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Adam - Travel & Tourism HND


I love travelling, discovering different cultures, learning new languages and meeting new people so the travel and tourism industry had always appealed to me.  I had already completed the Level 3 course but wanted to study the subject in more depth at Levels 4 and 5 so there would be more job opportunities available to me. 

I looked at university options, but the cost was a big factor.  It was much more expensive at university - the College course was nearly half the price, so I decided it was more cost effective to stay at Bedford College and gain my higher education qualification that way.

I love the fact that it’s all coursework and there are no exams. It’s all assignment based for each unit and if you fail you get feedback and advice about how to improve and you have a chance to do it again. This process is much better for my learning style as I can learn from my mistakes.  My organisational skills have improved dramatically because I have to plan my time well to ensure I meet all my coursework deadlines.  I’ve also gained a lot more confidence when giving presentations.

Overall, the course has been really good, I’ve learnt a lot, the teachers have been very helpful and it’s been a great place to learn.

Aisling - Business HND


I’m a Commercial Apprentice at Elster Water Metering Ltd and this course was part of my Apprenticeship. My role involved working in every department for at least three months and this allowed me to gain knowledge and experience about the whole company. This course was chosen because it covered all the topics relevant to each department, including: marketing, human resources, finance and business strategy.

I’ve enjoyed the human resources modules the best, particularly those that dealt with staff recruitment and development.  In fact, I’ve now chosen to specialise in human resources.

I found that studying and working at the same time was not a problem as the tutors gave me enough time to complete all my assignments.  They were also very understanding about my circumstances and provided extra help if I needed it. The tutors at the College are very approachable, and their lessons are interactive with lots of activities to involve everyone in the classroom.

This course has definitely helped me with my day-to-day work.  It has given me the background and theory behind what I do every day.  I’ve enjoyed my time at College and I’m coming back in September to do the CIPD in Human Resources Practice.

Alexandra - Child & Family Studies Foundation Degree


My ultimate plan is to become a primary school teacher so I looked into all the different routes I could take to achieve this.  I came to an open day at the College and spoke to the tutors about this Foundation Degree and realised it suited my learning style, plus I get to put what I learn into practice with the work placements it offers.  It also helped that the College course was £6,000 a year, rather than the £9,000 a year that universities charge.

I like the whole course but particularly enjoy my work placement as a teaching assistant at Orchard and Shepherdswell Academy in Milton Keynes.  I was especially pleased to get a placement here because it’s my old primary school and some of my teachers are still there! From September they’ve offered me a paid teaching assistant post, so it’s turned out really well for me.

Next year, we’re going on a trip to Kenya with the course.  We’ll be teaching in schools, helping with sports activities and building new facilities.  Plus we’ll get a week’s safari when we’re there – it will be amazing!

After I finish my Foundation Degree, I’m planning to top-up to a full Honours degree at the University of Bedfordshire.  I’ll then take my Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) to become a fully qualified teacher.

Alex - Building Services & Sustainability Foundation Degree


I originally trained to be a plumber but then decided to carry on with my studies and take this Foundation Degree as I actually quite enjoyed the academic side of construction.

One of the best things about the course was the fact that I was part of a small, close-knit group.  I also really enjoyed learning u-value calculations, which involved thermal engineering, and studying a variety of subjects from heavy maths to contract management, which gave us a good breadth of knowledge.

The lecturers were great, very involved and they really cared about our success. We also built up a strong network through the tutors and the other students on the course.  In fact, I ended up getting a job through a fellow student and was able to work my way up to senior quantity surveyor using the knowledge and skills I had gained during my Foundation Degree.

It’s definitely a worthwhile course, with people from a wide range of roles in construction studying together including site managers, quantity surveyors and contract managers.  Most of the students in my group were quite senior in the industry and I feel the specialist skills I learnt have helped me to stand apart in the competitive job market.

Ally - Teaching in Post-Compulsory Education (Cert Ed/PGCE)


After graduating from Birmingham School of Acting, I decided that I wanted to go into teaching. I chose Bedford College for my PGCE because I had studied there a few years before so I knew how great the College was.

