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Art & Design Alumni Vijay Panchal








Our students and alumni achieve some amazing things after leaving West Herts College. We are extremely proud of them all and love to highlight their stories – whether it’s setting up their own businesses, securing job roles with major companies, or making a difference within their local communities.

We understand young people play an important role in today’s society and the college equips our students with the valuable skills needed to make an impact in their industries.

We recently caught up with West Herts College Alumni Vijay Panchal who studied on our Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and recently hosted a successful exhibition “New Horizons” at Watford Museum.


What did you study at West Herts College and why did you choose West Herts College?

I studied the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design because it was recommended to me by my school Art teacher at Westfield Academy. Studying here was the best decision I could have made as I was ready to move on from school but not quite ready for university.

How was your experience at West Herts College and on your course?

It’s been the best course I have studied to date because I got to specialise in Animation, which led me to gain expertise in Character Design. I loved the flexible approach to teaching from the experienced tutors, plus, we had loads of resources at our disposal. As students we had structure but also freedom and I made some of my closest friends at College.

There was so much freedom to experiment and try new things but also to hone my specialist skills. It was a course tailored to my individual needs and allowed me to go through the organic process of building my style and pursue my desired pathway. I remember being fascinated by the college trips to the galleries and museums. For me it was my ‘golden time’ in education, that sweet spot between studying, socialising and life!

How did the College and course prepare you for your career?

As well as learning technical skills, my course prepared me for my career by keeping me accountable for my actions or lack thereof. I also developed my work ethic. I still use much of the transferrable skills I learnt at College in my everyday life.

What have you been up to since finishing your course at West Herts College?

Since completing my course at West Herts College it has been a rollercoaster of a ride! I went on to graduate from the University of Hertfordshire with a 2:1 in BA (Hons) 2D Digital Animation. After graduating I ventured out into various art fields including gallery work, internships, facilitating art in mental health care, voluntary commissions for charities, promotional work, teaching art and freelancing to assist creative professionals. I use my art as personal therapy, as well as, inspiration to those around me as motivation for them to express themselves.

In October 2021 I had my first exhibition at The Marlowes Shopping Centre in Hemel Hempstead as a participant of the Dacorum Creatives Art Hub. I displayed my Freestyle Character Series (2020), a 50-day project focusing on expressing emotions through characters.

Tell us about your most recent exhibition at Watford Museum.

Of course! Four emerging artists, including myself, came together to showcase their work at Watford Museum in an exhibition entitled ‘New Horizons’ in early 2022. The exhibition’s aim was to bring a newfound hope to likeminded creatives and people from all walks of life. Some of the artists who took part in the exhibition have had experiences with ailments and we hope to continue to inspire others to pursue their aspirations amidst their healing journeys.

The members include:

Ajay Panchal a West Herts College alumnus from Watford. After graduating from the University of Hertfordshire in 2012, he has pursued freelance illustration and graphic design. His specialty is digital art, and he primarily focuses on human and animal portraiture.

Paul Williams a West Herts College alumnus from Ruislip. He is a multi-disciplinary artist specialising in photography, typography, and abstract art. He graduated from Nottingham Trent University and recently exhibited with The Dacorum Creative Arts Hub.

Dominic Bonney a West Herts College alumnus living in Prestwood. He has helped to install this exhibition using his specialist skills in tiling and carpentry.

Maxine Ellis a St Albans based multi - disciplinary artist specialising in photography, portraiture, and abstract art. She founded the Hertfordshire M.E./CFS support group and has successfully managed to raise awareness of the charity through the exhibition.









Find our more about our school leaver Art & Design courses here: