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Thomas Gray Completes Jobs Growth Wales Programme

The Jobs Growth Wales programme offers young people like me an opportunity to experience what life is like in the design industry. After the completion of my initial 6-month placement I can vouch that this programme not only works for the employee but the employer also. Whilst the employee gathers vital experience that will benefit them immensely from more experienced colleagues, the employer gains a member of staff that they are able to mould into their working environment. This placement has given me an invaluable insight to the industrial world of design and left me eager to learn more.

Before joining the team here at ITERATE, my projects throughout University took a slightly more critical design approach than industry would generally allow, and I am grateful for academia allowing me to explore this way of thinking. However, I feel my 6 months experience have allowed me to become a better-rounded designer, as I have gained valuable knowledge from my more experienced colleagues, who have been able to lend a helping hand should I need it. While also experiencing several client meetings which has helped me display my work in a more professional manor but also allowed me to gain insight into what it is like to produce work for an external source.

The most notable difference between designing for a degree and designing for a client are the time constraints, in industry time is money as they say! Meaning you quickly have to get used to working on multiple projects at a much quicker pace, gone are the days of spending 12 weeks working on one soul project. I must say that I have quite enjoyed the faster pace of industry, it has allowed me to gain even better time management skills while also allowing me to develop skills in new areas such as digital sketching, design for manufacture, technical report writing just to name a few.

During my first 6 months at ITERATE I have been fortunate to attend a number of design exhibitions. Before joining ITERATE I had never had chance to visit one of these, so it was a completely new experience for myself and has led to me not only learning about new and exciting technologies that are being developed. However, it also gave me an insight on what it is like to engage with potential customers, discuss what we do at ITERATE and how we might be able to assist them in the future.

When I graduated from University, I wouldn’t say I was the complete designer (I’m still not now) but I was confident that I had chosen the correct career. My time at ITERATE has reinforced that fact, while also teaching me valuable skills that will help me throughout my design career. Now I am a firm believe that a short period in industry can teach a young designer a lot more than 3 years in University.