The PGCE course only started this week but I’ve been volunteering as a teaching assistant for over a year. During the PGCE course I will spend one day a week teaching and I’m really looking forward to designing my own modules and putting my own twist on lessons. I need to complete one hundred hours of teaching by the end of the course in order to qualify. The course is accredited by the University of Bedfordshire so although I’m taught at the College I will graduate with a University postgraduate degree and I can use all their facilities if I wish.

The teachers at Bedford College were and are so helpful – I feel that they go above and beyond to help their students. They really want you to do well and that motivates me to push myself and do the best that I can.

Most of the people on my course live locally and commute into College which means that, like me, they don’t have to pay additional accommodation costs. But, in my opinion, you can’t put a price on a teaching qualification. It is a life-long job as we will always need teachers!

Amy (Alumni) - Media Production Foundation Degree


Amy is now a Freelance Director at the BBC

I am a Freelance Director currently working in factual television at the BBC on consumer programmes such as Watchdog and Your Money Their Tricks.  After my course I worked at BBC Three Counties Radio as a Broadcast Assistant which helped me to build up my journalism experience.  During this time I did a total of nine weeks of unpaid work experience with BBC television, eventually being offered a researcher contract on Escape to The Country.

At the moment I’m working on Watchdog as a Director which involves directing short five minute films that will run within the main programme. I'm given the stories by the producers then have to come up with some creative ideas about how to tell the story, interview experts and also make sure that the piece was legally viable.  We’ve been filming for the last week, but when we actually film with the presenter we will only have one day and one camera man, so we won’t have any room for mistakes as it’s straight to edit the next day.  Editing is actually my favourite part of the whole process.

The Media course at Bedford College enabled me to develop many of the skills that I still use today.  It was practical and we gained hands-on experience with cameras and editing software. We also created a mini feature film where everyone in the whole class had different roles which gave me insight into what’s expected of you in the workplace.  We were also given the responsibility to create our own individual pieces and were encouraged to be as creative as possible. There’s no doubt that my time at Bedford College was a brilliant experience.  

Ben - Electrical & Electronic Engineering HND


There were a few reasons why I chose to take a HND rather than a degree; firstly it offered a way to attain degree-level knowledge without crippling debt, and secondly there is also no pressure of exams - all the assessments are coursework-based which means you don’t end up going into an exam in the wrong frame of mind and potentially failing because it just wasn’t your day.

As an engineering student it’s really important that you get experience within a practical environment, and the course offered a lot of various practical opportunities to tackle real engineering problems - and of course it helps that the facilities and equipment in the engineering department are excellent!

During the course I also had the opportunity to visit real engineering workplaces, which gives you a great indication of what it’s really like to be an engineer and what’s required in the job, potentially giving you the edge in finding work in the future.

Now I work for a major defence electronics company and my role as a lab steward at assistant manager level includes testing the Eurofighter Typhoon jet defence system - one of the most sophisticated and advanced defence systems in the world today! The job is a challenge, but I really enjoy it.

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


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. 

Ed - Agriculture Foundation Degree (FdSc)


Ed grew up in the countryside where he often spent time helping with various jobs from field maintenance to horses. “Farming is a way of life for many,” said Ed. “And through education we can make basic changes to aid improvements.”

On completing the Advanced Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture here at Shuttleworth, Ed did his research and realised that, to pursue a high level job in the industry, he would need to be educated to degree level, as well as have plenty of work experience behind him. 

He enrolled on to the Foundation Degree in its inaugural year. “There is a lot more science involved in the degree-level course, both theory and practical,” explained Ed. “For instance, when we work on the farm we carry out blood tests on the livestock and the theory really pieces together everything we learn in the practical sessions.”

As part of the Foundation Degree the students have the opportunity to shadow and support the Farm Manager and members of the Agriculture team. Working as a Farm Manager Assistant Ed has experienced all aspects from crop and livestock sales, to which crops to plant and farm record keeping. “I’ve also had the opportunity to complete additional qualifications during my time here including a JCB forklift course and a pesticide spray course.”

“The facilities are very good at Shuttleworth. As a higher education student we now have access to the HE centre, which is a private space for degree-level students to work, meet and relax.” 

After completing the Foundation Degree Ed is aiming to top up his qualification to a full degree and then move into a managerial role with an agricultural company, researcher, or possibly work as an agronomist in developing countries, helping them to improve food security and sustainable land use.

