GETTING students to the next step is the main focus at Colchester Institute’s Braintree campus.

College bosses have pumped £12.5 million into the campus over the past three years.

The latest addition is a new state-of-the-art learning and technology centre, meaning students are able to take their skills to the next level.

Bosses say the facilities demonstrate a new approach for the campus to provide its students with the skills to gain employment in the local community.

Courses include technology, engineering, construction, business and media.

Principal and chief executive Alison Andreas described the facilities as “the best of any in the county”.

Students moved into the facility just before Christmas and already have plans to produce a weekly show on Friday afternoons.

Assistant head of digital media Tom Whelham said: “Imagine The One Show but by teenagers, for teenagers.

“We are going to be broadcasting live from the studio on Friday afternoons – it’s going to be great.

“We recently had talks with Braintree Town Football Club and we are going to their games and filming them and then loading them on to the BT online system.

“We also have a big partnership with Serious Young Performers who have people who want to be in front of the camera, and we have lots of students who want to film and learn behind the scenes stuff so it’s a match made in heaven.”

The new facilities include a TV studio with 4K cameras, noise-cancelling headphones, an autocue, green screen and a control room.

A PC suite fit for 3D designs and animation is also included in the digital hub.

Mrs Andreas said: “We really want students to come and experience these facilities – we still have capacity to grow.

“I genuinely believe these are the best facilities of any in the county.

“Each student has their own different skills and that is really important to us.

“It’s really important we help them get to the next step.

“This is not the end – this is their journey.”

Assistant principal Adam Ward said: “One of our top priorities is the media hub.

“The whole focus of the campus is to train students around the sectors that are very important to the region.

“Every programme we do is about preparing students for the workplace.

“We aim to provide facilities that are as close to the workplace as possible and we also train students’ behaviour for the workplace as well.”

The college is currently home to 600 students with another 100 on its apprenticeship and adult learning courses.

Mr Ward said: “We want to continue to grow the number of 16 to 18-year-old students but also want to broaden our apprenticeships and adults courses, particularly around career change, while still focusing on the work place, but around entering a new environment of work.

“Gone are the days when people worked in one job for life and they now have a longer work life.

“We get a lot of students going to university from here but we also have a lot going into apprenticeships.

“We are preparing students for the jobs that are available locally and giving students the opportunity to work closely with employers.

“Later on they sometimes come back as employers looking for their apprentices because they know the value of what we do here.”