Hollyoaks actor Amy Conachan says her time at West College Scotland was the perfect springboard for a career on the small screen.
Amy, who plays Courtney Campbell on the long-running Channel 4 soap, developed her acting chops on stage at the college’s Paisley campus.
And now the Erskine performer is urging other would-be stars to consider studying at WCS.
After gaining her NC, HNC and HND in drama, she moved on to enroll at the prestigious Royal Conservatoire before landing her dream role in Hollyoaks.
She credits her time at WCS – from her first audition – with giving her the confidence to launch her career in acting.
Amy, 30, said: “There was such a nice vibe in the room.
“They were really enthusiastic, and it felt like a creative audition.
“I thought doing the course at the college would be a creative, fun time and it wouldn’t be stressful – it would be about developing myself.”
During the course, Amy had the opportunity to take part in a play as one of her first performances after some encouragement from one of her lecturers to do it.
“My teacher really encouraged me to do it and once I did, it was a huge boost to my confidence to go try new things, as it was a big challenge,” she added.
If you are thinking about applying to the college to do drama, then Amy says to go for it, as if you get nothing else you will have a nice experience and learn to do the thing you already love.
Speaking about her time at the college, the soap actor said: “Doing my HNC at WCS were the favourite years of my life as being at college and earning new things alongside my classmates and lecturers was the best. Also, my absolute best friend in the world is someone I met whilst studying at WCS.”
Amy says that there is a lot of pressure in the acting industry to do your best all the time, but she found the college a safe place to learn her craft, make mistakes and to learn from them and enhance her technique.
She added: “It took me years to get into the Royal Conservatoire and I put it down to my course at the college for why I finally got in.
“It gave me the experience and built my confidence.”
Even after leaving college, she says the support from the staff was still there with her former lecturers coming to watch her shows.
Amy gives a special mention to WCS lecturer Jim McLaughlin.
She said: “Jim, who taught me, absolutely changed my life.
“He was the one that really made me believe it was possible and I truly I don’t think I’d be where I am if I’d not met him.”
After graduating from the RC and taking a year out Amy was offered the role in Hollyoaks and has never looked back.
“If you have confidence in yourself and work hard you will get results.
“It’s important to believe in yourself and to not let yourself be affected by negativity. If you want to live “the dream” then you need to put everything into it and go out and get it.”