February 19, 2012

YCC Visits Sunderland University [13.02.11]

Last Monday saw me, (Dani) travel back to my hometown to attend an employability day at the University of Sunderland.

The day started at 10am where myself and 6 other ex Sunderland Uni students took to the stage in front of a room of full of 2nd and 3rd year students all biting at the bit to get into the creative industries. My fellow speakers were all in different areas of creativity from illustration, to 3D design, advertising and digital design. For me, being one of the oldest graduates, it was great to hear from a couple of the panel who'd only been out of uni a year or so and had started to find their feet. Some of the panel had decided to stay in the northeast, some of us were in London and others freelanced from home - a fantastic and eclectic mix of creatives, perfect for the mix of eager students who had joined us.

After some informal introductions from the panel, Shirley Wheeler of the university asked a few questions about life in industry. The information which, I suppose we take for granted is priceless to students about to embark on an adventure into the unknown. There was discussion about freelance, where to live, how to get in and to be honest the general feeling was that it really depends on your chosen career and what suits you. Freelance for advertising students isn't necessarily the right way to go at first but it might be more suited for an illustration student.

One thing that we all agreed on, one of the most important things in any creative industry, the one thing that we all need to do is NETWORK! Yes you need a great portfolio but it's no use if you don't actively seek the people who are going to give you a job. My advice for anyone wanting to get in and not really knowing where to start would be: Decide what work really floats your creative canoe and find out who did it. Find out the company and find out the actual person or team responsible for it and get in touch with them. This is pretty easy with things like LinkedIn and Facebook BUT try a nicely worded email first. 'How do I get their email you might ask?' Have a go at ringing up the company and usually they'll give it to you. When sending your email be polite and concise, say how much you like their work and ask if you can pop in and see them. You may get ripped to pieces on your first 'crit' but at least you know someone and you've heard what they have to say. Take the criticism on the chin, take what you like from it and leave the rest. These people aren't God and you should have your own opinions. Then do these meetings again, and again and again and again. One day you'll meet a person who'll like you're work and will be willing to give you a chance. Then the real work starts!

So back to the Uni visit. After lunch I met with the level 2 & 3 students on the advertising course and had a look at their work. Ian Fletcher from Leith gave the guys one on one crits and I took the rest of the students and did a little show and tell session and going through their books as group. A few of the guys I'd met before in London so it was great to see how much they'd grown in confidence and how their thinking had matured.

It's vital for any student to get as much exposure to industry and as possible. Thinking about a job can't just happen when they're due to leave. he employability day at Sunderland was a great way to expose the students to this and I was happy to share it with eager students who I'm sure will find jobs in their chosen fields. Let's do more of these please!!


Dani & The YCC

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