» Find out more about Agriculture Foundation Degree (FdSc) (full-time)
» Find out more about Agriculture Foundation Degree (FdSc) (part-time)

Elise - Teaching in Post-Compulsory Education (Cert Ed/PGCE) Certificate Intensive


This is the only college locally to offer the intensive PGCE course, which enables you to gain the qualification in a year.  Initially I had planned to do the course part-time but because this intensive course is full-time I actually ended up leaving my job so that I could get my qualification as quickly as possible.

I enjoyed the practical side of the course, teaching the students, because I was able to put into practice the theory which I learnt in class such as lesson planning, different teaching styles and marking. 

I feel very lucky that I was surrounded by a great team of teaching professionals including my tutors and my mentor who gave me a lot of advice.  There is no doubt that the course has boosted my confidence and given me the skills I needed to get my first full-time teaching job. 

Elliot - Educational Practice Foundation Degree

Educational Practice Foundation Degree

 Case Study Elliot Educational Practice Foundation Degree

Seeing children progress is something I find really rewarding. My mum is a childminder so when I was younger we often had children around and I began to think that teaching could be the right career for me. I started volunteering in a school after finishing my GCSEs and enrolled on to the Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship programme with Bedford College. On completion of my Apprenticeship, the head teacher at the school offered me a full-time teaching assistant role and I now work across different age groups, from reception to Year 4. In my spare time I play rugby for Kempston town and help coach the under 18s team.

The flexibility of the Foundation Degree fits well into my work commitments and it is the next step on my way to becoming a qualified teacher. On completion, I aim to top-up my qualification to a full degree at the University of Bedfordshire and then do a PGCE.

The course has been a real eye opener; it makes you look at things in different ways and I wouldn’t be as comfortable doing my job without knowing some of the theory that we have learnt in lessons. I really like that we can discuss things as a whole group. The other students in my class are of different ages and work in a variety of roles, so we all bring our own experiences into class and apply different ideas to help us improve practice. Eventually I would like to specialise in special educational needs and behaviour.

Find out more about Educational Practice Foundation Degree (part-time)

Emma - Construction HNC/HND

Construction HNC/HND

 Case Study Emma Construction HNC/HND

When I was growing up, my dad did a lot of renovation and extension work on the houses we lived in and, more recently, my older sister started working in a maintenance/surveying role, so I’ve never been too far removed from the world of construction. After school I actually studied hairdressing. Although I enjoyed it, I knew it wasn’t the right career path for me. I moved on to the full-time Level 3 Construction course here at Bedford College, which was very practical.

I wanted to study at degree level without having to go to university, so the HND suits me perfectly. The flexibility of the course enables me to work part-time as a trainee quantity surveyor for a company that builds private and social housing. My role largely involves sending out tenders and reviewing quotes. Being in this environment on an almost daily basis complements my College course, because I learn better when I can see something happening in practice. I can also apply the theory I learn in lessons at work.

The course curriculum is very broad and covers everything from science and materials, to measuring. Assessment is through coursework, presentations and group work rather than exams, and there is plenty of interesting discussion during lessons. I’d recommend the course to other students looking to get ahead in the construction industry. 

Gyorgyi - Hospitality Management HNC


I started at Level 1, and then went on to Level 2 and Level 3, before progressing on to this higher education course.  My family are involved in the hospitality industry so I understand what is involved in the industry, but I wanted to learn the theory and how the UK sector works.  I have also been fitting my studies around my family commitments so the College has been absolutely fantastic for me because it’s local and I can be there every day if needed.

I looked into similar courses run by local universities but one of the main reasons why I chose Bedford College was because it was much cheaper. My tutors also told me about the Advanced Learner Loan which has really helped me.

The most interesting part of the course for me has been learning about management theory and marketing.  I also enjoy the finance part of the course, which surprised me as I’m not keen on the money side of things! 

My teacher is very dedicated and has a lot of industry experience.  To be honest, she’s been a role model for me and she’s helped me to develop my sector knowledge, English language and academic skills. 

I’ve just started a small cake decorating business and, if I can expand this and get funding, my aim is to open a shop in a few years.  I’ve also recently applied for a part-time job as a team leader in a local school.  This course has given me the self-belief and confidence that I needed to apply.  I’m looking forward to coming back next year to complete the HND at Level 5 as I really enjoy learning and studying here.

