Entertainment

Ed Sheeran praises creative college he studied at as new London campus unveiled

Ed Sheeran is a patron for Access Creative College London (Aaron Chown/PA)
Ed Sheeran is a patron for Access Creative College London (Aaron Chown/PA) Ed Sheeran is a patron for Access Creative College London (Aaron Chown/PA)

Ed Sheeran has praised a college he attended as a student which has unveiled a new state-of-the-art campus in east London.

Access Creative College (ACC) officially opened its new centre on Thursday night in a launch event which featured a speech from the 32-year-old singer songwriter.

Other speakers at the launch included British pop outfit Let’s Eat Grandma, ACC directors and guest of honour, deputy leader of the Labour Party Angela Rayner.

Access Creative College
Access Creative College A view inside ACC’s new London campus (bellboy_studio)

The new Whitechapel-based campus, which has technically been open since the beginning of term, provides more than 700 students with music, computing, media and esports facilities.

Celebrity alumni of the national college, which has campuses across the country, include Jess Glynne, Flo, Rita Ora and Sheeran – who is also a patron of the private education provider.

Appearing at the event via video message, Sheeran said: “I went to Access College in Bromley by Bow when I was 17 and 18, and it just gave me so much freedom to be creative in London and have a base to meet like-minded people I hadn’t really known before.

“There are such amazing communities. A lot of the time you go to school and you’re made to feel you have to grow up and get a proper job and what Access does is it gives you a safety net of trying something before you go out into the big wide world.

“I found it so helpful and I hope you enjoy going there. I’m sure there are people there that are going to be headlining festivals in 10 years’ time.”

Ian Johnson, head of music industry partnerships and artist development at ACC, introduced Sheeran to the private education provider.

Teenage Cancer Trust Concert 2022 – London
Teenage Cancer Trust Concert 2022 – London Ed Sheeran performing on stage (Aaron Chown/PA)

He said: “I first saw Ed play when I was asked to select some young performers to play at a show in Norwich.

“Ed was also the youngest act to submit some music for consideration. At the gig I was blown away by his natural ability to perform and to engage his audience.

“It was very clear that he has a lot of potential and it was not long after that show that I told a couple of people in the industry about him.

“It was clear that Ed was determined to forge a career in the industry and would be keen to learn from his peers, his tutors or industry figures.

“Ed took every opportunity we and others threw at him and did his utmost to make the most of it.

“That opportunity could have been anything from playing to eight people at In The City Festival in Manchester or on our stage at Latitude Festival, whatever the opportunity Ed performed to his best ability.”

Speaking on the new facility, Mr Johnson added: “We are thrilled to open our brand new campus in east London, replacing our previous space in Shoreditch.

“The young people studying with us will have a chance to develop their creative practice in a state-of-the-art building in the creative heart of London.

“They will get the chance to hone their skills while being taught by experienced tutors, industry guest speakers and partners and the chance to collaborate with their peers.

“It’s incredibly important that young people are given the space and time to follow their passions whilst getting a comprehensive educational experience.

“Whilst at school and college young people should be allowed to develop the skills and knowledge base to underpin their creative talent and to be exposed to the career opportunities that exist within the creative arts industries.”

Sheeran, who has 14 chart-topping UK singles, studied the artist development programme at ACC’s former London campus between 2007 and 2008.