  “My aim is to become a qualified tennis coach and to represent the Great Britain Deaf Tennis team.”

 “I enjoyed my time here and would recommend the College to other students. The facilities are excellent and there is great support for post-16 students.”

Find out more about Performing Arts

Connor - Animal Management (Level 3)

Previous School: Barnwell School

connor

I’ve always liked animals so I looked for an Animal Management course to progress on to after finishing school. This study programme at Shuttleworth College was by far the best I found.

The facilities here are very good and we have all the resources we need to complete the programme. The tutors are also great and it’s a much more mature setting compared to school.

I really enjoy the practical side of the programme, from the cleaning out of enclosures to feeding. In fact, there isn’t one particular animal on site that I prefer working with - I like them all!

When I was doing my work experience placement at Paradise Wildlife Park, I enjoyed getting a taste of all zookeeping duties in a commercial environment. I worked with the birds, small mammals and in the paddocks, and could work confidently with them all having learnt how to clean out, feed and handle the animals here at College.

Find out more about Animal Management Level 3

Daniel - Sport Advanced (Level 3)

Previous School: Smithdon High School, Norfolk

Case Study Sport Level 3

I chose to study sport because I am a keen table tennis player. I have played for nine years and represent Great Britain at competitions all over the world; I’m now working my way towards the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics! My family moved down to the area from Norfolk in order to be based nearer to my coach and we found that Bedford College had the best facilities for wheelchair users. I’d definitely recommend the college to other disabled people.

The tutors really want the best for each of their students. They adapt everything for my needs, for example, if they give a presentation they’ll print out the PowerPoint slides so I don’t have to write as many notes. The sports hall on campus is great and we also have use of the grounds at Kempston Rovers Football Club.

In the first year of the course we focused on team sports where I partook in volleyball, while next year we will be focusing on individual sports.  I like being able to relate the theory we learn in lessons to my own sport, such as anatomy, physiology and fitness training. I’d eventually like to pursue a career in sports coaching, or fitness training and testing, which I find really interesting.

Outside of my course I have been asked to help run a disability sports club at the University of Bedfordshire which is also open to College students. 

Find out more about Sport Level 3

Dominika - Travel & Tourism Level 3

Dominika

My journey at Bedford College started five years ago when I studied an entry level English Language course.  I’ve now progressed through three levels of Travel & Tourism and I’d like to go even further and study at Level 4 and Level 5.   

I chose Travel & Tourism because I had always wanted to work as a member of cabin crew.  I love the idea of working on long haul flights and having the opportunity to visit different counties across the world, meeting new people from different backgrounds. In fact, I’ve already completed my cabin crew certificate, which was part of my course last year.

I’ve found the lessons very interesting and I’ve really enjoyed the course trips. We went to Edinburgh this year to analyse how the city organises its key tourist attractions.  We visited the zoo, took a city bus tour and a night walking tour.  For each attraction we had to fill out a questionnaire, take photographs and critically look at the organisation and their marketing.  For example, Edinburgh Zoo promotes itself as the only zoo in the UK to keep pandas, which helps attract visitors from England, Ireland and Wales, not just Scotland.

The College also arranged some work experience for me at the Park Inn by Radisson Bedford Hotel.  I was there for two weeks and worked on reception, behind the bar and in the restaurant.  They offered me a job at the end of the two weeks, but I’ve decided to focus on my higher education studies instead.

Find out more about Travel & Tourism Level 3

Douglas - Media Production Level 3

Douglas

After I left school I worked for a few years in retail management as a supervisor but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do long term.  I’d always enjoyed being creative and making videos, and I heard that Bedford College had a good reputation for media so I went to an open day to find out more.

I started with the Level 2 course and then I moved up to Level 3, which I’ve now completed.  It’s been very interesting - I’ve learnt a lot and I’ve also been given the freedom to incorporate my own ideas into the coursework.  So, for example, we recently had to make a factual documentary and we were able to choose our own topic.  I decided to produce a personal piece that dealt with my dad’s brain injury.  I had to undertake the planning, research, conduct risk assessments, prepare interviews, do all the filming and use one of the edit suites at the College to produce the final edit.

Some of the practical skills that I have learnt will be invaluable for my next steps, from understanding camera placement and the different shot types, to reviewing lighting effects and preparing an industry standard script. On the editing side we’ve also been taught to use two industry standard programmes: Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro.  The College provided us with a wide range of equipment such as digital SLRs and video cameras.  They also have a TV studio complete with lighting rig system, green screen and microphones.

My tutors have been brilliant.  They’ve helped me to look at my future in a different way.  I was against going on to university until recently when my tutors helped me to realise the career benefits of higher education.  I’ve now got an unconditional offer at the University of Lincoln to study Media Production BA (Hons), which is one of the best media courses in the country.

Find out more about Media Production Level 3

Eleana - Painting & Decorating (Level 2 Apprenticeship)

Previous School: Stratton Upper School 

 Eleana

When I decided I didn’t want to study at sixth form anymore, my journey at College began. I had just painted my own bedroom, so thought I would try studying a course in painting and decorating. I started studying at Bedford College on a full-time study programme and then, about a year in, a local company came into the College looking for an apprentice. My tutor asked me if I wanted to do it, and it’s been a really good decision.

I am now learning both on the job and at College, and I also received a £500 bursary from the Connolly Foundation to help with costs. I work for Coles Decor in Biggleswade on two week block release from College.

I enjoy painting the most, especially stencilling work. I haven’t had as much experience in papering, but it is improving. All of my tutors are so helpful and they allow you to work how you want to work. It’s a pretty relaxed environment and, although I’m one of the only girls in the department, everyone is really easy to get along with.

After the apprenticeship comes to an end I want to get into full-time employment to gain more experience before hopefully becoming a self-employed Painter & Decorator.

Find out more about Painting & Decorating Level 2 Apprenticeship

Eleni - Travel & Tourism (Level 3)

Previous School: Wootton Upper School 

 Eleni

Studying Travel & Tourism at College gives you an insight into all areas of the industry. I really enjoy learning about aviation and the jobs available. We get practical experience in airport check-in, demonstrations with the radio and tannoy systems and even how you would marshall planes on the runway.

