Alumni

Nescot opened its doors as Ewell Country Technical College in 1953, with 789 students working towards qualifications in subjects from Construction to Science. Courses over the years have ranged from Animal Pathology, Bacteriology and Law to Flower Arranging and Home Economics. Today the college welcomes almost 8,000 students each year, with full-time courses for school leavers, apprenticeships, part-time courses for adults, and university-level study as well as distance learning.

The college's first Principal was Lt Col Thomas Buchanan, a decorated army veteran of 'legendary coolness and bravery'. You can read more about him here. Previous students have included David Bellamy, who studied at Nescot and later worked as a laboratory technician and Dan Dare cartoonist Frank Hampson, while Dr Guy Vine taught civil and structural engineering at the college. You can read more here.

We are always keen to hear from previous students about their time at Nescot and what they have gone on to do. To feature on these pages please contact the Marketing and Communications team by emailing marketing@nescot.ac.uk


Name: Felicity Fletcher

I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was small, and now I’m literally living my dream career. I teach English full-time at Nescot, working with teenagers and adults and teaching across all the levels, from Functional Skills to GCSE. I feel really privileged to be doing what I love, and the support I have here is amazing.

A few years ago I was working in administration at a council, and I ended up helping a colleague by covering a class helping adults with their IT skills. It reignited my passion for teaching, and when I thought about it I realized there was nothing stopping me from getting a qualification as an adult. I looked around for courses and I saw that Nescot offered a range of different options. I started with the Level 3 Education and Training qualification, which was one evening a week for 10 weeks. My tutor said I’d make a good teacher and encouraged me to apply for the Post-Graduate Certificate of Education, or PGCE, and she even told me about a bursary I could apply for. I studied full-time for a year, having lessons two days a week and doing a placement for three days. I really liked the structure of the course, because it was a good balance between learning the theory and ideas and then being able to put that into practice ourselves. We talked in classes about what had worked well on our placements, and we all helped and supported each other with new ideas to try. I also did my maths GCSE at Nescot. It was great to be able to do both qualifications at the same time, and being a maths student gave me even more experience of how people learn and how to help them.

When I finished my PGCE I started teaching at a prison. It was a really rewarding experience, because I knew I was making a difference every single day. I learnt a lot from the environment, and it has made me a better teacher. I’m delighted to be back at Nescot – the facilities are amazing, the staff are so helpful and supportive, and the students are a joy to work with.

Studying at Nescot has made me the teacher that I am today. The qualifications have given me the knowledge and the skills I needed, and the staff help inspire my passion for teaching – and I hope my enthusiasm is infectious. I love getting to know the students and understanding what motivates them, so that I can tailor my lessons and help them to get the best out of the subject. I would recommend Nescot to anyone. It’s the perfect size: small enough that it feels like family, but big enough that you get access to amazing facilities. The tutors support you so much and they really encourage you to work hard and to progress your qualifications. Teaching is my passion, and I’m so grateful to Nescot for helping me to follow my dream.


Name: Ricky Reino

I’m a big cat keeper at The Big Cat Sanctuary in Smarden in Kent. I’m responsible for the care and management of the animals, which include tigers, leopards, jaguars, lions, cheetahs and pumas. It’s a really varied job, which includes feeding the cats, maintaining their enclosures, and getting involved with guest experiences. It’s amazing to be able to build relationships with such incredible species, and my favourite part of what I do is training the cats for simple medical procedures.

I started my Level 3 in Animal Management at Nescot in 2005. After that I went to Hadlow College, where I did a Foundation Degree in Animal Conservation and Biodiversity, and then on to the University of Roehampton for a top-up degree in Zoology.

Nescot was a lot of fun, but we all worked really hard. I learnt a lot of theory in a massive range of topics, and the experience I got working on the farm was really useful. My favourite unit was probably Collection Management, but I still remember the things I learnt on Breeding and Genetics modules too. We went out to visit zoos a few times, which helped me to think about my career options.

I always knew I wanted to work with big cats. In my career so far I’ve worked at a private zoo in Dubai and then Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire, as well as volunteering at Chessington Zoo from Year 11. My advice to students is to work really hard at college, because that knowledge and experience on the farm will get you a long way. Don’t expect things to fall into your lap, but if you know what you want to do then just go for it. There’s no substitute for practical experience, so do as much work experience and as many internships as you can. One of the best things about working with animals is that you never stop learning.


Name: Miguel Gomez Silva

I did my Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 AAT at Nescot, and now I’m an accountant in a company and really enjoying it. The teachers at Nescot are exceptional and they really go the extra mile.


Luke Pharoah

I’m a trainee zookeeper at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire. I started my job in 2015, after finishing my Level 3 Animal Management course at Nescot with a triple distinction. I’m doing an additional qualification alongside my job, and soon I’ll be fully qualified as a zookeeper.

The best thing about being a zookeeper is how varied it is. In a typical day I could be doing anything from feeding animals to helping train them for procedures, maintaining enclosures, or mucking out. I live at the zoo, which I love because you get to be involved at a closer level. For example, you might be called on to help with an animal arriving at the zoo late at night after it’s been transported from another zoo, or you might need to look after an animal that needs special care. I work with all kinds of animals, from brown bears to tigers, but my favourite animal to work with is a camel.

The best thing about studying at Nescot was getting to work on the farm. I’d advise any students who want to become zookeepers to really make the most of the farm, because what you learn is so transferable. The farm is like a small version of a zoo, and a lot of the techniques you use are the same. For example, the units I studied on Anatomy, Biology and Biochemistry and the practical skills I learnt helping catching sheep and lambing still help me in my day-to-day job now.

While I was at Nescot I did work experience at Chessington Zoo, and I also had a part-time job looking after reptiles at a garden centre. My tutors always encouraged me to push myself, and I’d tell anyone studying Animal Management the same thing. I always knew I wanted to work with exotic animals, either in conservation or as a zookeeper, and I feel really lucky that my first job is at Whipsnade.


John Tracey

I’m a dairy assistant at a farm in Oxfordshire. A typical day starts for me at 3.20am, when my alarm goes off, and I start work at 4am. The farm I’m on now has about 460 cows, and we supply 14,500 litres of milk per day to shops including Tesco. I supervise the milking and take care of the cows in general – I even do the artificial insemination. It’s a long day, and it’s hard work, but I love what I do.

I did my NVQ1 and my First Diploma at Nescot, and I did my work experience at City Farm and Bocketts Farm, which was my first experience of a working farm. I went on to Plumpton College to do a National Diploma in Agriculture. Since then I’ve worked with herds of cows for almost ten years and I’ve travelled the world – I’ve worked in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as in the UK. It’s a great trade, because you can go anywhere there’s cows.

My advice to students is to make sure you’re confident in your practical skills, whether that’s handling animals or understanding their biology. In my line of work it’s essential that you can drive a tractor, and I would recommend making sure you have your driving licence as soon as possible.

I struggled at school, and I was diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but once I visited Nescot I was hooked. I loved working with the cows, and for the first time I could see a career path that really fit me. It literally transformed my life – without Zoe and Marcus and Nescot I honestly don’t know what I would have done. They taught me that if you work hard the sky really is the limit.






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