From education to employment

Where Are They Now: Rowan Charlton

Embarking on a journey that seamlessly blended passion and career, Rowan Charlton, a former student of North East Worcestershire College (NEW College), set the stage for their future through the lens of opportunity.

Rowan joined NEW College in 2009 to study the National Diploma in Media, which was then followed by the Higher and Foundation Degree, meaning he was at NEW College for a total of four years.

Guided by memorable tutors, such as Sean Macreavy, Ian Phillips, James Howley, Ava Thompson, Leanne Wilson and Wentworth Herbert. Rowan honed a diverse range of skills and knowledge including  creating writing, scriptwriting, editing, teamwork, communication, time management, camera angles, cinematography, composition, lighting, interview techniques, multi-camera presenting, vision mixing live shows, sound design, mixing and creating foley, stop motion animation, sound dubbing, filming theatre, short films, documentaries and music videos – just to name a few!

Rowan was also aided by the Learning Support Team during his time at the College including Joanna Chandler, Lesley Spencer, Denise Underwood, Samantha Bair, Netty Charnley and Lynda Mara, who sadly passed away in 2016. 

Rowan is in fact still in contact with Joanna, and even met Ian for the first time in over a decade in 2023, where he visited an Open Day and helped Ian out, showing potential new students the working equipment and 4K vision mixing deck in the live studio – other than visiting the college to see how it is today, this was all unplanned!

The College had links to the Film Production Degree at the University of Gloucestershire based in Cheltenham, and so after completing college Rowan attended university from 2013-2015, with many of his peers from NEW College. His specialism at university was Producing and Screenwriting in which he gained a First and was the highest graded student in his specialism that year.

So, where is Rowan now?

After moving back to Worcester, and then months later to Halesowen, Rowan started volunteering at Leasowes High School at the end of 2015 as a Media Specialist where he helped with the Music, Drama and Dance department. In 2016, Rowan started work at Halesowen College as a Learning Support Practitioner, where he supported students aged between 13-19 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). During 2017-2018 Rowan also qualified as a Level 3 Learning Support Practitioner, enabling him to be a qualified member of the Learning Support team he worked in.

During his time as a LSP, Rowan supported in Media lessons and realised that he could teach this, so in 2021 he started teacher training on the Diploma in Education and Training at the University of Worcester completing in June 2023. Rowan now teaches Radio Drama, linking back full circle to when he studied creative writing, sound design and creation as part of his course at NEW College. As well as this, Rowan is a Mental Health First Aider and believes strongly in male mental health especially since he suffered from depression in 2019.

Speaking about the skills learned at college and how they have helped within his current role, Rowan said:

“All of skills mentioned above link to everything I did as a Learning Support Practitioner and now a Media Lecturer. I have great patience, understanding and behaviour management. A lot of my students, even those I’ve had disputes with, recognise me as a trusted member of staff and will approach me. They have even recommended me to their peers as someone to talk to. One student even commented that learning is great when the teacher doesn’t just teach but can also act as a friend.”

Rowan’s journey is a great example of how choosing the right college course and gaining the right skills and knowledge can not only fulfill personal passions but also leave an indelible mark on the futures of others. Rowan even met his future and still current partner, Michael Carnell (who is a Lead Editor at Spark Media Birmingham) at NEW College and are now living together with a mortgage and going on thirteen years strong!

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