The Independent Specialist Day College aims to support learners with a broad range of learning difficulties, and their families, to ensure they receive outstanding education and care through partnership, collaboration, enterprise and innovation.
Sylvina Johnson, Head of Design at Starbots Creative, joined the students on Tuesday 29th November to inspire and contextualise their learning, as well as give advice on career pathways.
The students at Newfriars College, aged between 16-25, have a range of special educational needs. They’re currently working towards a Level 1 Qualification in Graphic Design with potential for further development.
Thomas Hall, Teacher at Newfriars College commented, “Our afternoon lessons run like a mock design company, where ‘clients’ provide a brief and the learners work as a design team to complete this.
“Sylvie’s insight into how this works in a real company was really valuable for them to contextualise what they have been doing.”
The interactive two-hour session involved discussions about a career as a graphic designer, exploration of client work produced by Starbots Creative, and a run-through of the process of developing design work.
Thomas added, “Sylvie’s way of communicating was really beneficial and helped support the learners who have special needs.
“Her talk was interactive and she took a real interest in the opinions of the learners, as well as looking at their own design work to encourage and give feedback on these.”
Career workshops are just one of many initiatives that educators are taking to encourage students, particularly those with special educational needs, to pursue a creative career, whilst growing talent and expertise in the Stoke-on-Trent area.
Sylvina had a great time delivering the workshop to the students, she commented, “I was so impressed by the work ethic of the students and the quality of their work. I love that their teacher runs the lessons like a design studio as it’s given them a real sense of how it works.
“It was great to be able to impart some knowledge about the industry and show some examples of my work, but I really enjoyed looking at the students’ work and hearing how they had designed them. It’s always exciting to see a new generation of designers!”
After the workshop, one student said, “I’ve been thinking about Graphic Design as a career as I’ve been enjoying it so much. It was so helpful to hear from someone who is a real designer to hear about what it’s really like”.