We would like to end National Apprenticeship Week on a high by talking about our collaboration with North Herts College.
Last summer we were approached by North Herts College (NHC) Work Placements Coordinator Lindsey Simpson, as they were building a programme of Employer Projects for the Creative Department. We eagerly jumped at the chance to participate, as this ties into the work we are currently doing within our local community and our apprenticeship scheme.
North Herts College aim to ensure all their 16-19 learners are matched with employer placements to give them workplace focused experience relevant to their chosen sector. They support their students to complete a minimum of 30 hours work-based experience each year through a varied programme of employer projects, virtual learning opportunities and individual placements within businesses and other organisations, tailored according to their course requirements.
We worked alongside NHC colleagues to plan a new ‘Experience of Work’ group project, which went live in December 2022, tasking Level 3 Art & Design second year students with fulfilling an Employer Brief that would represent 15 hours of creative input for the company, focused on delivering a realistic piece of work for one of our existing clients.
Our Studio Manager, James Gifford and Graphic Designer Liam Lee, visited North Herts College, and led a successful Project Launch Session, introducing themselves and MacroArt to a 20-strong cohort. With the students well informed about us, we then revealed their Employer Brief challenge to develop a window display for a leading retail brand.
Students worked hard to generate and submit unique design concepts using a set of brand “assets” assigned to the brief and to take account of necessary design considerations to ensure feasible production of the client’s required three-dimensional and mixed-medium final window display, while ensuring minimal wastage and addressing sustainability targets.
Weeks later, James and Liam returned for the Presentation Session, this time alongside Mark Rose, Operations Director. The students presented mood boards, idea development panels, materials and stock image research, final hand drawings and graphic designs to demonstrate their concept development and support their window display proposals.
James said, “I was genuinely impressed with the time and effort taken. Some of the examples look just like the kind of ideas/concepts we receive from our clients’s studios.”
Mark also commented, “Overall, I was so impressed by the students and their individuality within the designs. I asked them what the driving factor was behind the designs and most of them related their own experiences of what they see and how they are drawn into shops as the base of their ideas.”
The students also gave constructive feedback. Evelyn said, “I enjoyed taking part in the project that was more industry based and I liked that we had people come in from the company to talk to us.”
Jacey added, “It helped me in experimenting with new and different ideas and outcomes.”
This Work Experience Project innovation has proved a great success and we look forward to working alongside the North Herts College on projects in the near future.