The range of A Levels, vocational courses and apprenticeships available at Sussex Downs College effectively prepares students for the world of work. Here, Sussex Business Times looks at College Alumni who are making waves in their industry.

With campuses in Eastbourne, Lewes and Newhaven, Sussex Downs College has the local area covered. Young adults (aged 16-19) and adult learners choose the College for its choice of courses that support their way of learning with one end goal: to succeed in business. Sussex Downs College Alumni are becoming big names in business. Here we take a look at just a few.

Katie JonesKatie Jones, 28, from, Lindfield, is a Clothes Designer working with Selfridges and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion as part of their Bright New Things campaign. Katie studied Textiles and Art & Design at Sussex Downs College’s Lewes campus before graduating from Central Saint Martin’s University of Art with an MA in Knitwear. She now crafts imaginative and sustainable luxury knitwear from her studio in Stratford, East London.

Katie says: “My sustainable practices started when I was a student. I had to be thrifty, so I used end-of-roll fabrics and unravelled charity shop jumpers for wool. Gradually, this mind set became my brand ethos.”

Katie’s label takes a waste-not approach to design by sourcing surplus materials from British and Italian design houses, proving that sustainable doesn’t have to be plain or unimaginative. Katie explained: “Attending Sussex Downs College was the turning point in my education where I learnt that it was possible to pursue a career doing something that I loved.”

James DiBiase, Applied Art & Design Coordinator at SDC, said: “Katie is one of many students who have flourished in the creative industry following their time at Sussex Downs College. Her achievements are a real inspiration to all students who study creative subjects with us.”

Alie MackintoshFashion Designer, Alie Mackintosh, 24, from, Uckfield, studied Art & Design and Economics A Levels at the Lewes campus and now runs the online fashion business, Boom Boom Boutique. Alie can now count one of the most photographed women in the world, Kim Kardashian, as one of her clients. This year, Alie won an order from the US reality star/entrepreneur, with the design available in the Kardashian sisters’ USA stores: Dash. Testing the water of Alie’s designs, Kim had 83 million hits on Instagram wearing one of the young designer’s skirts.

It’s not just students in the fashion world who are making it big, although they may be the most talked about thanks to social media. Sussex Downs College students studying A Levels are given plenty of opportunities thanks to the teaching staff, who have worked in their chosen field and have contacts with industry professionals, including Accounting, Journalism and Medicine.

For the Millennial Generation, (defined as people born between 1982 and 2000), it is no surprise that the growth of the Internet and the power of social media has influenced the way in which they conduct and generate business. Sussex Downs College Alumni, Steve Haslip, 31, is now Design Director for the Carbone Smolan Agency in New York City, creating brand strategies and systems for businesses to evolve.

Danny Readman_SDC_KPMG_photo 1Danny Readman, 19, from Eastbourne, is now a Trainee Accountant with one of the largest financial firms in the world, KPMG. Over 150,000 applications are submitted to KPMG each year, and with only 150 places available; it is extremely competitive. Danny is the fourth student in four years to be offered a place with KPMG: testament to the quality of teaching and training provided by Sussex Downs College. Similarly, Maciej Grochowski, 19, from Eastbourne, is now a Trainee Accountant with Ernst & Young, one of the ‘big four’ audit firms in the world. Other Alumni making it globally include Kalera Nichols-Agard, 26, from Lewes, who has secured an internship with UBS AG Investment Bank in New York City.

Making Apprenticeships Work For You

Apprenticeships remain popular at the College in all subject areas, with the Employer Engagement team working with local and national businesses to place students within the workplace.

More often than not, these placements lead to full-time positions for the students on completion of the course. This proves to be an attractive option for students in securing work after College, and for the companies in creating ‘home-grown’ talent. This past year, the College has had successful placements within the Hospitality, Accounting, Construction
and the Motor Vehicle industry.

To access the talent bank at Sussex Downs College and have an apprentice matched to your business, contact the Employer Engagement Team on 303 300 39474 or email

If you studied at Sussex Downs College, let us know what you’re up to in the world of business by joining our Alumni programme at