Plymouth music industry training hub dBs bought by Ed Sheeran’s alma mater

The Plymouth music technology hub that trained Wolf Alice guitarist Joff Oddie has been bought by the national college which counts Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora and Jess Glynne among its alumni.

Plymouth’s dBs, the sound and music institute, has been acquired by Access Creative College (ACC), a leading independent college for the creative industries which has also nurtured techno artist Rebekah, dubstep producer Pogman and singer/rapper Misha B, among a glittering list of industry success stories, and still has Ed Sheeran as a patron.

The move represents an expansion of further education (FE) and higher education (HE) services for the two colleges. Establishing a presence in Plymouth for the first time, ACC will work alongside dBS to offer learners in the city a “coherent, connected and defined journey” from post 16 to degree level.

With a common goal to deliver the next generation of creative talent through engaging, industry relevant courses, ACC and dBs will together offer learners, initially in Plymouth and Bristol, an extended range of courses from levels 2-7. Plymouth students will also have access to a range of support services offered by ACC for the first time.

It is anticipated 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 courses.

From its campus in Plymouth city centre, and from its centres in Bristol, dBs currently offers specialist music and sound production courses to help students build careers in the audio industry.

ACC, now in its 30 th year, delivers vocational education in the creative industries to more than 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 industries through innovative, practical employment-led training.

The dBs building in Plymouth city centre

Jason Beaumont, ACC chief executive, said: “Plymouth has become a thriving hub for both education and the creative sector. We couldn’t be more excited to be able to offer a new kind of learning experience to students in the city with options for courses ranging from post 16 to degree level.

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

“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, said: “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, chief executive and co-founder at dBs, said:“Plymouth is obviously the birthplace of dBs, having set up here some 23 years ago. The city is exceptionally important to us as an organisation and so we are so excited to join forces with ACC to provide students in the area with an exceptional learning experience in a wider curriculum. It provides the opportunity to be at the forefront of education provision in the digital and creative industries in Plymouth and the surrounding area.”

Plymouth music industry training hub dBs bought by Ed Sheeran's alma mater

Business Live’s South West Business Reporter is William Telford. William has more than a decade’s experience reporting on the business scene in Plymouth and the South West. He is based in Plymouth but covers the entire region.

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The announcement follows a significant 18 months for ACC, 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 chair, and former Ofsted inspector and Adult Learning Inspectorate Steve Stanley as director of evaluation and impact. ACC was rated Good by Ofsted in 2016 and Outstanding by the Independent Schools Inspectorate in 2017.

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