Holly - Animal Management Foundation Degree


I progressed directly from the Level 3 course at Shuttleworth College to the Animal Management Foundation degree.  Originally I hadn’t intended to go on to higher education, but I enjoyed the Level 3 course so much and in particular loved working with the animals in the College’s Animal Unit, which is such a unique facility.  I really bonded with the animals, so it made it very difficult to leave!

As I expected, the higher education course was quite intense but I was also given some fantastic opportunities. For example, as part of the ecology unit in my first year, I had the chance to go to Hungary for ten days to meet with fish farm experts and representatives from across the EU.  Also, as part of the degree, I spent some time volunteering at Wrigglies Exotic Pets in Biggleswade which led to me being offered a part-time job as an Exotic Livestock Technician.  So now I get paid to work with cobras, rattlesnakes and large alligators!

My plan is to top-up my degree at Oxford Brookes University by completing their BSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare course and then I may even go on to do a Masters. I see my future in the animal management industry and that’s partly because of the great experience I’ve had at Shuttleworth College.

Joe - Sustainable Construction Foundation Degree


I was looking to progress from my Apprenticeship so that I could learn more about the technical side of Construction, and be up-to-date with the latest trends in sustainability. This course at Bedford College was the only suitable one in the local area.

The tutors are very friendly and encouraging and they’ve all worked in industry, so know what they’re talking about.  One is a building surveyor and another is a qualified plumbing engineer who knows about mechanical services within buildings.  I’m enjoying most of what we do, including construction physics, learning how to accurately calculate loading weights, plus the CAD design and 3D modelling elements.

There are lots of opportunities to get experience in real construction projects.  For example we’ve just finished presenting our recommendations to a village hall committee in Westoning near Flitwick.   They wanted advice on how they could improve the 100 year old building from a sustainability point of view to make it more efficient and reduce their utility bills and overall running costs. We took on the role of a construction company and every student from the course had a different job.  I did the building survey and some of the design, and other students looked at the sustainability options, such as rainwater harvesting.

There’s no doubt that the skills I’ve learnt on the course have also helped my career.  I’m a building surveyor at MK Surveys and the skills have made me more efficient at estimating the age of the buildings. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to get on in the Construction industry.

Kirsty (Alumni) - Graphic Design HND


Kirsty is now a Junior Creative at Ted Baker

I don’t think I would be where I am now if I hadn’t done the Graphic Design course at Bedford College. I feel that I had a better experience than some of my friends who went to university because of the one-to-one support I received at the College and the opportunities I had to show people in the industry my work, such as exhibiting at D&AD’s New Blood exhibition in London. 

I did work experience with Ted Baker in the first year I was at College and then kept in touch with them throughout my course.  Once I graduated they gave me a six month internship which led to a job at the end of it.

I’m now based in the London office, in Camden and I produce a wide range of graphic design materials for window displays, leaflets and in-store point-of-sale.  I’m designing some wallpaper at the moment that will be used in the fitting rooms for a new store that is opening in Kuwait.

Whilst I was at Bedford College, I enjoyed developing my design skills and becoming an expert in using programmes such as the Adobe creative suite.  I also worked on live briefs for local companies which enabled me to pay for my exhibition space at D&AD New Blood. I feel that the Graphic Design course at Bedford College prepared me very well for working in the industry and made the transition from College to full-time work very smooth.

Lauren - Graphic Design HND


When I finished my Foundation Degree course I had the option to go to university but I specifically chose to stay at Bedford College and do a HND.  The main reason why I chose this route was because I had spoken to the teachers and students on the HND course and realised how good it was.  It was also a much cheaper option than university because I could live at home.

The course was designed to provide as much professional exposure and experience as possible, and that was why so many students went on to great success. We undertook live projects and each one focused on a different area of graphic design such as advertising, magazine layout, corporate identity and web design.  For each area we learnt how to use the latest industry software including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

The teachers were brilliant.  They each had their individual talents and industry knowledge that helped to enhance what they taught us in the classroom.  For example our graphics teacher also worked as a designer at Bonfire design agency and he arranged for our class to have a portfolio assessment with one of his colleagues.  I’m sure that’s one of the reasons why I got my current job as a designer for an events company so quickly.  

