South Essex College & Royal Opera House

The College

Activate Learning

South Essex College is a training provider with campuses in Southend, Basildon and Thurrock, catering to over 12,000 students.

They are a vital provider of skills development at all levels, for a vibrant, ambitious region. From age 14 upwards, they have courses delivered by industry-trained, professional to suit a variety of needs.

The Employer

The Royal Opera House is an opera house and major performing arts venue in central London and their aim is to enrich people’s lives through opera and ballet.

They always seek to be accessible and engaging, to develop audiences across the UK and to break new ground in the presentation of lyric theatre.

The Partnership

One of the most prestigious partnerships of South Essex College is with the Royal Opera House with whom they deliver their BA (Hons) Costume Construction degree programme, which launched in September 2015. This partnership has enabled a number of flagship features such as a unique annual end of year exhibition held at the ROH Covent Garden and an ROH prize for graduating students designed and selected by leading members of the ROH costume team. New initiatives for 2019 include a mentoring scheme provided by Fay Fullerton, Head of Costume at ROH.

The inception of the course in 2014-15 was to reflect convergences happening in industry, whereby multi-skilled practitioners that are knowledgeable in a range of making practices are highly sought after. This model continues to evolve, with the college’s collaborative agreement with the Royal Opera House. Within the context of the partnership, the provision is designed to encourage a critical awareness of the costume industry as a diverse discipline that seeks to integrate practical, theoretical, vocational and creative elements across the scope of its curriculum design and teaching ethos.

In addition, the partnership was established to address the current shortage of high-quality costume makers. By working with a world-renowned organisation such as the Royal Opera House, the aim is to equip students with the skills needed to succeed and excel in this exciting industry.

The Benefits

Working with the Royal Opera House has significantly raised the profile of the college’s course. Students are working on site alongside the Royal Opera House and have access to facilities such as the costume archive which they can visit to gain inspiration for their own work as to use as a vital research tool.

Students have also benefitted from real industry insight and an ethos of high standards in costume construction are fostered from day one of the degree programmes.

What they say

Hear first hand from colleges and employers about their experiences.

Developing such a prestigious course in conjunction with the Royal Opera House has been of fantastic benefit for the College and the students on this programme. It demonstrates the power of true partnership working to meet the needs of bespoke and specialist sectors of employment.

Angela O’Donoghue, Principal and Chief Executive at South Essex College

Want to know more?

For a collection of all the great case studies featured as part of the campaign, please check out our employer engagement prospects.

We’d also love to hear from employer about how Collab Group colleges can work with you to help fill your business needs.