The Apprentice’s Karren Brady says “Work experience is vitally important in helping young people make the difficult transition from school into work. My very first job was in a hairdresser’s working on the reception desk. I know instantly that I wanted to make an impression. By the end of my very first day I had completely reorganised the booking system.”

Here at Design Office we also understand the importance of work experience, which is why we have been more than happy to be host to a student on work experience this week.

Matt Jones, a student studying at Sandbach High School, has a passion for design and wanted a taste of how we work in the industry. He currently studies both A Level Graphic Design and Photography, as well as working on live design briefs for friends in his own time. Matt is very enthusiastic about design and is very driven in his own time to create new projects, but he wanted to take the opportunity to experience a real working environment in a creative agency, as well as gain more knowledge about the industry itself.

Some students are put off from work experience because they are under the impression that they will be made to make the coffee, or given a stack of envelopes to stuff, stamp and send or even just be left to sit twiddling their thumbs. Although the menial tasks can still be very important in developing vital skills, here at Design Office we like to offer a more valuable experience, which is why when Matt came in, the first thing we did is establish what he wanted to achieve in his time here. Our Graphic Designer, Michael, took Matt under his wing for the three days that he worked with the Design Office team and tailored the time he had here to ensure that he worked on projects that would be beneficial to him, even after he left.

Monday

On Monday Matt was first tasked with looking at the Design Office website to become familiar with the sectors we work in and the types of projects that we create. The aim of this task was to give Matt the opportunity to get a full picture of the range of work Design Office complete and if they are projects that excite Matt and make him want to be a part of the process.

From there he was then asked to look at some design portfolio sites, including behance and dribble, to have a look at what already exists and what designers similar to Matt was creating. This would help us establish what style of design Matt is interested in and inspire Matt and steer the direction in which his projects will go in throughout the week.

After the first morning Michael sat with Matt to review where he was up to and create a plan going forward. Matt talked about a live brief that he had been set by a friend that involved creating a clothing brand and explained that he would like to use the opportunity to create this. Both Matt and Michael thought that this would be a great idea as developing the brand within a creative environment might push Matt to design something more creative, whilst also giving him access to professional advice and feedback from a whole team of people if needed.

The rest of the day was spent researching other clothing brands, similar projects completing by other designers and actually creating some logos.

Tuesday

On Tuesday Michael set Matt a new brief – creating a self-identity. Matt frequently works on projects in his own time and is keen to build a reputation as a designer. Therefore Michael felt it was appropriate that Matt thought about, and started to develop, his own brand.

Similar to Monday Matt was first tasked with researching self-promotion and how other freelance designers do it, before being given the opportunity to work on his own logos.

As he has been given the ‘mojo’ by many of his friends, Matt decided that he wanted this name to become the basis of his brand, so by the afternoon on Tuesday he had designed various logo concepts featuring this name.

Thursday

Thursday was all about choosing a concept and refining it, before implementing on a range of stationery and promotional items to really visualise how the identity could work.

Once complete Matt presented his ideas to Kev, our Managing Director. Kev was thought the ideas and concepts that Matt had developed during his time here were really innovative for a student of his age, but was also able to offer a new perspective that helped Matt develop and refine his work even further.

By the end of his three days here Matt was really happy with what he had achieved; he has been able to create the brand that his friend had asked him for as well as begin to develop his own brand and self-promotion. Going forward Matt now plans to implement his new brand and start to work on a website design.

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10 Reasons You Should Be Doing Work Experience

Here at Design Office we believe that experience is invaluable and is vital for a student when they are looking to make the transition from education into the real world. But if you still need some convincing, here’s 10 reasons why we think every student should go on work experience:

1. Young people are more likely to be successful in their job hunt if they have done some good work experience. Fact. According to a study by Highfliers, “graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes.”

2. If you’re not sure on the direction you want your career to take, work experience is a perfect way to sample multiple career options available to you. It’s a way of exploring different jobs without any commitment.

3. It’s the best way that you will get a true picture of your chosen industry. You’ll get the opportunity to speak to employees and ask the questions you really want the answers to. You won’t truly know what it’s like to work in your industry until you have experienced it.

4. Doing work experience demonstrates your passion and enthusiasm. Evidence that you have done work experience shows the employer that you are driven to get into your chosen career and that you have done your homework.

5. If you’re floundering and quite frankly not that bothered about your career, work experience might be the motivation that you need. By completing a variety of different work experiences you might come across something that you enjoy and are passionate about pursuing.

6. Work experience gently introduces you into the world of work. You get to learn the dos and don’ts, you get work place savvy and you learn to navigate your way through office policies. Vitally, it gives you an idea of the skills that you might need to thrive in the workplace.

7. It help you to identify your own skills and perhaps even highlight the areas that you might want to work on; it will definitely give you a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.

8. You might impress them so much that you get a job out of it!

9. It’s the perfect opportunity to network. It’ll help you build up contacts and, you never know, you might get the heads up about a future job or be recommended to another company.

10. Of course, work experience gives you something to put on your CV!

Here at Design Office we love to work in and around the community and as part of that we always take the opportunity to host a student for work experience when we can. If you’re a budding creative and you’re looking for work experience, why not get in touch now? Call 01270 252106 or send an email to jill@designoffice.co.uk