The tutors in the department are all lovely and they treat you like more of a grown up than the teachers at school did. They also help you to find work experience placements. I have worked at the Swan Hotel in Bedford and this year at the Forest Centre in Marston Moretaine, covering receptionist and retail roles.

When I finish the Level 3 I will be looking for an apprenticeship or full-time work either in a travel agency or in aviation.

Find out more about Travel & Tourism Level 3

Ellen - Professional Cookery Level 2

Previous School: In Australia

 Case Study Ellen Professional Cookery Level 2

I lived in Australia for 10 years before coming back to the UK last year. I absolutely love cooking and have a particular passion for pastry and cake decoration. I learnt a lot of what I know from my step mum by helping out at her café when we lived in Australia. My dad had studied plumbing at Bedford College when he was younger, so when we came back to the UK I decided to enrol on the Professional Cookery course.

My tutors are really nice and will always help you out if you are having difficulty with something. The course has helped me decide that I want to pursue a career in baking, so I am taking a part-time pastry course alongside the full-time cookery course. I also want to complete the part-time Cake Decoration course before leaving College with the aim of eventually owning my own café or bakery.

Alongside the cooking, we spend some time serving in 25 Restaurant, the College’s on site training restaurant which is open to the public. We also get practical experience in the College’s student restaurant, Munch & Mocha. On a Tuesday morning we work alongside the head chef to help prepare lunch for that day, including any soups, sauces and pasta bakes.

Lessons at College are a lot more fun than at school. It’s also a more independent environment – you want to be there to learn and to work towards your own goals.

Find out more about Professional Cookery Level 2

Emily - Hairdressing (Level 2)

Previous School: Redborne Upper School 

Emily

I’ve always had a passion for hairdressing. While I was at school I started working as a Junior in a salon, which I am still doing now alongside College. It works both ways because I teach them new up-to-date ways of doing things that I have learnt in lessons, and they teach me their different techniques.

My favourite parts of the programme, alongside getting to know and working with the clients, are the cutting, colouring and foils. The facilities here at BROOKS are great. We go over to the main site for one of our theory lessons, but are mostly based here at the salon.

There are lots of opportunities at College; on the Level 3 programme you get the opportunity to work here at the salon while you learn. I want to do that and then work in another salon for three to four years before going freelance and hopefully having my own salon one day.

I’d definitely recommend the College to others. It gets you ready for the workplace and the tutors are always here to help if you get stuck. They are all Hairdressers themselves, so they know what you are going through and are very helpful.

Find out more about Hairdressing Level 2

Emma - Outdoor Adventure (Level 3)

Previous School: Hitchin Girls’ School

Emma

I wanted to come to college to experience new things and learn new life skills. I think if I had stayed at school and gone through sixth form, I wouldn’t have been at the point I am now. I am a much more confident person and am looking forward to going on to university after College to study Paramedic Science.

I enjoy every aspect of the study programme, particularly the sailing. I’ve been in the Scouts for 13 years, so I’m very used to the great outdoors, but hadn’t sailed before so I took it up in the summer before starting College. I have now had the opportunity to develop these skills in a wide variety of locations and craft types including high performance dinghies. I also really enjoyed the environmental sustainability trip where we got involved in planting trees.

My tutors are all lovely and very encouraging. I’m looking forward to my work experience placement at PGL on the Isle of Wight this summer.

Next year I will start on the Paramedic Science course at the University of Bedfordshire. Even before coming to College I knew I wanted to work with the Air Ambulance Search & Rescue team. I’ll be a qualified Paramedic after three years and then will need to undertake further training to get into air rescue.

People thought I should have gone down the A-Level route in order to pursue this career path, but this study programme also involves Anatomy and Physiology units and I have been able to successfully gain a place at university through the knowledge and experience it has given me.

Find out more about Outdoor Adventure Level 3

George - Business (Level 2)

Previous School: Bedford Academy

George

I studied Business at GCSE and, although I could have stayed on for sixth form, I knew I wanted to study the subject further, so I came to College. Other members of my family have also studied Business and I have ambitions of owning my own car dealership, so this is a good place to improve my skills and start working towards my goal.

My favourite parts of the study programme are where we get to work in a team and the Finance units, as I really enjoy maths. I have also enjoyed the Recruitment unit. I did my work experience at the Park Inn Hotel where I worked as a Receptionist. I gained lots of confidence putting my communication skills into practice and have since been offered a job there.

Our tutors are easy to talk to and very understanding. There is much more freedom at College compared to school and I use the student common room, YourSpace, at lunchtimes where we can play table tennis. I also go to the library for studying and using the computers.

After I finish the Level 2 I plan to either continue on to the Level 3 programme or find a Business apprenticeship.

Find out more about Business Level 2

Glen - Fish Management (Level 3)

Previous School: Ousedale School

Glen

Fishing has been a big hobby of mine since I was eight years old, but when it came to looking at career choices I wasn’t sure how to get into the industry. By coming to College I am now learning with tutors who are recognised in industry and can advise on the route I should be going down.

I’m not one for being inside so I mostly enjoy the fishery management work and nettings out on the lake here at College. The facilities are really good and definitely not something you find everywhere.

I’ve had work experience at an angling club lake in Milton Keynes and this year I am going to RK Leisure, which is a large complex of lakes. Small fishing lakes are generally run by volunteers, but because this is a much more commercial set up there are management opportunities available. This is what I would like to pursue as a career.

The tutors at College are so knowledgeable and will always try and adapt the study programme to your needs and find a good balance between the theory and practical. You are always treated as an adult here, which makes you want to turn up, work hard and succeed.

Find out more about Fish Management Level 3

Harriet - Floristry Level 2

Harriet

I have a part-time job in a florist and I really enjoy making people happy by doing something that makes me happy.  I love seeing people’s reactions when they come to pick up one of the displays that I’ve designed – it’s the best bit! 

One of the people I work with had already completed a floristry course at Shuttleworth and she highly recommended it.  Although I live in Hertfordshire, it hasn’t been a problem getting there as I catch the College bus which stops in Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock. 

