Meet our students

Meet our students

Abby - Agriculture Level 3

Course: Agriculture 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

Adriana - Childcare Level 3

Adriana

I knew that I wanted to specialise in childcare and my previous school didn’t offer the right course, whereas Bedford College did.  It was a very comprehensive course covering a range of subjects that were all relevant to childcare and education. 

In particular I enjoyed the project work as it gave me the chance to put my own stamp on what I had learnt in lessons.  My class often had to work together in a team so it helped me to develop my communication skills, which most employers are looking for nowadays.  I had access to lots of resources to help with my assignments and I could also download the course documents at home via the College intranet Moodle.  I found this useful if I had missed a lesson for some reason, I was always able to catch up.

The teachers had all worked in the childcare sector and they passed on their first-hand experience to my class.  I was taught by midwives, nursery nurses and we had a guest speaker from the charity ‘Autism in Bedfordshire’ who came in to talk to my group about special needs.

My time at Bedford College has genuinely been the best two years of my life and it went so quickly. I made lots of friends and learnt so much and now I’m going to the University of Northampton to study Childhood and Youth Studies – I’m really excited!

Find out more about Childcare Level 3

Chris - Health & Social Care Level 3

Chris Martin

My learning style was more suited to course work and assignments rather than exams so I was interested in the courses that Bedford College offered.  I also knew that I wanted to specialise in health and social care so it made sense for me to get a BTEC qualification rather than A-Levels.

The College had a good reputation for treating students like an adult but at the same time being supportive and in my experience most of the staff went out of their way to help me.  Something as simple as being able to call my teachers by their first names helped me to develop a good relationship with them.

The course involved two work placements which I enjoyed and which gave me the chance to work at the 2012 Paralympic Games which was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Our course tutors also arranged a meet the employer ‘speed date’ event where I was able to speak to a wide range of professionals from different health and social care roles such as nurses and care workers.  In fact I managed to get a job from this event so it proves how the College really can make you more employable and get your career off to a great start.  Choosing College rather than staying on at school was the best decision that I ever made. 

Find out more about Health & Social Care Level 3

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 and Media Production

Connie - Sport Level 3

Connie

I’ve always been passionate about sport and I knew it was the best career path for me, so this course was perfect.  I live in Flitwick so I had a few local colleges to choose from but I had heard very good reviews about Bedford College and their sport facilities, plus at my interview I felt that the staff were very understanding and would offer me good support.

I love the practical side of the course but I’m also still very interested in the theory and how the body works - the two sides of the course fit together well. 

The tutors are great and offer lots of support if you need it.  They all have different teaching methods but they make sure the lesson suits everybody and, if somebody doesn’t understand something, they’re prepared to spend extra time running through it again.

We’ve also been given some work experience opportunities such as fully paid coaching jobs with Little Kickers, a Saturday morning football club for children under five.  I’ve gained so much knowledge and confidence since I started the course and I’m looking forward to coming back to Bedford College in September to study the Sport & Coaching Foundation Degree. 

Find out more about Sport Level 3

Courtney - Public Services Level 3 (Extended Diploma)

Courtney

I completed my first year at sixth form but, because I’ve always been interested in a career in the armed forces or the emergency services, I decided that this specialist course at Bedford College would give me far more insight and practical experience to achieve my goal. In fact, everything that we have done on the course has been directly related to my future career, which is fantastic. Even my tutor is ex-military so he’s got direct experience, which is one of the best things about the course.

I enjoy the practical side of the course but the theory is also very interesting and relevant, for example we recently looked into how the UK is trying to combat terrorism.  We have been on a lot of trips, such as an expedition to Wales which included climbing Snowden, camping and mountain biking.  We planned and prepared the trip ourselves - the tutors were essentially bus drivers for the week! We also spent a week with the British Army at Beckingham Training Camp in Lincoln, which was tough but a lot of fun, and we have visited multiple RAF bases around the UK.

One of the things that I really wanted to develop before I started the course was my leadership skills and I’m glad to say that they have improved dramatically.  Specific leadership units on the course have given me a good understanding of what’s needed to become a good leader and how I can take those skills further when I go to Exeter University to study a Flexible Combined Honours (FCH) in Criminology and International Relations.

Find out more about Public Services Level 3 (Extended Diploma)

Daniel - Sport Level 3

Course: Sport 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

Edmund - Art & Design Foundation Diploma (Pre-Degree) Level 3

Edmund

One of the things that attracted to me to this course at Bedford College was the students’ work, which I saw when I came to an Open Day.  Also, when I spoke to the tutors on the course they explained that I would be able to experience each different Art & Design pathway for a short period of time before choosing what to specialise in.

