Software and social skills for life
Job: Graphic designer
Attended: Farnborough College, Hampshire, 2005-6
Qualifications: Btec national diploma in graphic design "All of the skills we used everyday at college I find I use everyday in my job and I find that the knowledge I gained at Farnborough helps me to guide clients and make decisions without needing to refer to my boss.
"I picked up software skills that I use all of the time and this helps me to get a lot more work done in my time which, in turn, allows me to meet deadlines and work quickly and accurately when a client needs some work doing immediately.
"Without the software skills I picked up at college, I would not be able to do my job and I don't think that I would have even been offered the job if I didn't have these skills.
"I also picked up social skills at Farnborough. I was given the confidence and ability to talk to clients and meet them on a one-to-one basis, being confident in the work that I produced and the service I was providing.
"I believe the college experience changed me an awful lot as I look back to how I was only a couple of years ago. I feel that I was only a 'little boy'. I have come out of college with a lot more confidence, drive and motivation to do something with my new skills. It has made me a much more marketable employee.
"Ken Wilkinson was my head of department. He was not only a fantastic teacher but someone you could talk to about anything you wanted and he would listen and offer you support if you needed it in or out of college.
He was someone I would regard as a friend as well as a lecturer. I believe that it is thanks to him that I am where I am now socially and professionally.
"There was also Jane Habgood, who is one of the art lecturers but took us for a couple of hours a week. It was with her that we did our final major project which accounted for three units of work and made up quite a large percentage of the students' final grades.
"Jane was my favourite lecturer. Every week we would wind each other up and have a laugh and she would always badger me about getting on with my work as I had left it for far too long and that left me a lot to do in a reasonably short time. She trusted me and let me get on with it at my own pace and I got it done -eventually!
"The college was slightly dated in appearance but, once inside, it was clear where all of the money had been spent and that was on the equipment.
"The college had two rooms full of Apple Macs for the graphics students to use. This gave the students an insight and knowledge of a piece of machinery and software that was recognised and well utilised across the graphics industry.
"Having only recently left, I went back to the college to thank the lecturers for their help and guidance before I began a job that I had got after the college had been contacted by a graphics company regarding a vacancy at their studio.
"This was a great opportunity and I could not have turned it down, having been offered the job ahead of other applicants who had BAs and Masters degrees.
"I was offered the job ahead of these because of the strength of my portfolio, for which some credit has to go to the college - and because of my confidence -but the college has to take credit for some of this too!
"There are a few people I keep in touch with from the course, but not many.
A lot of them were rarely in college so it was difficult to build a relationship.
"I hope to run my own graphics company and would love to employ other people, giving an opportunity to students like myself who haven't got a degree but who still possess good design skills and the determination to make it.
"A lot of graphics companies weren't even willing to give me the time of day because I don't have a degree and am only 18.
"If I were at college again, I would have spent a lot more time working rather than going to the pub. I really put pressure on myself towards the end of the year with deadlines fast approaching.
"My worst memory is being seen in the pub in town at lunch by one of the lecturers and turning up to his lesson a little over an hour late and trying to hide from him the fact that I was a little tipsy. Not much work was done that afternoon!"
Jason Chappel was talking to Shekhar Bhatia