HAYES Community Campus is tucked away in a cul-de-sac just off Coldharbour Lane, fairly well away from the town centre – and perhaps it is for that reason that many people simply do not know it exists.
Whereas Uxbridge College’s main campus in Park Road, Uxbridge, is nearly always crammed, Hayes campus has capacity to take on more students and, thanks to a significant amount of refurbishment, an amazing array of state-of-the-art facilities.
These include two fully equipped soundproof recording studios, several well-appointed dance studios, a 120-seat theatre for the performing arts students, a fully functional hairdressing salon, where hair and beauty students can practise their art on real customers and a restaurant – called Revisco – which offers those on catering courses the chance to prepare, cook and serve a variety of meals to students, staff and local people.
Lorraine Collins, the college’s executive director of enterprise and development, said: “We want to give our Hayes campus a higher profile. It’s got wonderful facilities but it seems that some people just don’t know we’re here.
“It’s not on a main road so you don’t drive past it and unless you’re specifically looking for the place, you probably wouldn’t even know it exists.”
Which is a shame, particularly for young people keen to learn about the performing and production side of the arts, hairdressing and beauty therapy, or catering.
Ray Griffin, 35, is course team leader in performing arts and lectures in music and music technology. He has been based in Hayes since October 2007 and is amazed by the changes he has seen.
“They’ve expanded the refectory so there’s a really nice area for the students to relax in, and the performance areas have had a major transformation.
“We’ve now got two recording studios with mixing desks and that means we can teach both sides of the music business – performance and engineering.
“It’s a 360-degree approach to try to teach the students all the skills they would need if they go into it as a career.”
That is certainly helping Daniel Bradshaw, 20, from Uxbridge, who is three months into a music performance B-tech course.
Daniel, who plays piano and is keen on composition, said: “I’m really enjoying the course and the fact that they’ve got these studios enables them to offer so much more. I did look at a course in Harefield but Hayes was the better option. Here, we get so much more time to practise in a studio environment.”
Eighteen-year-old Maria Brown, from Southall, is on the same course. She plays guitar and sings, and has her heart set on being a performer.
“There is a really good vibe in this place,” she said. “It’s fairly laid back – although the lecturers do chase us for work occasionally – and I feel I’m learning a huge amount.
“It means we can be more useful. Instead of just setting up our instruments, we can help the technicians set up their equipment as well.”
The studios, and other facilities, are also available for hire by the general public.
The theatre, complete with lighting, stage and seating, when required, can be hired for £55 an hour, and the recording and dance studios are available for just £22 an hour.
Lorraine said: “If you want an engineer to help in the recording studio, that will cost you an extra £25 an hour, but it’s a great opportunity to experience working in a real studio atmosphere.”
In the Revisco restaurant, catering course tutor Robert Bennett – known to his charges as Chef Bennett – is proud of the way his students perform.
“We run this as a proper restaurant. Anyone can come in and have a meal, whether they are students, members of staff or simply live in the area. The students work out the menus, prepare and cook the food under supervision and also take the orders and serve the meals – they learn all aspects of the business. The food they produce is a very high standard.”
Even the kitchen, which also has state-of-the-art facilities, is available to rent for £40 an hour during college hours.
■ If you would like to learn more about courses available at Hayes or about hiring the facilities on site, call Lorraine Collins on 01895 853 311 or email her at email@example.com.