Thursday, 23 April 2015

My Creative Pioneers Experience

(Image source: Creative Pioneers / IPA

I joined the Creative Pioneers Challenge in their first year of running the program in 2012. And if it wasn't for one of my friends telling me about it after seeing it in the Metro I wouldn't be where I am today...well it may have taken a lot longer anyway. 

I never really knew what I wanted to do, I just knew it had to be creative and that university wasn't for me - I wanted to get out into the big wide world and get stuck in. I had just finished my foundation course at Camberwell and it seemed like fate that Creative Pioneers came along so I instantly applied. But because it was the first year they had run this I had nothing to go on. Was it difficult to get through? What would it be like? What exactly would I be doing? The application process has changed now I think but when I applied you had to do a video saying 'Why I'm a Creative Pioneer' in less than 60 seconds. I'm telling you, it's really difficult to sell yourself in 60 seconds! But I must have done something right because I got through, next was to have the first stage of interviews with companies.

The first stage of interviews with companies were in a 'speed dating' style which sounds really scary but once you got into it it was really good! But at first I was so nervous and excited at the same time to have so many fantastic opportunities in front of me. Some you may not be interested in but it gave you a chance to get advice, interview tips etc off someone experienced in the industry. And that's what jobs in creative industries are about, connections. 

Then came that horrible wait.

But thankful I got a few second interviews from some great creative agencies. I went for all of them, some I got and some I didn't. And in the end I got a years apprenticeship at Kitcatt Nohr Digitas (now known as Kitcatt Nohr) as an Art Director. I had no idea what that meant... I found a lot of job titles I had never heard of before starting my apprenticeship. 

So I began my apprenticeship, made sure I introduced myself to everyone and tried to make as many connections and friends as possible. And even almost two years down the line after leaving Kitcatt Nohr I'm still in connection with the people I worked with and I hope to always be. The first 3 months flew by and I tried my hand at being an Art Director but it just wasn't for me. Then the Design Studio Manager walked past me one day when I was trying to learn digital painting and asked me to try working in the Design Studio. Once he showed me a few things and got me to try retouching, I was hooked. I moved into the Design Studio asap and begin practising retouching and shadowing the designers. I learnt how to do a range of mock-ups, retouching, print basics and much more and the Design Studio became my home.

Not to forget all the coursework. The only thing I disliked about the apprenticeship was the coursework because it felt (and in my opinion) like such a waste of time. It wasn't very relevant to my apprenticeship or many of the other apprentices that I knew in the program. It seemed ridiculous that you either got the web design or the marketing coursework depending on what apprenticeship you had. Because mine was a creative apprenticeship I got the web design coursework which really didn't teach you much. You didn't learn how to code, use grids, basic typography or any design programs. Mainly it was frustrating when I felt like I was learning so much on the job and I had to put that aside to do coursework tasks and go into college once a fortnight. In the end, with the help of my supportive tutor, I got all the coursework out of the way so I could gain the full apprenticeship at the end of the year. 

But it turned out that I wouldn't stay at Kitcatt Nohr after my apprenticeship finished. Instead I searched for other jobs and with the support of my manager I was able to bag a range of interviews and job offers and i've now been a designer for almost 3 years and couldn't be happier with my choices :)

If you're interested in applying for Creative Pioneers then you better act quick because this years applications close this April/May depending on which jobs you want to apply for. So don't hesitate - GO FOR IT! 

Are you unsure whether university is for you? Considering an apprenticeship? 

Any questions feel free to drop me a comment below, i'd love to hear from you!


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