Be More Creative in Your Career Choices; Amersham and Wycombe College Excels with Its Arts Courses, but You Can Also Receive Training in Hairdressing, Plumbing, Accounting, Social Care and a Wide Range of Other Vocational Programmes, Too

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Byline: NIKI CHESWORTH

WHEN Sophie Gooding appeared on The Rob Brydon Show and Dancing On Ice, she was fulfilling a dream to be a dancer. What helped her to achieve this success was a foundation degree in musical theatre from Amersham and Wycombe College.

Sophie, who has also performed as part of The Rat Pack national tour, says: "The course and tutors have been very helpful with my progression and with my career. I particularly enjoyed working on the performance of Pacific Overtures under the exceptional direction of college tutors. The production was new and exciting and completely different from anything I've worked on before."

Amersham and Wycombe College, as a founder member of the National Skills Academy (Creative and Cultural), has a reputation for excelling in the sector, with many students going on to successful careers in theatre, music and television. It is also the largest provider of funded music courses in the Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire region, with courses ranging from BTECs to HNDs.

"All our courses offer hands-on, practical experience," says principal Felix Adenaike. "You will get the opportunity to perform at college events and concerts and we have excellent facilities including training suites, recording studios, rehearsal spaces, a live-sound training venue and a fully equipped theatre. Our music department also runs its own label, Sham Records, and a major music festival known as Shamstock."

The college has links with a range of leading employers, from Pinewood Studios and the Royal Opera House to most VFX/animation studios and many games producers and publishers. While the college has a particular heritage in the field of creative arts and media, it also offers a wide range of full-time courses aimed at 16- to 18-yearolds, including BTECs and apprenticeships, with subjects ranging from art and design to sport and leisure. These can be a stepping stone to university or other qualifications, or lead directly to work -- or whatever your passion.

VOCATIONAL DIRECTION Nicky Poulter, who completed a BTEC diploma Level 2 in sport, jetted off to America on a soccer scholarship after spending three years on the Amersham and Wycombe College football development programme.

Scott McGreal was named 2011 BTEC Media Student of the Year in Media and then landed a place at Bournemouth University, studying TV production at degree level. He says: "I wanted to study at the college because of the facilities offered and the excellent reputation of tutors. …