Learning all the different floral arranging techniques has been very interesting.  For example in the wedding unit we did a lot of delicate wire work and learnt how to use parafilm floral tape effectively.  Having timed assessments has also been really valuable as they give you an idea of what it’s like to work under pressure.

We have a ‘Floristry Shop’ at the College, which is a big, walk-in, cold room which helps to keep the flowers alive for longer.  The local wholesaler delivers weekly, first thing on a Monday morning, and we can make suggestions about colour themes and the types of flowers we would like on a Friday, when our tutor places the order.

I’m so pleased that I decided to do the course and I’m definitely a better florist now.  I’ve been offered more work from the shop so I’m now working four days a week.  Eventually I’d like to do a Level 3 course and I’d definitely consider doing it at Shuttleworth.

Find out more about Floristry Level 2

Heather - Public Services Level 3

Heather

Previous school: Harlington Upper School

I started thinking about joining the armed forces or emergency services when I was still at school. My granddad had worked as an engineer during World War Two and, as a big influence in my life, I knew I wanted to do something similar. I then started to think of all the benefits: being able to push myself in order to help others, and to travel the world!

When it came to looking at further education options, the Public Services study programme at Bedford College covered all areas of the sector. Still wanting to keep my options open at this point, it seemed a good place to start.

Coming to College made the whole process real. We went on expeditions to the Peak District and to Wales, had guest speakers come in and trips to RAF bases. It was one trip in particular to RAF Brize Norton that convinced me that the RAF was the path for me. Without all these brilliant experiences I really don’t think I could have made my decision. In the last year of the study programme, I successfully applied for a role as an RAF police officer.

My tutors offered advice through the whole application process, and knowing that each of them have served in the RAF, the Army or the Marines is invaluable. They do all they can to help you and give you the skills you need for your future career. My confidence has grown so much over the two years here and I can’t wait for what the future holds. 

Find out more about Public Services Level 3

Holly - Graphic Design Level 3

Holly

I’ve always had an interest in Graphics, it was one of the subjects that I really enjoyed at school and I’d had a lot of good feedback from family and friends about the Graphic Design course at Bedford College. 

I’ve really enjoyed learning a wide range of new skills.  When you start the course, you don’t need any graphic design skills, the tutors teach you everything you need to know.  I always felt comfortable asking for help if I needed to go over something again. I’ve now become an expert in using important design software such as Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.  We’ve got all the facilities we need here, Mac computers and some photography equipment, again you don’t need to know how to use these before you start College as they teach you everything here.

I really enjoyed working on my final project.  The theme was ‘connect’ and we had to work on our own to think of a product, produce a brief, and come up with concepts and final designs.  I chose to interpret ‘connect’ as a dating website and I designed all the different web pages and related promotions such as billboards.

I’ve found that I’ve become a much more independent thinker and worker since I’ve been at Bedford College which is great and will definitely help me when I move into the workplace.  

Find out more about Art & Design (Graphic Design) Level 3

Hummera - Foundation Skills

Hummera Foundation Skills Further Education

Hummera joined the Foundation Skills Programme at Bedford College after finishing school. The programme supported Hummera, who is Deaf and uses British Sign Language  (BSL) as her first language, to improve important life skills including English, maths and money management. Hummera’s ultimate aim following College was to get a job, but her time here also helped her discover her true passion.

Hummera gained qualifications in Hair & Beauty and Cookery, as part of the Foundation programme. At the end of the programme she moved on to a traineeship with Bedford Citizens Housing Association in the hair salon of Bedford Charter House, a residential care home in the centre of town.

The Additional Support team at Bedford College, who would accompany Hummera to lessons as her interpreter, helped her find suitable vacancies, write her CV and prepare for the application process with practice interviews.  After a very successful placement Hummera was offered a full-time position at Charter House and has now been there for four years.

“I love washing hair, putting in rollers, drying and doing nails too. I also help with men’s hair, just washing at the minute but I am learning how to cut. Even sweeping the floors and making tea and coffee, I love it all. We have a laugh and I enjoy working here.”

Hummera enjoyed making friends with both hearing and deaf students while at College and her one-to-one sessions with tutors helped her to focus on her end goals. 

Find out more about Foundation Skills

Imogen - Horticulture (Level 3)

Previous School: Highfield School

Imogen

Shuttleworth College has always been on my radar and when I finished school I knew I couldn’t be in a classroom any longer. I love being outside and want to get into landscape gardening, so this study programme was an obvious choice.

It’s such a lovely environment here at College and it doesn’t matter that I’m the only girl on the programme; everyone is so nice. The tutors will go out of their way to help you, as well as all other staff and even tutors on different courses! We’re like one big family.

I really enjoy propagation as it is fascinating to see things grow, as well as plant science, which involves work in the onsite lab. The walled garden is very smart and we have our own space for theory and practical work.

My work experience placement with a landscaping company will give me the opportunity to transfer my skills in machinery maintenance and knowledge of plants and safety procedures in a commercial environment.

After College I hope to either study Garden Design at university or start work straight away.

Find out more about Horticulture Level 3

Jason - Painting & Decorating Level 2

Jason

My granddad was a Painter and Decorator. When he passed away, I decided I wanted to follow in his footsteps and see whether it was a trade that I enjoyed. 

I didn’t know anything about painting and decorating when I started the course, but as I progressed from Level 1 to Level 2 I’ve learnt more and more. I like all the practical skills such as preparing surfaces for decoration, rubbing down the doors and skirting boards before painting, learning how to apply paint using different tools such as brushes and spray equipment, plus paper hanging techniques for papering walls and ceilings.

The painting and decorating facilities at the College were good and they have lots of resources. If we were learning how to paper walls, and we made a mistake and needed to reapply certain sections, there was always enough paper to go around. The tutors were great at helping you if you got things wrong or didn’t understand something.  They’d take the time to show you how to do it the correct way. Plus, they have worked in industry, so they really know what skills are important to get a good job.

