So I am in third year so I am only few months away from graduating which will go by so fast! Time to start thinking more serious about what I will be doing after graduating. Over those 3 past years in University and many more in various colleges and school I have always had a passion of making, art and textiles. Over the past few months this passion and love has weakened. This makes me worry as I should be at my highest specially in third year but also makes me think about other routes of career for my future. I could always imagine my self as a teacher, possibly in a primary school, or someone that helps other people. I also love to travel and being so lucky to be able to travel with university and on my own I still want to visit more part of the world. I went to the fair with an open mind, few set companies I wanted to talk to and a bunch of CVs ready to hand out. The fair it self was quite impressive. There was nearly a 100 companies that actually paid to be there and were very happy to help and talk to.
As a textiles student I decided to speak to textiles related companies, there wasn’t a lot that offered obvious art and design job. I spoke to River Island, Abercrombie & Fitch and Cardiff Theatrical Services.
River Island offer 12 months paid placements which I found out from a leaflet and not from the people I spoke to. I am not sure if I would like to be working for a designing company in future but decided to ‘sell’ my self anyway. They were very clear that I must have experience and even after I proved I have been in Malta for nearly 3 months working in a real workshop they were still very unwelcoming and not bothered. Even when I offered to give them my CV they said that I should apply in few months. River Island is a great clothing company but this experience didn’t leave a good mark.
Abercrombie & Fitch. Also a great designing company, sadly they didn’t have any designing offers but marketing and manager positions. It was still interesting how they hire people and how they all have to go through the same training and don’t hire externally but those positions were of no interested to me.
Cardiff Theatrical Services, in other words National Opera Wales. I spoke to them and they were so helpful and welcoming. I explained how I was a bit lost and confused about the future and they were so nice about it. I came up to them with a thought of costume design and left thinking about set making. Sadly there was no one there that I could speak about costume design but I gave my creative CV in and the lady there said they will be happy to show me their studio even if I was not previously interested in set making.
Another creative opportunity I came across by was within the Informatics Service. They mainly deal with delivering information an technology but also had a Graphic Designer position. I love the used of graphics and I have studies Graphics Communication in college so I took the information down for applying just in case. Now when I think about it I will probably want to have a break from designing as a whole, not just textiles.
As previously mentioned quite a big part of my life is travel. Before going to the fair I could picture my self going to one of the camps in America. Sadly there wasn’t there for the fair, there was one guy who was only sat down by a signing up emailing list and didn’t know much about it. After I realised that camp America would start before mid July, when my graduation ceremony is so if I ended up going I would miss it.
Another travelling company I spoke to was GOTOCO China. I really like them as they offer volunteering with free meals, accommodation and TEFL certification plus one free week in a village called Yangshuo. I have been to China before and it was really nice, however I didn’t like it as much as I liked other places. This is still an amazing opportunity which will also happen over summer so I will have to check the dates.
Frontier, a company with jobs and internships and over 350 projects that include travel. They were very eager about animal but also had some teaching opportunities. They offer placement for 3 months plus so I am guessing this wouldn’t be during summer which wouldn’t clash with my graduation ceremony.
UNA Exchange is a company that I didn’t actually speak to but saw in a booklet that involved the map of the stands with explanation of what each company has to offer. They are in the volunteering sector and partners in 50 different countries and 40 years or experience. This might be a great organisation for some international work experience.
Teaching opportunities. I spoke to a lot of companies that work in the teaching sector. I spoke to Apollo teaching service, which could get me in touch with schools if there is a supply teacher needed for coupe of days a week. This might be quite hard to do specially while in my third year but might be something to consider later on, after graduation.
ND Education is actually one of the largest education recruitment and training programme in the UK. To apply to this programme I would need a TEFL certification which I could get in GOTOCO China or many other opportunities. They sounded very reasonable and open to help my needs and help me achieve my goals.
The Teach First is a sector offering graduate job, graduate schemes, internships and taster days. At the moment I will probably be mostly interested in a taster day as I don’t really have any experience.
Other companies that I spoke to and may not be specifically in the teaching sector but are to do with helping people were the service stands. I spoke to people from stands like Alzheimer’s Society who were happy to organise one to one craft sessions with patients. This would definitely be and amazing experience however I think I will be more interested in working with children rather than adults.
Academi Wales caught by attention because of the adventures photographs on their stand. They showed people kayaking and rock climbing which is amazing. They deal with Public Services in Wales. They had some much to offer and I was ready to apply, however in the essential requirements there is a Welsh language needed at some posts and I can’t speak in Welsh but definitely I thing to look in to.
Another place that could be quite useful for work experience is Bedwellty House and Park. They organise activities fro children all through the year so maybe I could help with running some of the activities?
Go Wales has approached me actually, they are a company that helps students from poorer areas and who are less advantages to go to university to advertise it. They also help students while they are in uni with their employability and other skills. This might be quite useful for me as I am still feeling quite confused about what happens after graduation.
Another thing I thought about was to carry on with my education in art and design. I could undertake a postgraduate and research programme. This is offered by Cardiff Met but also many other different schools. I don’t really know a lot about Masters so didn’t know what questions to ask really but I know that we will soon be having a profession practise lecture about this so I will find out more about it then. I did mentioned about my worry about my writing skills and how English is my second language and the lady said that if I have any future worries I should email her. When she gave me her email I realised that I have already been in contact with her about additional funding for Malta. She couldn’t help me out with that then but was pleased that I managed to go anyways and proposed that I should write a reflection piece for the school website and paper. This would look great on my CV and might be good practise for the future.
It is known that it still good for graduates to get on graduate schemes. It gives them amazing placement and work opportunities. Pretty much each company that was there, from all different sectors, had graduate schemes to offer. I spoke to organisations that focus on find you the right graduate scheme such as Gradsouthwest, Graduatejobs and Target Group. And for recruitment Hays specialist recruitment, Rate my placement and Target jobs,
I spoke to few more companies and sands but those didn’t really interest me at all.
Reflection and next steps
This graduate fair was very helpful as they had a lot of different things to offer there but not so much for creative paths. It was however great for my teaching and travel plans. It was also quite scary. I have been doing some activities outside of my cohort such as Cardiff Met Award, international internships and various competitions but this fair made me feel like I maybe haven’t done enough. I am also quite unsure in what I want to do next I will probably take a year out to travel and do work experience. I strongly believe that I will come back to education in some sort of way as I love to learn and develop. What I will want to do next is to research and possibly apply for UNA Exchange, GOTOCO China and Frontier to plan some travelling and work experience for the next year. I will also try to follow up on the Cardiff Theatrical Services about the studio visit as that might be quite interesting. I also want to speak to Go Wales and see if they might help me with finding some work experience opportunities. I should probably start thinking about getting in contact with some school and places of interest for work experience for next year. This year will be busy with working hard on my degree but I think it is important for me to keep in mind about after graduating.