I enjoyed exploring all the different areas including Fine Art, 3D Design, Graphics and Illustration, but in the end I chose to specialise in Fine Art. 

I’ve worked on lots of really interesting projects and, as well as experimenting with and exploring a whole range of techniques and applications, I’ve been able to develop key skills such as time management and working to a brief. 

We would be set a project to work on over a distinct period of time, but it was up to each individual to decide how they approached it.  You had to set your own deadlines and manage your time effectively, which is something you need to learn if you’re going to work as a professional artist.  The tutors were great and were always there to help me if I needed it.  Overall I think my time at College was very positive. 

Find out more about Art & Design Foundation Diploma (Pre-Degree) Level 3

Ellen - Professional Cookery Level 2

Course: 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

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

Henry - IT (Software Development or Networking & System Support) Level 3

Henry

I wanted to get into IT and saw software development as a good route in. I chose Bedford College because my partner was enjoying studying there.

I was a mature student, so I was balancing studying with work and bringing up a family. I would often work a night shift, then go into College, then go home and only have a couple of hours sleep before starting work again.  It was full on, but worth it.  I even managed to gain an Outstanding Achievement Award in IT.

The teachers were amazing and really, really supportive.  They would always try to go the extra mile for you.  I learnt new skills such as programming languages and networking, all practical experience that you can directly apply to the workplace. I went on to Anglia Ruskin University to study Information Security & Forensic Computing. I got a first in year one, I’m sure as a result of the high standard of teaching I received at the College.

The course was really fantastic, I recommend it if you want to get into IT.  You really need to have qualifications to compete with everyone else, even for the most basic of IT roles.

Find out more about (Software Development or Networking & System Support) 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

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

Kayleigh - Plumbing Level 3

Kayleigh

I wanted a practical, hands-on job and Plumbing seemed like a really good option.  I like all the practical aspects of the course, such as having to design and then build an unvented air cupboard.

I’m the only girl on the course, but it’s not been a problem for me. Everyone treats you like a young adult at College and most people are there because they want to be there, so the atmosphere is much better than at school.

The tutors know what they’re talking about because a lot of them have been working in the plumbing industry for a long time, so they’re not just teaching you from a text book, but adding their own experiences to the lessons.

We’re based at the Gas & Plumbing Technology Centre and the facilities are very good.  We have workshops that include airing cupboard spaces, a steel pipe area, an unvented hot water training area and an integrated gas assessment centre.  We’ve also got all the equipment we need such as gas cookers, fires, boilers, heaters and other domestic appliances.

I’ve learnt a good trade and I definitely think my time has been well spent here.  In fact, I’d like to stay on at College and study for a Foundation Degree in Building Services, as my long term plan is to become a Building Design Consultant.

Find out more about Plumbing Level 3

Leah - Business Level 3

Leah

Lots of my friends had recommended Bedford College to me and I knew I wanted to study Business because I wanted to learn more about all the different areas such as human resources, accounting, marketing and business ethics.

I’ve found the work harder at College than at school but you get lots of help if you need it, you just have to ask.  Everyone is friendly and supportive, both the tutors and the other students on the course.  It’s very easy to book a one-to-one appointment with your tutor if you need additional help and they are good at explaining exactly what is expected of you for each assignment.

We have the chance to do work experience as part of the course and the tutors can help you to find a work placement.  We have also been on trips and industry visits to learn more about business in practice.  Earlier this year we went to Cadbury’s World in Bourneville near Birmingham as part of our Business Ethics unit to find out more about their Fairtrade Cocoa Partnership in Ghana.  We learnt that it has increased Fairtrade cocoa sales for existing certified farming groups since 2009.

Find out more about Business Level 3

Luke - Performing Arts (Acting) Level 3

My sister had attended Bedford College and had really enjoyed her course so it was an obvious choice for me after my GCSEs. I also knew that I wanted to pursue a career in performing arts so A-Levels didn’t make sense to me, the Performing Arts BTEC that the College offered was much more suitable.  What I particularly liked about the course was that it touched on every aspect of performance not just drama but also areas such as musical theatre and script writing. 

I found that College had a very different atmosphere to school and the teachers treated me as an equal.  They didn’t shout at the class or talk down to us, as sometimes happened in school.  They knew that everyone in College wanted to be there and wanted to work hard. 

The performing arts teachers were amazing.  They have all worked in the industry for many years so they know what the ‘real-world’ is like and they gave me lots of advice about auditions, working with directors and the experience of being on stage.  Even after I left, the tutors supported me with my application and audition for Rose Bruford College which is one of the UK’s best drama schools and where Gary Oldman trained.  I’m delighted to have been accepted on a course there and really grateful for all the support and advice my Bedford College teachers gave me.

