April 14, 2016

As part of any second year art course at Cardiff Met you are offered the chance to undertake 4 weeks of work experience.

I have always wanted to be a secondary school art teacher, but I haven’t had any experience in this whatsoever. Therefore I knew that getting work experience was going to be really important.

During the 4 week placement, I didn’t just want to work at one secondary school, I wanted to experience as much as I could and make the most of having the time to do ‘real’ work. Therefore, after a lot of planning I managed to arrange:

  • 1 week at Marlborough College – a private school near where I am from
  • 1 week at Craft in the Bay – a craft gallery as part of the Makers Guild at Cardiff Bay
  • 1 week at The Village Pottery in Bristol – a pottery studio owned by a previous Cardiff met ceramics student
  • 1 week at The Swindon Academy – a state secondary school in Swindon, where I am from.

From these work experience placements I have gained so much knowledge that is transferrable to my studies, and that will help me in the future.

At Craft in the Bay I learnt many skills, including about how to exhibit work – they have also asked if I would like to put on a small exhibition with my fellow students there. At The Village Pottery, I learned extra skills in throwing and Jen – who owned the pottery, gave me a lot of advice on my studies. Finally, the work experience at Marlborough College helped me to decide that it is the place that I want to work in the future, they provide such a high standard of teaching and I left feeling really inspired.

Although it can seem like a lot of hassle to organise work experience and trust me, it can be very stressful when it is getting closer to the starting date and you still have not confirmed where you are working (!) it has been one of the best experiences I have had at Uni. Starting to think about your future whilst you are at Uni is the best way to get ahead, as the gates are open for you to volunteer, and gain knowledge and meet new contacts who can help.

The idea of volunteering may put some people off – especially people who want to start earning money straight away! It’s important to remember that you could still do that, but just doing an hour a week cleaning an artist’s studio or working at a gallery (for instance) can show your passion for your subject and people will start to know your name. A lot of artists I have spoken to said that this is how they started out, and it is all about gaining as much knowledge as you can.

In short, I am certain that now is the time to make the most of the opportunities out there for me and it is all about NETWORKING! 🙂