Running a successful work experience programme for an aspiring designer

In July, we hosted a work experience programme for an aspiring designer who was excited to take her first steps into the digital industry.

A photo of a young woman using a laptop. Image is out of focus with laptop in foreground

Last week, Graphite hosted a 3-day work experience programme in which participants would be immersed in a digital-agency environment and have the chance to work on a real-life client brief in order to develop practical and transferable skills in their specific area of interest. 

Our candidate, Leah, is an aspiring designer who is determined to pursue a career in the creative industries in the future after originally studying art and design at college a few years ago. Prior to joining the programme, we had met with Leah throughout the application process in order to better understand her personal areas of interest, career goals, and what she was looking to get out of the experience.  

We were put in touch with Leah by Spear Brighton – a fantastic organisation that works with young people in Brighton and Hove to help them overcome the challenges they face and build vital skills for their career and future long-term employment.

Day 1: Introductions to agency life

Day 1 involved introductions and ice breakers followed by sessions with our MD, Rob, to introduce Graphite as an agency, give an insight into agency life, and explain a bit about his own career story and current role as a Managing Director. 

The afternoon was filled with intros to different business functions within Graphite — Client Services, Design, Marketing, and New Business. The team members leading these sessions again included a bit about their own personal career journeys to date to show the varied and sometimes non-conventional pathways that are often taken. 

Leah commented “It was really great to get everyone's take on the industry and having this knowledge makes me feel more at ease for the future, so I would say it was really great.” 

 

Day 2: The challenge

The challenge for the week was set up for Leah on day 2 — due to the pandemic, one of our healthcare clients needs to be able to connect patients with doctors remotely for their appointments but doesn’t currently have a digital medium to be able to do this. They plan on developing an Online Doctor app, and therefore require wireframes and design prototypes for key screens. When creating these designs, Leah had to consider the important features that would be required, the user journey, and how the app could stand apart from those of competitors. 

This challenge was based on an actual brief that Graphite received from one of our clients, Vhi Healthcare, in 2020. UI Designer, Mike, helped Leah to get going with the brief with a one-to-one mentoring session before she started working on it independently. 

We asked Leah how she found the brief; “The brief was vague enough to have some creative freedom but was still specific enough to stay on track.”

 

Day 3: Presenting the final designs

On the last day, Leah finalised the work she had been putting together as part of the challenge with ongoing assistance from the team as needed. The week culminated in a presentation session and a chance for feedback from the Graphite team.

Going into the week, Leah had no background in UX/UI design, having previously focused on areas such as illustration, animation, and video editing. Despite this, she produced a set of carefully considered, visually attractive, and personalised designs that the team was blown away by. 

Wire frame designs of prototypes for an online doctor booking app, designed by work experience candidate, Leah

Our UX Designer, Mike, commented, “Leah demonstrated a great understanding of the design process during her task. She was constantly developing and questioning elements of the user journey, which in turn helped her to produce well-thought-out wireframes, rationales, and design considerations that she showcased in a very impressive final presentation.”

We finished with final farewells and the agreement to keep in touch. We were delighted with the outcomes of July’s work experience programme and received positive feedback from all that were involved. 

 

At Graphite, we believe passionately in engaging with young people and nurturing future talent. We are continually impressed with the enthusiasm, hard work, and fresh perspectives that the young people that take part in our work experience programs or any other future talent event bring to the table. 

Find out more about Future Talent at Graphite here, and keep an eye on our social media channels for details of upcoming work experience opportunities and careers-focused events.