Overall, I had an amazing time at College – they taught me everything I needed to know for a successful career in design. 

Lauren - Animal Management Foundation Degree


I had previously taken a BTEC Diploma in Animal Management at Shuttleworth so it was really good having the option to progress on to a higher education course in a place where I was already familiar with the tutors and facilities.

On the course itself I enjoyed the practical involvement we had at the Animal Centre on campus, and also the freedom we had with assignments where we often had the chance to focus on animals that interested each of us the most.

The tutors have also had great experience in the field and were a huge help along the way, plus there is such a friendly atmosphere around Shuttleworth, with events like regular student parties where you can have fun and meet new people doing all sorts of courses.

Gaining my Foundation Degree has helped me enormously in starting my career - I am currently employed at an animal farm, and the job involves looking after their animals, providing educational talks for schools, groups and the public, as well as giving advice to customers buying animals.

The knowledge I gained on the course in areas such as animal health and animal physiology helps me every day in my job and I would recommend the course to anyone - I had the best four years of my life at Shuttleworth!

Lawrence - Psychology & Crime Foundation Degree


Bedford College was my first choice because of its excellent reputation and location.  Plus, I was very impressed with how courteous and professional the staff were when I spoke with them on the phone about the course – good first impressions count!

I work as a pastor for The Gospel Pentecostal in Luton and my job involves a lot of community engagement.  Hence I was very keen to understand more about the psychology behind crime and criminal activity, so this course was perfect for me. 

I’ve really enjoyed studying personality traits and it has helped me to have a more in-depth understanding about why certain people in certain environments may think or act the way they do.  What I’ve learnt on my course has had a very positive impact on my work and I’ve recently been engaging with the police and other community organisations to find out how gun and knife related crime is affecting the image of Luton and the morale of young people in the town.

Being a mature student has helped me to look at things from different perspectives.  I’ve been able to bring my life experience to what we’ve learnt on the course, and to my assignments, which is invaluable. I was a student representative for my course, which involved bridging the gap between students and the College and being the spokesperson.  If anyone else is thinking about returning to learning after a long break, I would say don’t think twice about it.  Just go for it – it’s never too late.  

» Find out more about Psychology & Crime Foundation Degree (full-time)

Leanne - Psychology & Crime Foundation Degree

Psychology & Crime Foundation Degree

 Case Study Leanne Psychology & Crime Foundation Degree

I studied the part-time Level 3 certificate in Counselling here at the College before moving on to higher education. I chose this Foundation Degree because the flexibility of the course fitted with my family commitments, with one full day of study in College per week.  

I really enjoy the course. Our tutors are very approachable and make the lessons fun. The tutor that teaches the crime part of the course is an ex policeman, so we benefit from his experience. I’ve completed some work experience as part of the course with victims of crime at Victim Support in Bedford and was recently nominated by them for a University of Bedfordshire Student Appreciation Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community. I’m also a student rep for the course, which involves relaying feedback from the class to the College at regular meetings. 

I’m considering teaching as a future career. This would involve topping up my Foundation Degree to a full degree with a third year of study, and then a one year PGCE.

I’d recommend the course to other mature students coming back into education; there are not many other places that offer the subject locally and the fees are cheaper than university. You also get to learn alongside people from all different backgrounds, which enable you to gain others’ perspective on things.

Linda - Hospitality Management HND


I come from Nigeria in Africa and the reputation of Bedford College is so good that I had heard about it before I started researching the course.  Not only does it stand out as an outstanding College locally but it also has an excellent reputation nationally.

My teachers are fantastic and in particular my personal tutor is really amazing.  She is always trying to bring out the best in me, giving me continual feedback and advice so that I can improve and do better all the time.  I’m sure this is why I have achieved distinctions and merits so far.

I particularly enjoyed the developing manager units that we studied last year and I found it very interesting to assess my own management style – it’s somewhere between democratic and autocratic! This is such useful insight and I can apply it to my job now and in the future.

I’ve had so much support from the College.  I have two daughters and I also work, so fitting in studying is a constant challenge for me but the tutors are always very understanding and if I miss anything I can catch up with course notes from Moodle at any time of the day. I would highly recommend Bedford College to anyone considering returning to education.

