Work Placement Conference

Today, we had an hour and a half conference about work placements. This was targeted not only at Graphic Design, but other creative subjects such as Fashion, textiles, and architecture. For this blog, I intend to include the information I have taken from the conference to be the most important.

Firstly, it is crucial to get a work in industry before going into the final year of a creative course. 70% of people who did a year in industry had a walk in job after graduating. The year in industry is for 48 weeks, monitored. However, you are not restricted to work in the same place for that entire duration. I like the idea of working in a few places for shorter contracts. This way you get more experience and build up your CV. It is important that when you find a placement you enroll with the university so that you can be monitored. The university also require you to document your work via blog, presentation, etc.

With a year in industry, you are only available to half of your student loan. In addition to this you must pay a fee of £500 to go on placement. It is important to be open minded with job opportunities and have ambition to choose something a little out of your comfort zone. There are so many opportunities, not just in the UK, but global, don’t restrict yourself!  It is also important to think financially; not all placements are paid, therefore you may need to consider a part time job to support yourself.

Before applying for placements, you must ensure that you are ready. This means you must build your professional brand, by creating a portfolio of work, and a CV, checked by the university to ensure the right standard of professionalism. It is also important to think about any information linked to you, such as Facebook and Twitter and how it might reflect on you if the possible employer was to look at them.

To check placement opportunities, students can use Eplacement by entering their login details. On the website there are a range of opportunities, each provided with a job specification. Ensure you keep an eye on the closing date. Linda, head of placement at university told us that there is no need to panic about placement, we still have a lot of time to get something sorted, but now is the time to start looking.

When returning to university after a year in industry, you will notice a huge difference in yourself. You will be much more vocal, confident, self sufficient, and professional. This also gives you the experience to feed into writing your dissertation. Good placement years will get you a good job, and build up references on your CV.

There is also the option of doing the Enterprise program. This involves setting up your own business with the support of the university. There are positive and negatives aspects of this option that you must consider if you are interested.

Pros

  • Experience being a boss
  • Become more self sufficient
  • Launched in a protected environment
  • Enjoy a huge sense of personal satisfaction

Cons

  • Don’t earn a regular salary
  • Don’t get real work experience
  • Lack employers references on CV
  • Not a guaranteed job offer and graduating

The process of the Enterprise program is a little similar to The Apprentice. You would need to create and present your business proposal to a team and if they are interested, they will take you on board. This year there is a possible of 20 places available. However last year, there was only 6. Interestingly, we were told that, after graduating, for 5 years you are still available to the EPY of the Enterprise program for support and guidance into setting up your own business.

I personally think I will be most suited for a year in industry doing a few short contract placements. Although I like the idea of the Enterprise, I don’t feel that it is really for me at this stage, however I am interested in using it within my 5 years after graduating from the university. I found this conference rather interesting. It was helpful to hear previous students experiences and what they have gained from a year in industry and inspires me to find something well suited for myself. I have a few ideas about the company or firm that I would like to work for, however I want to keep open minded. Therefore I intend to research within my own time. Also I need to start developing a portfolio as well as my professional brand by creating a logo, and CV.

 

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