From education to employment

Access Creative College acquires dBs, offering students in creative subjects a connected learning journey from post 16 to degree level

@Access_Creative College (ACC), a leading, independent college for the creative industries has acquired dBs, the sound & music institute. The move represents an expansion of FE and HE services for ACC, offering learners a coherent, connected and defined journey from post 16 to degree level. 

From its Bristol and Plymouth campuses, dBs currently offer specialist music and sound production courses to help students build meaningful careers in the audio industry. Access Creative College delivers vocational education in the creative industries to over 3,000 students at campuses in major cities across England. It offers courses in computing, games, media, music and events at specialist campuses in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, York, Lincoln, Norwich and other locations with partnership providers. The college aims to prepare young people for careers in the creative and digital industries through innovative, practical employment-led training.

With a common goal to deliver the next generation of creative talent through engaging, industry relevant courses, ACC and dBs will come together to offer learners initially in Bristol and Plymouth an extended range of courses from levels 2-7. 

It is anticipated that this full range of courses – including Access to Higher Education and degrees in Games and Computing – will subsequently be rolled out across ACC’s other existing cities including Manchester and Birmingham. Students will be able to move between cities and sites as they continue their learning journey.

In Bristol, students will have access to facilities across both the existing dBs and Access Creative College sites. ACC’s state of the art campus in central Bristol has just had a £4.5m expansion to include an events space, music studio and various production suites.

Learners in Plymouth will have access to a range of services offered by Access Creative College for the first time. These include extensive learner support services, access to a national network of employers and the introduction of a broader curriculum, aligned to local and national skills priorities within the creative and digital sector.   

As implementation continues on the Skills for Jobs white paper, the PM used his ‘levelling up’ speech on 15thJuly to underline the need to escalate the value of practical and vocational education through the lifetime skills guarantee. The ongoing reforms support the idea that more adults have the opportunity to access the skills and training they need that leads directly to a job.  

Jason Beaumont, CEO at Access Creative College, comments,

“We want to provide students with a coherent, connected and defined journey in their learning, at whichever point they choose to study from leaving school through to degree level.  

“dBs has a very strong track record in successfully delivering technical degrees up to postgraduate level. Our plans are to build on this and develop a suite of degrees for our progressing students across all our provision.”

Jessica French, Investment Manager at ACC’s backers Apiary Capital, comments,

“We are delighted to be supporting Jason’s ambitious plans to grow Access Creative College’s HE provision across the country and see this acquisition as an important first step in offering a new kind of HE experience for learners in the creative and digital sector.”

Nige Burt, CEO and Co-founder at dBs comments,

“This is a very exciting development for dBs, giving us the opportunity to expand our HE provision in both curriculum and geography. Together, the organisations can provide students with an exceptional learning experience leading to entry into the creative and digital industries.”

This announcement follows a significant 18 months for Access Creative College, during which it secured investment from Apiary Capital and welcomed the National College for the Creative Industries (NCCI) to its portfolio. ACC has also recently announced a number of new senior appointments, including former Minister of State for Universities Jo Johnson, as the college’s new chair, and former Ofsted inspector and Adult Learning Inspectorate Steve Stanley as Director of Evaluation and Impact.  

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