Liz - IT Networking & Security Foundation Degree


I actually went to university the year before starting this course, but I left after a few months because I didn’t like the learning environment and wanted to study closer to home.  When I came to visit the College I was really impressed by how helpful and caring the teachers were and what a close knit community it was.

In my opinion, one of the biggest benefits of studying a higher education course at College rather than university is that you get so much more support from your tutors.  Universities are dealing with many more students so, in my experience, the lecturers don’t have time to give you the individualised support that you get at College.  For me, it’s important to know I can contact my College tutors at any time if I don’t understand something or need additional guidance on an assignment.

I’ve particularly enjoyed the computer networking unit because I’ve had hands on experience using the CISCO switches and routers, which is the equipment you’ll be using in industry. I’ve also enjoyed the unit on servers and hardware.  In fact, the College put me forward for the WorldSkills competition in the CISCO Network Technician category and I came second in the heats! It was a great experience.  I was even given work experience in the IT Services department at the College last year and that went so well I was offered a full-time contract.  You can’t really ask for more than that!

Luana - Fine Art HND


I studied the Art & Design FD course at Bedford College and enjoyed it so much I wanted to progress on to the HND.  I did consider going to university, but thought it was best to do the first two years of my degree at college and then do a top-up third year at university, as I felt I needed the extra support college gives.  Plus, the cost was more reasonable than university - it was £4,000 a year for me, whereas university would have been £9,000, so I felt I was getting much better value for money.                                     

I particularly enjoyed the commission work we did for Bedford Borough Council.  I found it very rewarding and now have one of my sculptures in a local park.  The original commission was to design sculptures that could be placed inside and outside the labyrinth at Priory Park in Bedford.  I created something made out of recycled mahogany and teak.  I like bringing materials back to life and creating something beautiful out of discarded objects. I was delighted when my sculpture was selected to be positioned outside the labyrinth and then it was transferred to a permanent location at Harrold-Odell Country Park.

The skills you learn on this course, and particularly when undertaking real commissions, are invaluable.  It’s definitely improved my problem solving skills and made me more confident about how I approach my work.  I now feel ready for university and in September I’ll be doing a top-up year at the University of Westminster in London, so I’ll have a full BA Honours in Fine Art. 

Matt - Social Sciences Access to Higher Education Level 3


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.

Max - Sport Fitness & Personal Training Foundation Degree


I do a lot of boxing at a high level and I’ve been interested in sport for many years. This course appealed to me because I can continue my training to become a professional boxer, but it also gives me the option to become a personal trainer and have an alternative career path.

I think the teachers on the course are really good and I get along with all of them.  I feel that I receive good support from them and I think that’s definitely one of the major advantages of doing a higher education course at college rather than university.  The College environment gives you smaller class sizes, so you have more one-on-one time with your tutors than you would at university.

We do a 40 hour work placement as part of the course and I did mine at Eagles Boxing Gym in Bedford.  I taught a children’s boxing class and found it challenging but very rewarding.  Next year we focus on management, so I’m hoping to do my work placement at a commercial gym, focusing on how it operates as a business.  We produce an assignment related to our work placement, so it all counts towards our final marks, as well as giving us valuable industry experience.

Michael - Media Production Foundation Degree


I did apply to some universities but one of the key things that attracted me to this course at Bedford College was the opportunities for work experience with media companies.  In addition, there was a cost saving when compared to studying at a university and I felt that being taught in smaller groups at college was more suited to my learning style.

The facilities at the College, and in particular the TV studios, are brilliant.  In fact there is more equipment than you would ever need.  I’ve done work experience at professional studios and you realise that real production companies are working with less equipment than we have at College!

I learnt a lot from the lecturers who have all worked in media production.  You often have the opportunity to get paid work experience on one of their industry projects.  For example, I was a production assistant with London based Bertie Films and helped them film adverts for Sony and Bosch. 

I’ve also really enjoyed managing my own professional projects and working with clients.  When we did our major project, which was a costume drama, we had to approach actors and location owners and negotiate with them to see if they wanted to take part.  This is exactly what I would have to do if I was working for myself or a production company, so it was excellent experience.

The network of industry contacts that I’ve managed to build up during my time at Bedford College has been amazing.  Next year I’m planning to top-up my degree at the University of Bedfordshire and then set myself up as a freelancer. 