Find out more about Painting & Decorating Level 2

Jake (Alumni) - Construction Level 3

Jake

Jake is now a Junior Quantity Surveyor at Innovation On-Site

I’m involved in pricing carpentry and timber frame works for clients.  Once we start the job, I evaluate progress, send out valuations and invoice every two or four weeks. I create cost analysis spreadsheets to monitor each job which allows us to forecast the profit margin.  At the end of every month I also have the responsibility of chasing any overdue payments. I’m mainly based in the office but I try to get out on site as often as I can and it’s great to be able to see a job through from start to finish.  My employer is also paying for me to study the BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying and Construction Commercial Management degree at Nottingham Trent University part-time.

When I had started the Construction Level 3 course at Bedford College, I knew I wanted a career in the construction industry but I didn’t know exactly what role. I spent the first year learning about all the different roles and I was given the opportunity to go on site and see for myself what was involved.  I did some work experience with Bowmer & Kirkland at Center Parcs Woburn Forest site, shadowing the quantity surveying team, and this is when I found what I wanted to do. 

There is no doubt that this course gave me a good general grasp of the different areas of construction and it was invaluable for making contacts in the industry.  I got this job at Innovation On-Site after an employer event that the College organised.  I was able to meet staff from the company face-to-face, hand over my CV and then they invited me to an interview which went successfully and they decided to offer me the position.

Find out more about Construction Level 3

Joel - Music Technology Level 3

Joel

After my GCSEs I considered A-Levels but I knew I wanted to specialise in music, so this course at Bedford College was perfect for me.  I’d had my first drum lesson when I was five years old and I also play the guitar, bass and piano.  I’m a gigging musician and a session musician – so music is pretty much my whole life!

This course is great for people who are self-motivated, ready to work hard and have a passion to get into the music business.  I’ve really enjoyed being able to work with professional software such as Logic Pro which is one of the main industry programmes for writing music and creating audio effects.  I didn’t originally see myself as a producer but now I feel that I have the skills to be able to go into the studio and produce my own work.  I’ve also learnt how to use all the technical equipment and gain a deeper understanding of how the music business works, including publishing rights.

I’ve found the music facilities and equipment at Bedford College absolutely amazing – they have everything we need including a top notch recording studio and some great technicians who are always ready to help us.  I’m now looking forward to taking a year out and then my aim is to study BMus (Hons) at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and specialise in Jazz.

Find out more about Music Technology Level 3

Jordan - Animal Management Level 3

Previous School: Knights Templar School

JordanThe Animal Unit at Shuttleworth College has approximately 400 species from all over the world. Some of my favourite to work with are the nocturnal animals, including the bats and hedgehogs.  With so many species it can be quite daunting to get to grips with all the requirements, but you learn something new every day and the weekly practical sessions ensure you gain experience in every area.  

I’ve enjoyed the health and welfare unit the most. It has really brought to light the suffering and neglect that some animals unfortunately go through and equips you with the skills to make a difference.  

The tutors are extremely knowledgeable. We learn through their experience, not disengaging PowerPoint presentations, and this would be my main reason for recommending the College and study programme to others. It’s also a very mature environment; I’m on the Student Council which requires me to relay points brought up by fellow students in class at regular meetings, in order to help constantly improve things.

We’ve had some really great experiences, including spending a weekend at Woburn Safari Park raising money for the International Elephant Foundation. I also had an eight day work experience placement at Whipsnade Zoo with theory sessions in the mornings and opportunities to assist the keepers in the afternoons, from the big cats to the penguins.

Studying at Shuttleworth College has given me high aspirations and I’d love to eventually work abroad in conservation, perhaps with elephants or sea turtles to help preserve these magnificent species. 

Find out more about Animal Management Level 3

Josie - Horse Management Level 3

Previous School: St Thomas More

JosieI’ve always been involved with horses; I currently have two of my own and am a member of my local branch of the Pony Club. Coming to College to study Horse Management has been the best experience. My riding has improved, I’ve learnt effective ways of carrying out jobs on the yard and enjoyed an exciting work placement – and that’s just been Year One!  

I really enjoy the riding element of the study programme; we get to ride two days a week – one flatwork and one jumping session - and there is a range of different ability horses to ride, which helps to develop your skills and confidence. We have yard duties every three weeks and have also been able to complete the BHS Progressive Riding Tests for free, which will be good to show future employers.

The tutors are all so friendly and always willing to give help and advice. It’s a great environment here and much more independent than school – you take responsibility for your own learning.

My favourite unit has been on behaviour. We looked at stereotypical behaviour in horses, as well as how the species has developed through the centuries. Another highlight from the first year was our work experience placement, which included fence judging for the day at Whitfield Eventing. I am looking forward to another placement next year.

I’d love to get into equine physiotherapy after I finish the study programme. My horse has had to have physio for an injury and it’s something I have become very interested in. I’d also be interested in teaching or work in equine welfare. 

Find out more about Horse Management Level 3

Kai - Motor Vehicle (Level 1)

Previous School: Bedford Academy

Kai

I’ve always had an interest in cars and took up Go Karting at the age of eight. I started competing in Grand Prix this year and want to go professional later this year once I’ve found some sponsors. I really enjoy studying Motor Vehicle at College and it also helps with the karting. 

I’m a visual learner, so I learn better through practical work than from paper. At College we’re taught like adults and the lessons are broken down more than they were at school. I like working on transmissions in the engine bays and checking tyres to make sure they’re road legal. The facilities here are excellent. 

The tutors are really good and we have all the resources we need. I go to the main site to catch up on my write-ups and also to study English and Maths; I’m doing well with those and have passed all my exams so far.

I’m planning to move on to the Level 2 and then find work in a garage for a year to gain experience, while also concentrating on the karting.

Karina - Business (Level 2)

Previous School: Sharnbrook Academy

Karina

Although coming to College was not my first choice after GCSEs, I have grown to love it. All my friends have A-Level stress, but here I get to work at my own pace, be part of smaller classes and can focus on just one subject. I enjoy studying Business because it’s like a life lesson. Everything you learn relates to the outside world and it is so interesting.

