Column: Maximising the potential of a vocational course

Anthony Hall, creative media tutor at West Nottinghamshire College
Anthony Hall, creative media tutor at West Nottinghamshire College

Understanding what makes a vocationally-relevant course, and then making it work, is a crucial part of further education.

Over the last five years West Nottinghamshire College has moulded and changed its creative media courses to equip students with the skills and attributes that employers need.

The best way to do this is by engaging with companies themselves.

A major element of our higher national diploma (HND) and degree courses in this discipline involves working with clients in the creative sector who know what skills businesses are looking for.

Over the past five years we’ve incorporated real-life projects set by top UK companies such as JCB, Chelsea FC, Hugo Games, Linney, Framestore and others.

These push students to produce amazing work, giving them the artistic and software skills to make it in the design world, which spans graphic design, illustration, 3D modelling and animation, games design, image manipulation, visual effects, virtual reality (VR), and motion graphics, amongst other specialisms.

And by bringing in expert practitioners for masterclasses, we expose students to current thinking, spark their creativity, and build their determination to achieve.

These could be about what it takes to be successful as a freelance illustrator, how to hone a certain design skill or making the most of a piece of software.

By keeping up-to-date with the latest techniques, technology and trends, as tutors we ensure our courses are cutting-edge and meet the needs of industry.

Teaching takes place in Create, a £5 million hub that boasts state-of-the-art facilities, with VR equipment the latest to be incorporated into lessons.

Another way to inspire students is by staging the annual Create Expo, a one-day event that brings together guest speakers from a variety of industries.

Over the past four years, the event has welcomed Jim Kay, an ex-student who has illustrated Harry Potter books, Amy Smith from Oscar-winning VFX company Framestore, who created effects for the Avengers and Paddington movies, and Simon Smalley, art director at Hugo Games, plus many more.

This year’s Expo takes place on June 21, giving students a glimpse into the different design areas they could go into, along with expert insights through talks and demonstrations.

It is also open to the public. Visit www.create- expo.co.uk for details.

The college is proud to see many students go on to fulfil their career ambitions, gaining work in games design, 3D animation, motion graphics and more which gives us, their tutors, immense job satisfaction.