Nicola - Fashion & Textiles BTEC HND


Originally I wanted to do the course for myself.  I wanted to get back into learning to see if I could do it.  I love being creative and do a lot of craft work at home but I wanted to learn more about the different textile techniques and applications. 

The tutors I’ve worked with have been brilliant and I’ve particularly enjoyed the textiles part of my course, including screen-printing, working with the heat press, appliqué and batik work.  Even the 3D techniques such as pottery and laser printing have been really enjoyable.  

We’ve had talks from industry experts such as textile designer Maxine Sutton and last year we visited Morgan Davis, a bespoke wedding dress shop in London as part of the glamour project.  There have also been opportunities for work experience, for example recently we worked with the Sue Ryder shop in Moggerhanger on a recycling fashion project.

What I’ve really been surprised about is how I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learnt to my full-time job. I work for the national learning disability charity MacIntyre and have organised textile workshops and last year we put on a fashion show for the local community, which was inspired by what I learnt at College.

There’s no doubt I’ve really enjoyed this course and am sad I’ve got to leave!  Whether you study the course part-time or full-time you do have to invest a lot into the course and be very dedicated, but it’s definitely worth doing.

Oliver - IT Networking & Security Foundation Degree


“I was really happy to win a bronze medal at the World Skills UK Competitions Finals held at The Skills Show, NEC Birmingham, having qualified in a regional heat. I competed in the heats last year but did not get through to the final. The competition stretched over two days and we worked against the clock to complete tasks. We worked from 9am until 4pm on the first day with one hour for lunch, and the work that you did related to the tasks on the second day, so you really had to stay on the ball. There were thousands of visitors walking around the hall, but I got stuck in and soon didn’t realise they were there.

I started at Bedford College on a Level 3 Extended Diploma after studying Advanced ICT at GCSE. The course at College offered a lot more choice of modules than an A-Level course, and enabled me to focus on networking in my second year.

The Foundation Degree course really does get you on your feet for a career in the industry. The course has taught me about the business side of networking, as well as the technical side thanks to the brilliant facilities. I enjoy all aspects of the course and now have a part-time job with a local networking company. The tutors have been great; they are very supportive and always there to lend a hand if you need it.  

After college, I would like to continue to build up my qualifications while working in the industry. In the meantime, I’m going for gold at next year’s World Skills competition!” 

Phil - Sport & Coaching Foundation Degree


I have a background in sport management, and used to work in sport retail, so I wanted a course that would support what I’ve learnt in industry and give me all the background theory.  I participate in a lot of sport myself, particularly long distance triathlons and Ironman competitions around the world, so it helps to tie everything together. Hopefully in the next few years I’ll be working my way towards becoming a recognised figure in the sports management industry.

I’ve really enjoyed the management side of the course, learning about how the process of sport works and how the sports industry as a whole operates. The tutors have been absolutely brilliant. I had a 24 year gap in my education, so getting back into studying, researching topics and writing essays was initially a steep learning curve. But I put the effort in, worked hard, and the tutors gave me lots of support. 

The course has also opened up networking and work experience opportunities for me.  I’ve been working for Team Beds and Luton since January and the contact was made through one of the Bedford College tutors.

My time at College has been very valuable and one of the best experiences of my life.  I’ve learnt more about myself, the sports industry and the science of sport over the last two years than when I was working.  

Phillip - Mechanical Engineering BTEC HND


I’ve always been interested in how things are made and this is what mechanical engineering is all about so it made sense for me to choose this course.  Bedford College is now one of the only places in this region that runs this HND course.

When I left school I did an Apprenticeship then got a job at the Medical Research Council and was fortunate that they were willing to sponsor me to study this course.  They’ve been very flexible, allowing me to go into College for my course one day a week.

I enjoy a lot of the analytical subjects such as heat transfer and fluid mechanics and I’ve found that the tutor’s enthusiasm and support helps me to learn more.

There’s no doubt that this course has helped me to progress my career.  Once you know the theory behind what you’re doing everyday, it makes you more efficient. Now, when faced with a problem, often I can get straight to the solution because I’ve already learnt it on the course. 

It’s certainly worthwhile getting the qualifications you need to improve your skill set and progress with your career.  In the workplace, I’ve found that opportunities arise for those who have the right experience combined with the right training. And there is also the pay progression, with a higher education qualification you are more likely to get promoted and paid more, which all helps.

