From College to Production Assistant

Alison Nicholls, a former student at college is now graduating from university whilst already working in the production industry. Somewhere she never thought she would be 5 years ago.

“I didn’t have any intention of going to university at all when I started college. It was the lecturers that suggested it and they helped me gain the confidence to go. I came to college at 18 after doing my A-levels into Media Production Level 3 for 2 years.”

We asked Alison about the progression from A-level media to college. She said: “We got to see what it was like in the industry and use all the equipment whereas at school it was mainly theory based. We did some work experience with a local business in Sheffield making equipment. We had to make advertisement videos for them. I went to New York as well, that was really good. We got to go to NBC studios. It was part of the course, we were there for 4 days and got to go to the studios, go around the Nintendo store and be tourists.”

Alison Nichols

Our media course allows our students to explore a range of techniques and skills that will be used in industry. We asked Alison if anything at college helped with her university course too.

“We did production files at college that we do at university, which was really good as I knew what I was doing when I got to university, whereas others didn’t. Production files are like preparation for the film so planning, Howard referencing. That was big thing, a lot of people didn’t know how to do it, but we had learnt that at college.

At college you get to try a bit of everything from pre-production to filming and editing and post-production. When I first went into it, I was more interested in camera work but when I got to the end of college I knew I wanted to do editing. The lecturers play a big part in helping you find the area you want to study. Try everything and see what you like the most.”

Alison has been building her industry experience on her CV whilst studying at university.

“I got a job last month at a film company as a production assistant. I mostly work from home editing video content for social media (which is great for me, I don’t have to talk to people all day haha), but I do also get to do a bit of filming as well when they need extra help. I’ve already been filming down in Birmingham and everyone is so nice, I’m really enjoying it! We had to look for work experience as part of a careers module on the course, and this company got back to me asking if they could interview me. So I met them in a cafe, had an hour long interview, and they liked my work so much they asked if I would like a job. They even work with some celebrities down in London, I still can’t believe it!”

Alison has not only finished her college course, graduated at university and working in the industry but she’s also noticed a massive improvement in her confidence. This shows in the picture of Alison on her first and last day of university.

“It feels like I’m starting a new life now. Everything’s changing. It’s scary but exciting!”

Find out more about our media courses here.

Find out more about the range of courses and apprenticeships available at Chesterfield College.