I have had work experience at the Verve Hotel where I was able to transfer over lots of skills I’d learnt in lessons; including customer service (working on reception), team work (there were four of us in the team to enable us to provide the best service to customers) and finance (handling money).

Our tutors are really nice and always ready to help. The whole environment is not at all pushy and caters for everyone’s individual needs. The facilities are good; I use the library a lot at lunchtimes for finishing off assignments, and the Munch & Mocha canteen and YourSpace student common room are both nice places to chill out.

My tutors say I have the passion to carry Business on to Level 3, but I am also considering moving on to an apprenticeship in Law. I want to get into commercial law and the College is helping me consider this route. People can sometimes have a very negative view of college, but it’s not what they think at all. It’s turned out to be a really positive experience for me.

Find out more about Business Level 2

Leon - Computing (Level 1)

Previous School: Cardinal Newman Catholic School 

Leon

I chose Bedford College because they offered the best IT course compared to other colleges in the area. Every lesson is very practical, which means you are not sitting down and typing for long periods. My favourite parts of the programme are the hardware and networking units.

You’re treated as an adult here and I am finding it easier than school because I am already doing what I enjoy. All of the tutors are friendly, helpful and there when you need them. I make use of the onsite gym, canteen and the Learning Resources Centre (LRC).

I did my work experience at a charity shop where I was assisting with pricing goods, working on the till, helping customers and getting the donations that came in ready to sell.

Once I’ve completed the Level 2 here at College I am hoping to get an apprenticeship with ASOS, where my dad works, either in software development or IT security. I do want a career in IT and, if possible, have my own business. I also want to go into the Army, but whatever happens I will have a qualification in IT once I finish College, so can go from there.

Luke (Alumni) - Travel & Tourism Level 3

Luke

Luke is now a Transfer Representative at Thomas Cook

I’m delighted to be working for such a reputable company as Thomas Cook. I get paid to live abroad, travel and explore the world – which is fantastic!  My role as a Transfer Representative is to make sure that holidaymakers travel safely from the resort airport to their destination and return back for their flights home.  I accompany them on the coach and advise them about the climate, distance to the resort and give them any important information they need to know during their stay.

Half way through the Travel & Tourism course at Bedford College my tutor asked me what job I wanted to do and broke down the stages I would need to go through to be successful.  In fact one of my tutors had actually been a Holiday Representative in the past so she gave me great insight into the role. She explained everything including the daily routine as a representative, what I would need to do if faced with certain customer service situations and how to deal with unexpected incidents when on duty.

The tutors also gave me advice about the best time of year to look for jobs and where to look.  I applied directly to Thomas Cook and I had a pre-recorded interview via their website. Three days later they asked me to go to an assessment day.  I had taken an additional College certificate for resort representatives and I’m sure that this helped me to stand out from the other applicants and finally get the job.

Find out more about Travel & Tourism Level 3

Ryan - Electrical Installation Advanced Level

Previous school: Redborne Upper School  Ryan

Once I’d finished school, the next logical step was to find a full-time course at college. I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to study, and Bedford College offered a much wider range of options compared to other colleges in the area.

I chose to study Electrical Installation, starting at Level 1, and am now studying at Advanced Level. I have found it really beneficial being able to work my way up through the levels here.          

I really enjoy the feeling of making progress in every aspect of the course, whether it's the theory or the more practical side of electrical installation.

The College has also helped me come to terms with how the working environment will be; our tutors have stressed numerous times about the working hours involved to the point where I'm mentally prepared.

The tutors treat you as an adult who is taking his/her next step to finding future employment. In fact, if there is anything I can recommend to others about Bedford College, it would be the tutors and how they are always willing to further you in any way they can, as well as their commendable amount of dedication to doing it. I don't think I wouldn't have progressed as far as I had without their support.

Find out more about Electrical Installation Advanced Level

Mathew - Motor Vehicle (Level 1)

Previous school: In Cyprus

Mathew

When I moved to the UK from Cyprus after finishing school I only looked at Bedford College because I love cars and bikes, and knew this is what I wanted to study.

I am enjoying every part of the course. I like working on the car engines because they are quite complicated and so give you a bit of a challenge. I also enjoy painting, so the body and paint units have been good fun.

I’ve had a work experience placement at Brinkley Propeller Services in Biggleswade where I was helping with the blasting and removal of bearings from propellers on planes.

My tutors are really nice and if I don’t know how to do something I can just call them over and they will help. I prefer College to school because you can do what you want to do and the facilities here are very good.

I’m looking forward to progressing on to the Level 2 study programme here. Eventually I’d like to open my own mechanics shop.

Megan - Health & Social Care (Level 2)

Previous school: Bedford Free School

megan

I started on the Level 1 Childcare programme at College before progressing on to Level 2 in Health & Social Care. I came to College to stay in education and get further in life. Although I was also keen to study Photography, I love working with children (I have two nieces) and so I chose this area.

I much prefer College to school. You get to wear your own clothes and are treated as an adult, plus all of my tutors are really nice. I’m enjoying every part of the programme because it is very practical and I learn better through activities.

I have had some work experience at a school where I worked with Reception children in PE lessons and with activities such as painting and crafts. Last year in College I was the Student Rep for the class, which meant I had to deliver feedback from the class to the Head of Department.

My aim is to become a Primary School Teacher and so after the Level 2 I will either move on to the Level 3 or look for a teaching apprenticeship.

Find out more about Health & Social Care Level 2

Mehdi - Plumbing (Level 1)

Previous school: Biddenham International School and Sports College

Mehdi

I came to the UK three years ago and joined Biddenham in Year 10. My English improved at school with the help of my teacher and I have studied Functional Skills here at College alongside the Plumbing, which will enable me to progress on to a Level 2 qualification afterwards.

I really wanted to study Plumbing because I was looking to do something practical. I’m enjoying the programme, particularly the soldering and work in the bays, which are set up as domestic bathrooms. My tutors give me help and advice when I need it, and are helping me to progress on to further study next year. Everyone is very friendly here and we get to know each other well.

I’m looking to move on to an apprenticeship for Level 2 so that I can work towards becoming a qualified Plumber. I’ve had a day of work experience already in the workshop here at College getting parts ready for people, and am looking to place with an external company in the summer.

