My first week of placement

Olivia, our second year Psychology placement student, has written about her first week with the Careers and Employability Service.

I was lucky enough to begin my placement at an exciting time for the Careers and Employability Centre. Creative Careers Week was full of brilliant opportunities for a variety of students ranging from Fine Art students to Psychology students. There was a wide selection of workshops going on, including help with your CV as well as top tips on how to survive as a freelancer in the creative industry.

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The start of the week looked at what it was like working in the creative industry. It was fascinating listening to Jane (from Sheffield Creative Guild)’s personal experience of her journey in the creative arts industry. She talked about the numerous years of a variety of jobs she had been in; some of which lasted two days, others lasting two years. All of which had accumulated numerous skills which had been helpful in focusing on the career she enjoys today in the unpredictable creative industry. Something that I especially enjoyed was listening to NatashaMcGowan talk passionately about the company she cofounded  ‘A Mind Apart’. It sounded like a thoroughly rewarding job for anyone looking for experience in the performing arts whilst working with challenging and inspiring children.

Something that was discussed in almost all of the guest speakers’ talks was how unpredictable job opportunities are in such a competitive industry. This meant that many people pursuing their passion often found themselves in a wide range of jobs in order to fund their true drive. This was demonstrated in Kyle Williams’ talk about how tough it was to break into the performing industry straight from his course at Sheffield Hallam. Common to all of these people’s journeys was their wealth of experience and networks gained from volunteering and other part time jobs which have helped them get to where they are today.

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A particularly creative workshop was the Art Therapy talk. It involved learning about what Art Therapy was and we were lucky enough to hear from a current student doing an Art Therapy Masters. She shared her experiences on the placement she was currently on and what she thought the future looked like for her. The workshop even involved students interacting with clay, to demonstrate some of the activities that may occur in an Art Therapy class. This was particularly fun – yet messy!

The talk about being self-employed taught me crucially that someone who is very talented can remain unknown if they don’t create contacts, get themselves out there and to some extent encounter a bit of luck. I found that the best pieces of advice the speakers gave were to be confident and proud of your work and that first impressions mean everything. Always have examples of your work with you, whether that be drawing or jewelry making, as you never know who you’re going to meet.

The talk on ‘Creative Arts, Media festivals and Events’ was really eye opening, If I do half as much in my career as Jonny Douglas has, it would be a pretty big achievement. His current and previous work involved interior designer, his work with ‘Sheffield Soup’, ‘PechaKucha Sheffield’ and ‘Avenues to Zero’. All of which were such big projects and accomplishments. The week ended excellently in the ‘Working behind the scenes in TV, Theatre and Film’ workshop, with over five speakers talking about their own experiences, none two of which were the same, in some of the most exciting jobs in the Creative Industry. We had Richard Knight speak to us, who had been a location set finder for Screen Yorkshire, to people like Debbie Gamble, who is head of wardrobe at the Crucible Theatre!

One day perhaps I will have done something in my career that I can come back to Hallam and talk about to students which will let them know that they are capable of doing what they’re passionate about. My first week of placement was an enjoyable experience, with Creative Careers week being just a small snippet of the many things I got up to; overall it couldn’t have gone better!