What did you study and when did you graduate?
I studied BA Design for a year before switching to a part-time degree at a different institution.
What did you do as a CEN8 volunteer?
I was part of the Saturday morning Cen8Kids team, helping to run a variety of arts & music activities. One of my favourite moment was watching all the kids perform ‘A Year in a Night’ – putting all their hard work into a truly fantastic show! I also worked behind the scenes creating illustrations for the 2015 calendar (and more recently have contributed to the 2018 calendar) as well as general marketing content.
What was the most useful thing you learnt by being a volunteer?
Volunteering for CEN8 has given me so much relevant experience to help me get to where I am today. First it has only cemented how much I enjoy working with kids. Thanks to a reference from Gill I’ve spent the last three summers working abroad as a camp counsellor, running similar activities to those I worked on for the Cen8Kids program. Secondly it taught me that experience can come from the oddest opportunities – originally I signed up to volunteer as a way to work with kids and ended up gaining really important graphic design experience.
What was the best thing about volunteering?
The best thing about volunteering for me was feeling like I was doing something rewarding and productive outside of my usual university life. Going out and partying never really appealed to me so it gave me a great sense of purpose and achievement to work towards when most of my housemates were using the Saturday morning to sleep off a hangover. I met some awesome people and took away a great practical knowledge of design and marketing in a more commercial yet creative environment.
What have you been up to since leaving Goldsmiths?
I spent most of 2016/7 working for Invasion in Manchester, a company specialising in travel experiences whilst making an impact. I worked as an in-house Graphic Designer creating everything from brochures, leaflets and roller banners to social media artwork distributed to thousands of people. After returning from my third season working abroad this summer I’ve begun working for the Institute of Environmental Analytics based at Reading University as a Digital Media Assistant. My role includes designing marketing materials and animated visual content for the company and its projects, including work on the Data Tree Data Management online course.
Has/how volunteering for CEN8 impacted on you since you left?
CEN8 provided me with great relevant experience that went in both my design portfolio and contributed to my placement abroad. I’ve gained connections with people I still collaborate with today.
What career advice would you students currently at university?
Experience counts for so much in today’s job market so get it where you can but also don’t let people take advantage of you. Organisations like CEN8 are great as they allow you to develop your knowledge outside of academia without taking you and your skills for granted. Don’t be afraid to say no. Not every project is worth your time or skills. Make connections, they don’t always have to be relevant but opportunities can come out of nowhere. For example I’ve played in a community group for years whose leader found out I was a designer and later commissioned me to rebrand a local festival.
You can find all of Rachel’s wonderful work at designbymayes.com