As a student it can be valuable to gain experience working within a professional environment to prepare you for your future career. A variety of skills can be developed within this setting that can help you to develop yourself as a well rounded and experienced individual.
My first work experience that I found greatly rewarding was at ‘Llantarnam Grange Art Centre’ for two weeks during my GCSE work experience. While this placement took place several years ago, it had a significant impact on myself and helped to expand my understanding of the professional art world. I was fortunate enough to be involved in helping to set up an exhibition that was opening on my final day of placement. I helped to unpack and sort all of the exhibition pieces, such as paintings, jewelry and sculptures, then arrange them around the galleries to be displayed in the professional manner in which a member of staff had taught me. I had also been involved in preparing the galleries by painting, sanding and filling in the walls , labeling the work and issuing exhibition invitations. This experience helped greatly when it came to preparing our second year degree exhibition. One of the most rewarding experiences at the art centre was being involved in a ceramic workshop for disabled children. This presented me with the opportunity to work hands-on with the clay and give direction while interacting with the children. It was a great experience to see these children being involved in something expressive and creative, while helping me to gain a very insightful experience.
During my final A-level year I visited ‘Boyes Rees Architects’ for one week, an architect firm that was previously situated in Newport but has since moved to Cardiff. This work placement was quite intense, as I became fully involved in helping to work towards a live brief with a team of architects. I sat in on team meetings and took notes regarding the current brief that involved constructing an industrial cleaning room within a hospital that would have a specific architectural structure to deal with bed linen, staff uniforms, patient gowns and surgeon’s scrubs. I was also able to gain an understanding of the design program AutoCAD, a piece of software used by architects to plan out their designs. While this experience was challenging, I found that being involved in a live brief while working within a team allowed me to gain various skills that I could translate into this year’s ‘Real World’ group module.
Whilst studying ‘Graphic Communication’ at CSAD, I have also maintained a part time job at HMV Plc as a sales assistant in their Cwmbran branch. By balancing this part time job alongside my academic studies, I have developed strict time keeping methods by making sure I work towards personal deadlines to ensure I don’t fall behind with my university work. These time management skills have helped to maintain a professional attitude within my work at both HMV and my degree course. As this job involves dealing with the public I have learned how to uphold a professional attitude within the workplace, and I believe this skill will translate when faced with potential future design clients. I was also involved in a group design project by producing staff posters for the store as part of a campaign to communicate everybody’s personal interests within music, films, and games.
I am currently looking forward to my work experience with ‘Elmwood’ design studio in London, as it will be my first design related work experience within a professional environment. Whilst all my previous work experience has not necessarily been directly associated with design, they have all helped me gain valuable professional skills that have helped to shape my understanding of the professional world I have today.