Find out more about Performing Arts (Acting) Level 3

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

Mark - Engineering (Aeronautical) Level 3

Mark

Engineers are at the forefront of almost every aspect of modern society, designing, building and shaping the world around us and this is what I want to be a part of.

Bedford College has excellent engineering facilities including equipment used in industry and actual aircraft parts such as flight instruments and gas turbine engines, which aids our learning and understanding.  We even have an aircraft in College and activities include using the aircraft manual to fit a new landing wheel or taking out and inspecting the flaps and the landing gears. The aircraft is fully functional, which means that we get to run through the power on sequence, adjust the flaps and even retract the landing gear as if we were in flight.

Many of the tutors have industry experience from being in the RAF to flying their own aircraft, which means that lessons are taught to industry standard rather than just out of a book. Combined with the facilities available, the tutors are able to share their knowledge, experience and practical skills, which definitely helps us when we’re applying for jobs and Apprenticeships.

There’s no doubt that my time at College has been worthwhile and I have really enjoyed it.  My next steps are going to the University of Leeds to study Aeronautical & Aerospace Engineering.

Find out more about Engineering (Aeronautical) Level 3

Matt - Social Sciences Access to Higher Education Level 3

Matt

I wanted to go to university but, because I didn’t have the necessary qualifications, the Access course was the most viable option for me.  I chose the Social Sciences pathway because I was interested in exploring why people look at things in different ways.  Plus it links into other subject areas such as business, offering a great deal of flexibility with my university course choices.

The tutors were very helpful, they were happy to go over things again if I needed to and I could meet with them even if I didn’t have a planned lesson. They were also available to contact via email to check my work – they have been very supportive.

The course has been great and really helped me develop the study skills I needed to progress on to university.  Before I started the course, I wasn’t very good at writing academically structured essays,  I’ve even been able to further my presentation skills, which weren’t too bad to begin with but they’ve developed more with the assistance of the tutors.  Even my organisational and time management skills have improved through managing my course workload and having to meet deadlines.

I’m now looking forward to starting a course in International Business at Nottingham Trent University in September.


Rita - Science Access to Higher Education Level 3

Rita

I work part-time as an agency carer but I’ve always wanted to go to university to study pharmacy, which would enable me to give patients better treatment and make their lives more comfortable.

I really enjoyed chemistry, mathematics and the science practical exercises and conducting experiments were very interesting. For example in biology we checked the catalyst reaction on human tissue from the heart, lungs and kidneys and in chemistry we did experiments which assessed the synthesis of aspirin.

I also think the research work we did is going to be invaluable when I get to university.  Now I know how to research and reference correctly, which is very important at university and not something that is always taught at A-Level.

My tutors have been brilliant, when I decided to apply for a pharmacy course at university, I realised I needed to do chemistry and even though I was a little bit late, they helped me to catch up and complete the extra units that I needed. 

I’ve applied to do pharmacy at the University of Hertfordshire and I have an interview next week, so I hope I can impress them with everything that I’ve learnt on this course!

Find out more about Combined Sciences Access to Higher Education Level 3

Matthew - IT Level 3

Matthew

My previous college did not offer the IT extended diploma option so I was really pleased to discover that Bedford College did. The extended diploma was important to me because it had more UCAS points and I wanted the option to progress on to university in the future.  The other major benefit of the Bedford College course was that it gave me the opportunity to take the Cisco CCNA industry qualification, which employers valued highly and enabled me to stand out from other candidates when I applied for a job.

There was a very good work ethic at Bedford College – it was professional and focused on getting things done and achieving success.  I think it was because people had chosen to be there and had chosen a course that suited their career ambitions.   I also found that the teaching was better than what I had experienced at school, it was more practical and hands on which suited me down to the ground. 

I’m sure these factors had a direct impact on my ability to find a job as soon as I finished my course.  I actually finished College on the Friday and started my new job as an IT Technician on the Monday.  You can’t ask for much more than that!

Find out more about IT Level 3

Michael - IT Level 3

Michael

I’d taken the Level 1 and Level 2 IT study programmes with the College so I was really keen to continue my journey and carry on building my knowledge without having to move elsewhere. The tutors are great and I’ve even managed to get some work experience handling data by putting myself forward for the Student Champion scheme and working within the College’s marketing department.

I wanted to gain a wider experience than just what I was learning on my course, and taking part in these extra Student Champion activities gave me the chance to meet other students from across the College, and develop skills for my CV that will help in the near future when I’m looking for a job.

