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Posted 24.06.19

Mentoring scheme welcomes alumni back to Plymouth College of Art

By Lauren Taverner Brown

Student Harry Richards was paired with freelance Graphic Designer and Plymouth College of Art graduate Allie Wood as part of the scheme.

Set up by our Alumni team, the mentoring programme at Plymouth College of Art teams current students up with a handpicked selection of graduates, who provide support, advice and guidance to help the students in a series of one-on-one sessions.

Our mentoring programme has been set up to further the support we provide to our students, and encourage positive outcomes for students who choose a creative education.

The pairings established as part of the programme will not only enable students to gain experience from the mentors, but will also allow the mentors to pick up new knowledge from the students themselves. The programme will also grow and develop a creative network of support that stems from Plymouth College of Art.

Both the mentor and the mentees were required to commit to three hour-long meetings over the course of the spring and summer term. With some meetings taking place in person, and some via Skype, the programme was designed to be flexible enough to fit into the schedules of both students and professionals alike.

"As a student it can be hard to access a professional creative for quality one-on-one time, so this mentoring scheme provides guaranteed valuable time for the student to make the most of a professional’s insight. I really enjoyed seeing how Harry progressed."
- Allie Wood, freelance graphic designer

Each student who signed up for the scheme was asked what they wanted advice or help with, and they were then matched to an appropriate mentor, so the programme was personally tailored for each student.

Our list of mentors included an incredibly talented list of graduates from the college, including illustrator Jake Williams, winner of the BDC's New Designer of the Year at 2017's New Designers Festival in London; ceramicist Jessica Thorn; painter Julie Ellis; Game Arts graduate and Concept Artist at Rebellion, Jack Eaves; children’s book illustrator Pauline Reeves; freelance Graphic Designer Allie Wood; Donna Howard, director at KARST; and glass artist Jenny Ayrton.

We chatted with Graphic Design mentor Allie Wood, who graduated with a first in 2016, and her mentee Harry Richards, set to graduate this year from our BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree.

Allie said, “I find it really exciting seeing how new creatives progress and develop. I was so keen to be part of a third year student’s journey into industry, to give support with their final project, but also to answer any questions they might have about graduating and give advice on getting their first job.

“Sometimes as a student it can be hard to access a professional creative for quality one-on-one time, so this mentoring scheme provides guaranteed valuable time for the student to make the most of a professional’s insight.

“I really enjoyed seeing how Harry progressed over our few months of our catch-ups. I’m excited to see where he takes his skills in the near future! I’d recommend the mentoring scheme to any student keen to hit the ground running after graduating and looking for that little extra insight, advice and creative support.”

Illustration student Ella Waterson pictured with her work at Degree Shows 2019 - Ella was mentored by children's book illustrator Pauline Reeves.

Harry continued, “As a designer, I'm constantly looking to learn or improve whatever, wherever. With a mentor who has already experienced the jump between education to the industry, I've been able to clear my mind of queries and worries concerning the jump as well as a headstart on pitfalls to avoid in future. I would recommend any student to have a mentor, both parties able to learn and develop from each other and provide opportunities to assist each other when needed.”

The full list of mentors and mentees for 2019 is below:

Jake Williams - Angeliki Datseri, BA (Hons) Illustration (final year)
Jessica Thorn - Alice Norris, BA (Hons) 3D Design Crafts (final year)
Julie Ellis - Becky McGill, BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking (final year)
Jack Eaves - Callum Mitchell, BA (Hons) Game Arts (second year)
Pauline Reeves - Ella Waterson, BA (Hons) Illustration (final year)
Allie Wood - Harry Richards, BA (Hons) Graphic Design (final year)
Donna Howard - Kate Summerhayes, BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate, MA Fine Art student
Jenny Ayrton - Lucy Watson, BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking (final year)