In Summer 2019, I bagged myself a fourteen-week internship at Youth Cymru in Treforest.
Youth Cymru is a nationwide organisation that works to provide unique, innovative and life-changing opportunities in the hope that they have a positive influence on the lives of young people in Wales.
I’ve known of Youth Cymru for years; from the age of 15 I attended a youth club that offered a safe space for me and my friends to spend time together outside of school. Youth Cymru offered us some fantastic opportunities. For example, we had the opportunity to be a part of The Big Music Project and Trac, two music orientated initiatives that aimed to encourage young people to come together and be creative.
In fact, The Big Music Project is what sparked my interest in Graphic Communication — and that brings us to now. I’m currently a third year Graphic Communication student at the Cardiff School of Art and Design.
I saw the summer between second and third year as my opportunity to get some experience in the working world. When looking for internships, I reflected on my time on the course over the last two years; I found that what’s really shaped me as a designer is the idea of being an active member of society and taking positive action to promote positive change.
I knew that if I wanted to be satisfied with my experience working in design, it would have to involve working with grass roots organisations and being part of something that can help improve the lives of others.
This made working with Youth Cymru the perfect fit. I spent fourteen weeks rebranding the organisation, helping them launch a new website as well as redesigning a nationwide qualification known as the ‘Youth Achievement Award’ (YAA).
The YAA encourages young people to collaborate with others, get involved in their community, and take positive social action on a local level. I actually did this award myself in my late teens and made some amazing friends and memories by doing so.
The re-launch of the YAA meant that young people would now be able to gain credits as recognition for the hard work they do within the community. This meant that they would get something out of their volunteering – it could even help them get into college or university.
The rebranding of the charity and the new accreditation was unveiled at a launch event at the Pierhead in Cardiff Bay. The event was sponsored by Kirsty Williams AM, who’s the Welsh Minister of Education. It celebrated the work of young people past and present, as well as the amazing youth workers who worked so hard to help these young people achieve their goals.
In the fourteen weeks leading up to the event I was designing banners, leaflets, presentation folders, business cards – you name it – all with the goal of making Youth Cymru look less corporate and more reflective of the fun and inclusive grass roots organisation that they are.
My time so far on the Graphic Communications course has really helped me to explore my practice. Just as importantly it’s helped me to push myself to reach out for amazing opportunities such as my time at Youth Cymru.
It’s developed my understanding of what it means to be a good citizen designer, and to work towards positive social change for a better society where people are celebrated for their determination, kindness and generosity.