Event Production students enjoy placements at Nottingham Contemporary

Monday May 22, 2023

We’ve teamed up with one of the largest contemporary art galleries in the UK to develop a work placement model. Now in it’s second year, Confetti students benefit from the annual opportunity to gain paid experience working on public events.

Photo credit: Nottingham Contemporary

In April 2022, second year BSc (Hons) Event Production students Jordan Sterry and Holly Matthews began paid work placements at Nottingham Contemporary as Event Assistants. The opportunity came about thanks to our Confetti Work Placement Manager, Lucy Greaves, and Nottingham Contemporary Visitor Service Supervisor, Sam Harrison, who’ve worked hard to ensure real-world industry experiences are on offer alongside academic study.

From placements to permanent team members

Jordan and Holly completed their 9-month placement programme in December 2022 and we’re pleased to announce that they’ve since become permanent members of the Nottingham Contemporary event team! Now in their third year of study, we spoke to both students to learn about their experiences and key takeaways, Jordan said:

“At Nottingham Contemporary I have been working as an Event Assistant which consists of setting up the venue, running the lighting, sound, any other audio/visual requirements, and also liaising with the clients on the day of the event to ensure that everything is set up to their standards.

“Since completing my placement here and getting a permanent contract, I am now also working as an Event Tech which means that I take the lead on shifts when the supervisor isn’t working. I manage events as required, and I also check in with the Café on events where the bar is open or refreshments are required. 

“The placement has allowed me to expand on skills that I learnt at Confetti, such as lighting and design, and putting them into action in an entirely new environment. This has been extremely valuable as it meant I learnt a new system and also got better at problem solving when something doesn’t go to plan. 

“One of my favourite events that I’ve worked on is ‘Pride After Party’ held last summer. It was a really fun, exciting event featuring a drag show and a club night atmosphere going on till 4am. It was one of the busiest events I have worked here, and it also allowed me to program some interesting lighting. 

“In the future, I would like to continue working on lighting as well as do more event management. Working at Nottingham Contemporary has provided me with opportunities to work on both of these things and it has increased my confidence to take them further. 

“I would recommend this placement to other students as every event here is different and gives you the opportunity to work a variety of events from corporate, to parties and music gigs.”

Holly Matthews (pictured)
Holly Matthews. Photo credit: Catherine Masters

Holly Matthews added:

“I have been at Nottingham Contemporary for about a year now. I started out doing a placement to build on my skills as an event assistant and event technician, supporting the team on a variety of events throughout the year. These ranged from more corporate events to music gigs, film screenings and dance performances.

“Not only did the placement allow me to develop my technical skills in areas such as lighting, video and sound, it also allowed me to build confidence and communication skills when working with the staff and clients. 

“I was very happy to be offered work as a permanent member of staff shortly after the placement ended, and have continued to work on a wide range of events. This work opportunity has and will continue to help me become a more knowledgeable professional, as the more events I work on, the more experience I am gaining. I look forward to where this role may take me in my future career and would definitely recommend the placement to students who are thinking of applying for similar roles.”

Becky Winrow pictured
Becky Winrow. Photo credit: Catherine Masters

The benefits to placements

Two more students have now successfully been appointed to join the Nottingham Contemporary work placement programme this year. Angus Spikings and Becky Winrow are Year 2 BSc (Hons) Event Production students and these placements form part of their Assessed Work-Like Experience where students are placed with local and national employers.

Second year, Becky is enjoying her time at Nottingham Contemporary, she comments:

“I found the application process for my placement really good! It was very formal and was like I was applying for a real job. It has prepared me for future interviews and completing application forms for employment. The induction for the placement has been insightful as to how Nottingham Contemporary works behind the scenes. I have done lots of training and feel prepared for my placement.

“On my course, I have learnt how to follow event plans, speak professionally to clients, and provide sufficient sound and lighting that is required for the events. For the future, I hope to expand my knowledge in adapting to how each event is laid out differently.”

Nottingham Contemporary. Photo credit: Andy Taylor Smith

As part of Nottingham Trent University, we develop strategic partnerships with key cultural institutions which creates exclusive opportunities for students to work alongside professionals at a variety of events and make connections with industry. This new work placement programme with Nottingham Contemporary is a great example of our partnership in action – we caught up with Nottingham Contemporary Visitor Services Supervisor, Sam Harrison for his feedback, he said:

“We’re especially pleased that from last year’s placements Jordan Sterry and Holly Matthews have joined us as permanent Events Assistants, and that they’re both now helping to coach this year’s students, Angus Spikings and Becky Winrow, in the role. All the students we’ve worked with have impressed us with their ‘can do’ attitude and technical ‘know how’. They’re fantastic new members of our team.”  –  Sam Harrison, Nottingham Contemporary Visitor Services Supervisor

Are you interested in attending events and getting hands on experience as part of your studies? Book onto an Open Day to find out more about all the opportunities on offer here at Confetti.