I plan to use my Level 3 course to find a real focus within computing and IT, but I’m already thinking about becoming a computer analyst – so working with data from databases and spreadsheets to produce reports. I’m also really passionate about music and hope to continue working on that as a hobby!

Find out more about IT Level 3

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

Course: 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

Course: 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

Nick - Motor Vehicle Level 2

Nick

I knew that I wanted to specialise in vehicle maintenance when I left school and Bedford College was the best option for me, not only because it was local but also because it had industry standard motor vehicle resources and equipment.

It was a very practical course and we spent a lot of time taking cars apart and working on everything from changing an exhaust to examining an engine.  I found the learning atmosphere much more mature than school.  People didn’t mess about in class because they wanted to be there and they knew they needed to learn the skills to get a good job at the end of the course. 

The teachers really knew what they were doing.  They’ve all worked in the sector so I could ask them pretty much anything about the car industry and they would know the answer.  I found that this helped me to learn more and it built up my confidence.

I’ve already got a full-time job working at a local MOT centre and the skills that I learnt on the course have helped me with everything that I do on a day-to-day basis at work.  I would definitely recommend Bedford College if you want to work with cars – it’s the best place to learn and gain experience.

Find out more about Motor Vehicle Level 2

Pierre - Animal Management Level 3

Pierre

I was interested in a career in animal nutrition and I had a couple of options open to me, but this route of studying a specialist Animal Science course was the most appealing.  It’s great to be around a group of people that have the same interests and passions as me, everyone loves animals and we’re all focused on the same thing.

This course gives you a unique opportunity to work with a diverse range of animals, which you would have difficulty finding grouped together all in one place. We spend a lot of time in the Animal Care Unit, which is where almost 400 species of animals live in areas that recreate their natural environments.  There is a biome tropical area with birds, tortoises and iguanas, and there is also a working farm with all the related animals.

The tutors are all very nice people, who have had different careers related to animal sciences.  There is always a tutor who has experience in the particular area you are interested in, so they can steer you in the right direction and give you insight into specific job roles.

My next step is going to university, I’ve got a place at Harper Adams in Newport, Wales and I’ll be studying Bioveterinary Science.

Find out more about Animal Management 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)

Sarah - Countryside Level 3

Sarah

I had already been working as a protective species ecologist but when I was made redundant I looked to expand upon my existing skills.  I knew that Shuttleworth College had an excellent reputation because I had already studied there 12 years ago, so it was lovely to go back and study a different course.

I’m really enjoying the practical side of things, such as going out and conducting surveys and learning how to use a camera trap.  One of our teachers used to work for the Environment Agency, so he’s been able to give us insight into how they undertake surveys and what standards they expect.

We’ve had the opportunity to gain lots of work experience on the course which is great. I’ve had a placement at the Community Tree Trust in Clophill, which specialises in collecting local provenance and the native seed of trees, shrubs and wild flowers from ancient woodlands throughout Bedfordshire.

I’m also doing work experience with the forestry team on the National Trust’s Wimpole Estate.  The work includes a lot of traditional skills such as scything, tree planting, hedge laying, putting up fences and woodland management.  I’m also conducting a few surveys for them including a Great Crested Newt survey and Water Vole survey.  It’s all extremely valuable experience and I’m developing great skills that will be useful for my future career.

Find out more about Countryside Level 3

Sian - Midwifery Access to Higher Education Level 3

Sian

“Funding my course was a real concern for me. At my interview, I heard about the Advanced Learner Loan and I got a pack with some more information.”

“It was a great relief to find out that it covers the full course fee, plus it’s completely written off when I progress on to my higher education course.”

Find out more about Midwifery Access to Higher Education 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

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

Course: 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. 

Find out more about Motor Vehicle Level 3

Zain - Travel & Tourism Level 3

Zain

After my GCSEs I wanted to study something that would give me experience in the travel industry and my school didn’t offer anything as specialised as Bedford College’s travel and tourism course.  It also helped that the College was a five minute walk from my home, so it was very convenient for me.

I find the environment at College is much more mature than at school.  I think this is because most of the students are aged 16 and above and choose to be there, so the atmosphere is more adult and grown up.

My course is really interesting and it covers a broad range of areas including business, finance, marketing, retail, entertainment and customer service.  In particular, I enjoyed studying the European destinations unit last year when I learnt more about the EU and the Eurozone.

Most of my teachers are friendly and approachable and I find the support and advice that my personal tutor gives me very helpful.  We have several review meetings throughout the year when we discuss my objectives for the weeks ahead and how I can make improvements to reach my future ambitions.  It helps to make my learning goals more achievable and, when I start my second year, I’m planning to apply to university.

Find out more about Travel & Tourism Level 3

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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