Michael - Electrical Installation Level 2

Michael

When I left school I went straight to work on a building site and got involved with all the trades but the electrical side appealed to me most so I decided to get my qualifications in this area.  I did look at another college first of all but I heard there were lots of problems with the course, whereas Bedford College had been given great reviews.

Overall the course has been fantastic and one of the highlights for me was being involved at the WorldSkills UK final at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.  I was helping out on the stand and demonstrating how to wire a plug and build a motor.  The course also gave us the opportunity to visit a working nuclear power station, so we got to see for ourselves how electricity is generated on a huge scale.

I feel one 100% ready for the world of work now.  The course has opened lots of doors and the tutors are really helpful trying to find work and Apprenticeships for you, and I’m already working part-time.  My next steps are to progress on to the Level 3 course at Bedford College in September.

Find out more about Electrical Installation Level 2

Mohammed - Computing Level 3

Previous School: Bedford Academy

 Case Study Mohammed Computing Level 3

I started at Bedford College on the Level 2 Computing course. I came to live in the UK in 2013, so I needed to study English alongside my Computing qualification in order to improve my language skills.

I’ve had an interest in computing since childhood. The Level 2 course provided me with a broad introduction to IT, but I am really enjoying the Level 3 because we get to focus on networking. I find the way that computers communicate between each other really interesting. Generally, the course is very well rounded and the facilities here are good compared to other colleges. I also really like the location of the College because it is near to the river and the town centre.

The tutors are very good and supportive. They teach you in a more mature way than the teachers at school, and they give you the freedom to explore what interests you.  

As part of the course, I have undertaken a 10 week work experience placement at the Kempston branch of Barclays Bank. I got involved in lots of different tasks including helping to sort documentation and helping customers who came into the bank.

I also volunteered at The Skills Show, which is a big exhibition held at the NEC in Birmingham each year. The College had a stand there to exhibit its Computing courses and we had some ‘have a go’ networking activities that I helped to assist visitors with.

After my course I would like to go to university to study Computer Science.

Find out more about Computing Level 3

Natasha - Beauty Therapy Level 2

Previous School: Ashcroft High School, Luton

 Case Study Natasha Beauty Therapy Level 2

I’ve always had a passion for beauty and knew it was what I wanted to do from quite a young age. My favourite beauty treatment that I like to give is a facial; it’s so relaxing and makes you feel better about yourself. One day I’d love to own my own spa.

The course at College enables me to learn about lots of different treatments including waxing, manicures, pedicures and make-up – and because we are based in a working salon here at BROOKS, we have real clients to work with. It’s the fact that College is so hands-on that drew me to it after finishing school. Half of our time is spent in theory lessons and half doing practical, but I enjoy the theory just as much, as it helps you to learn more about the practical. We also cover health and safety, promotion and we get to work on the reception at BROOKS meeting and greeting customers.

As part of the course we have to do 50 hours of work experience, but I have done more hours than this at various places including Champneys Spa and local salons. We have also had training days with staff from Dermalogica and Steiner cruise ships.   

The tutors are really nice, easy to get along with and you know you can go to them for support. My next steps are to move on to the Level 3 course and also study for some of the part-time qualifications that the College offers. After that I will be looking at higher education courses.

Find out more about Beauty Therapy Level 2

Neil (Alumni) - Media Production Level 3

Neil

Neil is now Video Editor and Film Maker at Not by Hook

If it wasn’t for Bedford College I wouldn’t have gone to university and I certainly wouldn’t have the career I have today.  That’s a fact.  The tutor on my Media Studies course was so inspiring that I loved the subject and thrived academically.

I have my own media agency now, Not by Hook, and I make films for a diverse range of national and international organisations.  I’ve just finished a short film for the Football Association (FA) which supported their activities for International Women’s Day.  Prior to that I was working with the Green Party to produce a candidate’s video for the general election.

Before I set up my own company I was a film maker for the London advertising agency Fallon and worked on some famous adverts such as the Cadbury’s gorilla drumming advert and the Sony BRAVIA advert, which depicted thousands of coloured balls bouncing down a hill in San Francisco.  I worked on these in the pre-production stage, which is the ideas or concept stage and helped clients to visualise what the final advert would look like.

There’s no doubt that the Media course at Bedford College provided me with all the practical skills I needed to work in this industry such as cameras and editing.  But it also gave me the creative freedom to come up with ideas and actually put them into action, along with the experience and insight into an industry that I had no previous knowledge of.  This seems unbelievable now as it’s what I live and breathe every day!

Find out more about Media Production Level 3

Oliver - Electrical Installation (Level 2)

Previous school: Sharnbrook Academy

Oliver

After my GCSEs I didn’t want to stay in school any longer. I had electrical and construction routes in mind because I often help around the house with DIY jobs and am generally quite a practical person.

I have found more freedom at College along with lots of practical based learning, which suits me. The tutors are great and also help out with the theory work. I had to study English and maths last year, which was good.

I managed to arrange some work experience with my neighbour’s son’s company MB Electrical. They work on domestic and commercial projects and it was a good opportunity for me to work on my wiring skills.

After the Level 2 I am hoping to move on to an apprenticeship. I am not exactly sure what I want to do as a career, but it will be somewhere along the lines of electrical.

Find out more about Electrical Installation Level 2

Oskar - Aerospace Engineering Advanced Level

Oskar

I came to Bedford College following quite a negative experience at sixth form. I’d enjoyed maths and physics from a young age, and wanted to continue with them; the College enabled me to do this in a more practical way than A-Levels, which I really liked.

I prefer the maths and mechanics side of the programme, because these complement my strongest subjects. However, I can’t deny that having a real life aeroplane in the workshop was a big draw when choosing what and where to study! After all, the practical is what engineering is all about.

I never thought I’d enjoy education as much as I do here. The tutors make each unit feel very different from the previous one and this helps to keep my mind fresh. They have even set me up with work experience at an aeronautical company. There is a mutual respect between tutor and student, and this is what pushes you forward.

