Work Based Learning is a fantastic opportunity for our second year students to get some work experience in an area that they love. Enhancing your studies with skills learned in the real world will go a long way to making you more employable when you graduate.
We're also really excited about the new Storyhouse arts centre that has opened in Chester. When we learned that Jordan (one of our regular bloggers) was doing her work placement there, we couldn't pass up the opportunity for her to do a Snapchat Takeover and answer some questions about her experience there.
Tell us more about where you are doing your placement
My placement has been at the newly opened Storyhouse Theatre, in Chester. Whilst mainly working with Stage Management, I have also done a week of work with the Wardrobe department.
It is an exciting time for the theatre as, of course, it only opened this year! We've been prepping a repertoire of four shows which are opening the season at the theatre. So far 'The Beggars Opera' has opened, 'Alice in Wonderland' is as I type being teched for a Friday night opening. And in the next few weeks, Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar' and 'A Midsummer Nights Dream' will be joining the line up.
It's amazing being part of the theatre at this time as it is not just me getting used to a new work place! Everyone here is feeling the excitement - as well as the pressure - of making a good impression on the people of Chester - who have been waiting years for this theatre to open!
What have you been doing on placement?
For the most part I have been making and sourcing props for the shows. One of the most interesting props I have been working on is the 'Strawman' for Beggars Opera which a misnomer really as he is made of a hessian sack material (Shh, don't say anything!). It's awesome seeing something that you have worked on being used in a professional performance. Helping to create the atmosphere and the world of the play to aid the audiences immersion is such an experience - and it IS hectic and it IS long hours - but it IS fun. Seeing everybody's hard work pay off in such a spectacular fashion is just amazing, and the end products are worth it - come see the plays and see for yourself!!
What skills have you gained and what responsiblities have you had?
I do feel as if I have expanded my knowledge base - especially in the more practical elements. I have mended clothes, taped lanterns, whittled candles, plucked a feather boa, and beheaded a bear... to name a few jobs undertaken. Hey, theatre ain't always glamorous!
I have also had a lot of responsibility whilst here (the company credit card for one!!) , as well as being in charge of completing lists of tasks on my own and the independance and confidence this is giving me is invaluable.
Have you always wanted a job in the theatre?
I have changed my mind about what I want to do on a near monthly basis since I was old enough to know what a job was; but the Theatre has always stayed nestled away in some corner of my mind. The thing is - I do a Psychology degree - so ... why am I working in the Theatre? Simply, because I want to. People will try and convince you that the arts and sciences should be separate - I don't think we should limit what we can achieve by boxing and separating everything. I currently study a science degree - but honestly, I've wanted to work in the theatre all my life. Seeing more of Stage Mangement through this placement has really helped me understand that.
Would you recommend Work Based Learning to other students?
I would most definitely recommend the WBL module to prospective students. Even those who have no clue what they want to do as a future career. Especially those! This module lets you try a job or career path you might otherwise not have direct access to, and it does it in a way that gains you credits towrds your degree. With more and more employers looking for practical experience and workplace skills, it's an invaluable tool to develop and learn about the world - and yourselves! The WBL team are super friendly and helpful, and they'll help you secure a placement, however they can. Honestly, give it a go. Try something new. It might be that *push* you've always needed.
To find out more about the Work Based Learning opportunities available at Chester, speak to our Careers team at an Open Day in October.