To stand out in today’s competitive jobs market you’ll need more than your degree alone. Most employers look for evidence of work experience. Work experience is the experience of employment, paid or unpaid but typically short term and related to your career aspirations. Confetti can help you to find a work experience opportunity with a local business just like Milly Matthews, she’s been working as a Graphic Designer for STENCIL, a creative agency helping businesses grow through design. STENCIL is located in Nottingham City Centre, with clients based all over the world.
As part of her placement, Milly has been gaining some really valuable experience in industry, she said:
“Each day I work on a variety of tasks from vector illustrations, template layouts and logo design, to social media and research. I’ve had the opportunity to work with multiple brands, including Oakham School and the Professional Cricketers Association, helping to create a variety of illustrations and vectors for article posts. I’ve really sharpened my graphic design skills using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. The placement has also given me experience working as part of a team, communicating on tasks and relationship building.”
Unpaid work experience: How a Rise bursary could help
The Rise Work Experience Fund provides eligible students with a bursary up to £300 when taking on unpaid work experience outside of London. Additionally, there is a separate pot of funding available, the Rise Progression Fund (up to £100) to support you through the interview process and any pre-employment activities, such as an assessment centre. Examples of these kind of costs include travel expenses, clothing and footwear, and accommodation and equipment, like a webcam or microphone.
You can claim Rise funding if you are already in receipt of an NTU bursary, you are a care leaver, you have BTEC only entry qualifications, or if you have a disability. There are a few additional eligibility criteria so be sure to go and have a look at the full list and check your own eligibility on the Rise website.
Applying for a Rise bursary is quick and easy to complete, and you can make a new claim each academic year. Milly Matthews has now applied twice for the Rise Work Experience Fund, she says:
“It’s been an amazing opportunity to experience the industry first hand. The application for Rise Bursary is simple and straight-forward to follow. The reward is well worth the effort you put into it.”
Any ‘hands on experience in a live setting’ counts towards Rise funding
The Rise Work Experience Fund requires you to complete a minimum of 4 hours unpaid work per week at a legitimate organisation. The work you are doing must be relevant to your future career plans and the best thing about it – any hands-on experience in a live setting will count, such as organised crewing at Confetti’s own live music gig and events venue, Metronome.
Let’s say you apply for several short events, e.g. gigs at Metronome. So long as you apply no later than 4 weeks after the first event you work, you can group these events together on one application and you’ll be entitled to the bursary.
You can apply for the Rise Work Experience Fund for any client facing work undertaken as part of your Industry Practice module, such as Notts TV work studio or location experience, recording an artist in a music studio or venue in Nottingham, working on a web promo for a client, or producing digital assets for an animation or game. Please note that activities completed within lesson time cannot be counted as work experience. If in doubt, please email the Rise team.
Why should you do work experience or a placement?
- To stand out from other students and graduates: the industry is very competitive and examples of work experience in your chosen field can give you an edge.
- To help you decide on a career path: you might have your heart set on a career, but you won’t know whether you like it until you experience what it’s like first-hand.
- Put the theory you are learning as part of your course into practice within the workplace environment.
- Network and build contacts in the industry you plan to enter: sometimes it can be as much about who you know as what you know.
- To develop your technical skills: these are the abilities, knowledge, or expertise developed as part of your course. In Milly’s case these include her expertise with a number of Adobe Creative Suite applications.
- To develop your soft skills: these are the interpersonal skills usually found within the person specification section of a job application. Milly’s examples included communication skills and relationship building.
- Gain some commercial awareness: understand how your business and your industry operate, and how they make money. More importantly, find out about their customers and competitors, this is a useful skill for when applying for graduate jobs.
- To potentially earn money: this is where Rise funding can come in handy!
Would you like to apply for funding to support you with work experience or a placement through one of our Confetti courses? Apply now for a Rise bursary with support from Confetti and NTU.