Last year I won the Engineering Student of the Year award, and had the pleasure of going to the Mercedes F1 as a test technician. I worked beside a team that tested the engine for the Singapore Grand Prix.  I was also named runner up in the College’s overall Outstanding Student of the Year across all subject areas.

After College I would like to study Aerospace Engineering with Space Technology at university and would eventually like to be part of a team that sends space craft to Mars.

Oskar - Sport (Level 1)

Previous school: Trinity High School, Redditch

Oskar

I’ve always been involved with sport and play rugby in full-back position. Studying the subject at College will give me the qualifications and skills to go on to a higher course for my back-up plan to become a Personal Trainer, but my main ambition is to join the Royal Marines.

My tutors are really good and are helping me to put my goal into action. If I need to ask them anything they will stay behind after lessons and help, and they generally give me the motivation I need. The Public Services staff also let me join their Marines day recently to help me get a better feel for it.

I enjoy the practical work in the gym and also the theory work relating to the body and heart, and what they go through during physical activity. I play on the College rugby team where we train or play every Wednesday, and I continue to train off season.

I’m still undecided whether to do Sport or Public Services at Level 2, but whatever I decide I’ve got everything I need here to succeed.

Rebekah - Art & Design (3D Design) (Level 3)

Previous school: Sharnbrook Academy

Rebekah

My passion for ceramics was inspired by a teacher at school. After my GCSEs I knew I wanted to focus on a future in 3D art. This study programme at College was equivalent to three A-Levels, meaning I could still go on to university afterwards.

I’ve enjoyed experimenting with different materials, as well as ceramics at College, and using the specialist equipment that was not available to us at school. The tutors are so helpful and if I need advice, or am struggling with something, I know I can go to them.

I go to lots of art exhibitions outside of College and have enjoyed our trips to the Design Museum and V&A Museum as part of the study programme. I’ve also helped out on the Hey Clay event at the College for the last two years, which is open to the public and has really helped to develop my leadership skills and confidence to speak in front of a crowd.

I’m looking forward to going to Cardiff University to study Ceramics. After that I hope to be able to go freelance. The College has been a great help with planning my UCAS application early and getting my personal statement up to scratch.

Find out more about Art & Design (3D Design) Level 3

Rhiannon - Floristry (Level 3)

Rhiannon

I have studied at Shuttleworth College for a few years now on both Horticulture Level 2 and 3 and Floristry Level 2 and 3. Studying both subjects has given me a real advantage. I love the creative process behind them and I have been able to combine floral design with the gardening side of horticulture. It also meant that I already knew many of the Latin names, and am still enjoying learning new ones on the Floristry programme.

I love working on advanced techniques, such as leaf manipulation, as well as unusual designs. I work at a Florists in Bedford where we share ideas; I show her the different techniques and skills I learn in College, and she shows me new techniques, so it’s nice to combine the two.

We also learn about the history of floral design, which is fascinating as it teaches you about all the different styles, trends and meanings throughout the ages from when floristry was first discovered up until the present day and predictions of future trends to come.

My tutors have always been very understanding of my medical problems, helping me work around having to take time off. They are very good and cater to your individual needs and they way you want to learn. I am also deaf in one ear and the tutors and staff across the campus, from the Learning Resources Centre (LRC) to the canteen, have been very accommodating and supportive.

After finishing College I am hoping to get a part-time job in a florist shop or garden centre.

Find out more about Floristry Level 3

Robert (Alumni) - Sport Level 3 (Extended Diploma)

Robert

Robert is now a Parkour Instructor at Paramount Parkour

I love teaching Parkour. It’s a friendly sport and you can work as a team, helping each other to get better, overcome physical obstacles and conquer your own personal fears.  Parkour, or freerunning, is a non-competitive sport that focuses on using the body (without any equipment) to run, jump and climb. It develops agility, special awareness, balance and, of course, strength and fitness.

I’ve always been into fitness. From the age of four I was into martial arts and I was good at sports at school, so I knew I wanted a career in the fitness industry.  The Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and the Level 2 Gym Instructors course that I studied at Bedford College helped to boost my confidence and gave me the qualifications that I needed to teach in a gym. I also enjoyed learning about anatomy, physiology and nutrition, all of which have a big impact on sport performance. 

At the end of the course I got a full-time job at Paramount Parkour Academy in Milton Keynes.  An important part of my job is to ensure that my clients know all the safety rules and how to get over an obstacle safely. I have to explain what Parkour is and what it’s not.  It’s not always about flips.  It’s about getting from point A to point B as quickly and as safely as you can.  When I see clients overcome their fears, I feel a great sense of achievement.

Find out more about Sport Level 3 (Extended Diploma)

Ruby - Art & Design (Fashion & Textiles) (Level 3)

Previous school: Harlington Upper School

Ruby

Fashion is an industry we simply couldn’t do without. When I was little my mum used to change my outfit up to five times a day and now I change mine nearly three times a day - I can’t help it! I just love fashion design and I realised that if this was the path I wanted to go down, I may as well study it full-time rather than go to sixth form and focus on different subjects.

The project I am working on at the minute has really helped me to develop and showcase my drawing skills; I prefer the design side to the textiles. It’s a cropped hoodie with long sleeves.

At the end of the day your success at College is down to you, and I like that. It’s a mature environment that makes you grow up a lot more than I think you would do by staying at school.

We have everything we need here and it’s nice to have access to the industrial machines and the opportunities to use them. I’ve learnt so much so far and I’m really looking forward to going into my second year! In the meantime I’ve secured a work experience placement through a contact at the College with a local company who design and make clothing for dogs.

Once I finish the study programme I want to stay in education, either here on the Foundation Degree or at university, but if a job comes up I would consider that as well.

Find out more about Art & Design (Fashion & Textiles) Level 3

Sameera - Travel & Tourism (Level 3)

Previous school: Biddenham International School & Sports College 

Sameera

I had previously studied Business at Bedford College, but always liked the idea of working in an airport and travelling the world, so I changed to this study programme. It covers so many aspects of the travel and tourism industry from aviation, to business and marketing, work experience and how to write effective CVs and cover letters.