Roger - Photography HND


I did my Fine Art Diploma at Bedford College and then progressed on to this Photography course.  I didn’t even consider university because the College had such good Ofsted results and I knew the tutors in the Art department were excellent.  I also wanted to save money, and the course at College was cheaper than university, plus I could live locally so didn’t have additional living costs to pay.

I think the course has done a lot for me because I came from a fine art background and needed to develop my photography skills, such as shooting in the studio and being out on location.  I’ve been able to work on professional projects while on the course, which has given me invaluable experience. Last week we photographed a ceremony in Bedford and we’ve also previously done some photography work for a local jeweller.

My next step is to set up my own professional photography business with two other students from the course. We’re building up our professional portfolio at the moment and hoping to have some events booked towards the end of this year. 

Sian - Midwifery Access to Higher Education Level 3


“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

Sumandeep - Travel & Tourism HND


My journey at Bedford College started with the Introduction to Cabin Crew and Passenger Services Agent Level 2 Certificate. I did really well on this course that I decided to progress on to the HND Travel and Tourism.  I wanted to stay at the College rather than go to university because at that time it was more convenient for me and fitted better with my family commitments.

I found the teaching style at the College was different to school.  We did a lot of group projects so I learnt how to work effectively in a team with others to produce a good piece of work.  My class also went on trips to enhance our learning, for example we went to the London Olympics to see how they organised such a large event behind the scenes.

I can honestly say that Bedford College has changed my life. Before I started College I was very shy and I never put my hand up in class.  Now I’ve got a lot more confidence, I’m more enthusiastic and I regularly volunteer and participate in discussions.

The teachers were fantastic – they understood how hard it was for me to balance studying with bringing up a family.  I couldn’t have completed the course without their support and I actually managed to get distinctions every term.  Now I’m going to Northampton University to top-up my HND to a full degree and I can’t wait.  Hopefully this should help me move another step closer to my dream job in terminal management at Heathrow Airport.

Mehool - Music Technology Foundation Degree

MehoolComing from a musical background and with a passion for playing Indian percussion instruments, studying music was an obvious choice for Mehool. He studied Level 2 and Level 3 Music Technology at Bedford College after leaving school and then moved on to the Foundation Degree.

“I looked at going to sixth form after my GCSEs, but the facilities at Bedford College were so much better than anywhere else locally. The tutors were very helpful and pushed you to do your best, even though I had to adjust from using Windows to Apple with the College’s industry standard equipment!”.  

Mehool not only learnt all the theory and practical skills during his time at College, he also discovered his ‘signature’ sound while working on his major project. “We had to produce our own album from scratch, which allowed us to be very creative. Mine was called ‘East Meets West’ and is a blend of Indian heritage and Hip Hop, Dance and House styles. I also really enjoyed the Music & Media unit, which is all about composing music for commercial purposes such as TV adverts”.

Mehool is already working with some artists under a small record label and his next steps are to top up his qualification to a full degree at the University of West London and eventually become a record producer.  

Tom - Music Technology Foundation Degree


Tom enrolled on to the Music Technology Extended Diploma course at Bedford College after finishing school. He was impressed by the college environment, which was very inclusive and, while supportive, mature and independent too. The Student Services team helped Tom to access a little extra help with his writing skills from the Additional Support team. “If I had asked for help at school”, recalls Tom, “I was usually missed because I wasn’t a particularly high performer but was not underperforming either. However, as soon as I went to see the Additional Support team they set me up with a support tutor who was a great help. We met every two weeks.”

During his time at College, Tom’s confidence grew so much that on completing his course he went on to the Music Technology Foundation Degree and then to top up his degree at the University of Bedfordshire where he finished with a first. “If you’d ask me when I started college if I thought I would finish with a first class degree, I’d have said definitely not!” laughs Tom. “The support given to me during my time here has helped so much. I loved it – honestly, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done”.

Looking to the future, Tom would now like to work as a sound engineer and film/TV music composer. Most recently, he has recorded audio for “The Man who Sewed the World”, a documentary screened at the Odeon cinema in Bletchley about the town’s revered fashion designer Freddie Burretti, who helped David Bowie rise into a worldwide phenomenon.

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