Written by Pixie Stardust
Jay graduated last year with a Bachelor of Design (Product Innovation). He chose this degree as it seemed the best way to channel his talents in art into a career.
Although he learned a lot of great skills and enjoys the ability to draw functionally, mechanically and aesthetically, Jay found himself without a clear career pathway. It was disheartening to spend so much time immersed in study and then struggle to find a job after graduation. It’s rare to see a job for a ‘designer’ advertised in the career pages. There was minimal career support or placement opportunities offered as part of study so trying to break into the industry or knowing where to start was difficult. What he finds the most frustrating is that he can see the symbols and products of industrial design all around him, but no indications of where or how these products are been designed. “It is like there are a select group of designers locked away somewhere in Scandinavia who are responsible for designing everything on the planet”. The study process also left Jay questioning some of the fundamentals behind design such as planned obsolescence and whether these fitted into his personal values.
After a prolonged period of searching for relevant roles, which were few and far between, Jay found that a lack of career experience ruled him out of any role remotely relevant to his degree. Settling for an unskilled role seemed like a waste of study; however the financial demands of living made this the only option. Jay took a high paid, but low skill casual job at a factory that allowed him to have free time to focus on his creative pursuits; making music, writing and drawing. Having this time to be creative allowed Jay to continually develop his skills and add more material to his creative portfolio.
Jay eventually got a role as a freelance artist for a film making company. The small company is undergoing a process of expansion and was for looking for a creative person to help out with research, script writing, and generating ideas. Although not directly related to his degree, the chance to get paid for doing creative work and the opportunity to develop more skills sealed the deal. Getting this role came about because of a willingness to look beyond a particular skill set to its application in the broader creative industries. However, ultimately the chance to be considered for this opportunity came about because through existing connections and networks. Obviously having a quality portfolio and the strong conviction to sell your abilities is important, but meaningless if you can’t get anyone to meet with you. Any time you meet people can be a chance for networking if you tell people what your skills are and what you want to do.