What’s great about the College environment is that the students are here because they want to be. The tutors are all brilliant and you also have the support of Student Services and the careers advice team, so there is always someone you can go to for help and advice.

I’ve had a work experience placement with the Park Inn hotel where I worked on reception and got a feel for the hotel industry and day-to-day tasks. We’ve also been on trips to British Airways, Swissport and to Amsterdam. It’s such a fun subject to study and you are given so many opportunities.

I’m pleased I made the switch from studying Business. It was the right decision for me and I will be staying on at College to study the HNC in Travel & Tourism, before eventually applying for a job in aviation.

Find out more about Travel & Tourism Level 3

Sian - Motor Vehicle Level 3

Sian

I’ve been interested in cars since the age of 12 when I used to work on a friend’s hot rod.  Bedford College was an obvious choice for me because it’s local and has great motor facilities at its Vehicle Technology Centre in Kempston.

I enjoyed the practical work more than the theory, particularly learning how to operate the different paint systems properly and efficiently, as well as learning the best ways to do filler work and welding.  I also enjoyed working on some of the different cars the College had such as the Mitsubishi rally car.

I found the atmosphere at College much more mature than school and the teachers were very supportive.  I have learning difficulties, but this wasn’t an issue as the teachers were happy to repeat things or demonstrate techniques in a visual way as this is my preferred learning style.  It also helped that we always worked in small groups.

The course definitely prepared me for work, particularly the practical skills such as what tools you need to use for which job and how to use them properly.  Overall it was a very good experience for me.

Find out more about Motor Vehicle Level 3

Suzanne - Business Advanced Level

Suzanne

Previous school: John Ruskin College, London

I came to England four years ago from the Congo. I had always wanted to study law to enable me to help defend people and their rights, so I enrolled on to an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course at a college where I lived in London and worked my way up through the levels.

After finishing the ESOL courses, I realised that there were lots of aspects of law in business. I decided to enrol on to the Business full-time study programme here at Bedford College, where I could also study GCSE English and maths. I don’t regret my decision at all; it is such a good course. My favourite unit has been Exploring Business, where we’ve learnt about the inner workings of businesses.  

Outside of class I have been a Student Ambassador, helping the College Marketing department at Open Days and with data entry. I’ve also joined the Debating Society and created a club called Black Culture to help further enhance inclusion and diversity between students.

You have to attend a work experience placement as part of the course. I worked in the HR department of a care home in Bedford and was so proud when they offered me a part-time job at the end of it. I’ve just started as an official employee and am looking forward to staying on with them after my course finishes, before hopefully going to university to study International Relations. I would love to eventually become an Ambassador.

Find out more about Business Advanced Level

Shane - Childcare Level 3

Shane

I’ve progressed through all the levels of Childcare, initially starting with Foundations Skills as I didn’t have any qualifications when I left school.  I’ve spent much of my life looking after my brothers who have special needs, so I know a lot about children and studying this course seemed to make sense.

I really enjoy being at College and I like this course because I’ve experienced a lost childhood myself and I want to make things better for other children.  I was very shy when I started the course, but I’m not now.  I’ve become more confident and more sociable. It’s all down to the praise and encouragement from my tutors. A lot of the tutors have helped me, they’ve honestly been amazing. 

The tutors also helped me organise some work experience.  I’m on a placement now at Pilgrims Pre-Preparatory School working as a nursery nurse assistant.  I’m involved in planning play activities, observing the children and understanding how we can help each child develop further or if they need help with a specific problem.

Now I’m progressing on to the second year of my childcare Level 3 qualification there are a lot of options open to me, including getting a job in the sector or going on to higher education.

Find out more about Childcare Level 3

Tamara - Motor Vehicle Level 3

Previous School: Hastingsbury Upper School

 Case Study Tamara Motor Vehicle Level 3

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I left school, but I had enjoyed studying Health & Social Care so I decided to enrol on to a Childcare course here at the College. However, I’d always had an interest in cars. My dad owned a garage and my brother works in vehicle accident repair. Coming from a mostly female dominated course to this one was not a problem – there is a really nice atmosphere in the department and everyone is very welcoming. With no previous motor vehicle experience, I started at Level 1 and worked my way up.

I enjoy the practical side of the course as I like to get my hands dirty. The facilities are excellent – we usually get a car each to work on – and the tutors teach in a very interactive way. For example, they might bring a part of an engine into a theory lesson to help explain something technical. I much prefer this way of learning, compared to school. We also have companies come in to talk to us about the motor vehicle industry, including the HGV division of John Lewis, which is based in Milton Keynes.

Our tutor recently tasked us with contacting companies about Apprenticeship programmes. I had seen a poster around College about Vauxhall Apprenticeships and decided to apply. I have passed a maths assessment and have now got through to the second phase of the application process. I would like to pursue a career in the industry, preferably in management, such as a workshop manager, and an Apprenticeship would be a good step towards this. 

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Zoe - Horse Management Level 3

Zoe

I wanted to do something that I really enjoyed and I love riding and working with horses – I’ve been doing it since I was eight years old.

The course covered everything from preparing you for working in a yard, to all the fun stuff like riding, the presentation of horses, dressage and jumping.  We’ve learnt about the day-to-day care of the horses and general animal health – not just for horses, but for small animals too.  We’ve also covered biology, including anatomy and fitness and I’ve completed my British Horse Society (BHS) qualifications too, which are important for getting a job with horses. 

We had two hours a week of riding and I was given the opportunity to ride the horses after College as I didn’t have access to my own horse like some other people.  We were also able to use College horses to compete and our class organised a big inter-College event at Shuttleworth.

The facilities at Shuttleworth are brilliant.  We have 23 good stables, a big indoor school where we ride, and have access to a horse walker, which not many colleges have.

My tutors have been great and helped me so much, particularly as I live in halls. Last year I was almost ready to quit the course, but they sat down with me and made me realise how much I had already achieved.  I’m really pleased that I listened to them, I don’t know what I would be doing now if I hadn’t continued my studies. I’ve really enjoyed it and I don’t want to leave!

Find out more about Horse Management Level 3

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