The value in volunteering

downloadNext week the Glasgow 2014 team will be hosting  an event at GSA. This event,  open to all of our staff and students, will highlight the wealth of volunteer opportunities available as part of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The  Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games are Glasgow and Scotland’s biggest ever sporting event to date.To ensure that this event is a huge success,  the  Glasgow 2014 team are currently recruiting  up to 15,000 friendly people to volunteer and help support the running of the events.

So why come along to the event ? Apart from learning  more about the 2014 Games, the event  is  also an ideal opportunity to explore how volunteering can make a significant impact on you,  your skills and your experience. So if you haven’t considered volunteering  as part of your professional development,  here are my reasons why you should….

So why volunteer?Volunteering is

  •  A great way to contribute to and support causes that have an impact on individuals and the wider community.
  • A great way to develop new skills.
  • A great way to try out different jobs and career options.
  • A great way to expand your network with like minded people and  professionals.
  • It can lead to employment,  many employers recognise that volunteering can build an individuals confidence, as well as demonstrates a high level of  motivation and professional skills for the work place.
  • It demonstrates your commitment to work,  73% of employers would employ a candidate with volunteering experience over one who doesn’t:
  • Finally the Glasgow 2014 volunteer opportunity is a great way to expand your cultural awareness and international network.

See link for further articles on the benefits of volunteering:

EVENT: Glasgow 2014 Presentation Thursday 7th February 2013  12 noon. Mackintosh Lecture Theatre GSA

Find out more about Glasgow 2014 here:


Applications to the Glasgow 2014 volunteer programme are open until 28 February 2013


Find out more about volunteering:

Voluntary Arts:

Volunteer Scotland:



Third sector internships:



Deutsche Bank Award in Creative Practice 2013…for the journey

Tuesday 22nd January 2013 will see the long awaited launch of this year’s Deutsche Bank Award in Creative Practice. The award gives £10,000 to one final year GSA student or group to establish a business project in their first year of graduation.

I always enjoy the launch of this event, not only do I get to see and speak to students who are really interested in creative business, but there is always a buzz in the air, an exciting mix of creativity, ideas and anticipation.

Its really inspiring and reminds me of why GSA graduates are unique in the graduate market. Put simply they are; driven, motivated individuals whose imaginative approach to projects always ensure innovative, diverse outcomes. Our Deutsche Bank judges, always comment that they never review two projects that are the same and the wealth of originality is always staggering.

For me the Deutsche Bank Award is not only about the winner and the £10, 000.  It is about all the students who undertake the journey of making an application. The experience of bringing together their; idea, focused research and business training offered by Max Comfort (the Deutsche Bank business trainer) into a professional business plan, is invaluable.

In fact, many students who apply to the Deutsche Bank Award will go on to launch successful creative businesses in their first year of graduation. These new graduates tell me that the experience of the Deutsche Bank Award really supported them to focus and prepare their business idea as well as helped them to quickly capitalise on business opportunities as a graduate.

So I hope that you will join me on Tuesday and find out how the Deutsche Bank Award can expand your business knowledge, experience, creative thinking and graduate plans…….


For further information:  

Changing directions with postgraduate study

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARecent research by the Creative Graduates Creative Futures 2009 Survey  identified that over 72% of creative graduates undertake some form of further study during the life time of their  career.Currently in the UK, there are over     55, 000 postgraduate courses  to choose from. Courses range from taught to research with a variety qualifications and study options on offer.

If you are a final year GSA student and planning to pursue a postgraduate course, you are not alone. At GSA, approximately 20% *of our new graduates will enter a full time further study course six months after their graduation.  Of our graduates who undertake further study, many will be doing so in order to develop a deeper understanding of their creative practice, subject knowledge and professional network. But, not all of our graduates who enter postgraduate study will be studying a creatively focused course. Some will be pursuing new interests, new career directions and learning.

Postgraduate courses can be a great way to successfully transition to a new career area, as they can can offer opportunities to expand and diversify your learning experiences and achieve specific professional qualifications.

If you are considering changing your career direction by undertaking a postgraduate course, make sure that you take the time to research your options thoroughly and strengthen your application by gaining relevant experience.  And dont forget to be ready to answer any questions on why you are making a career change.   Find out more about changing your career direction here:

If you are already writing your postgraduate applications, here are my top tips to ensure that your application will be a successful one:

  • Compile and evidence your GSA experience; your graduate attributes and skills, live /professional projects undertaken, critical and theoretical practice and achievements.
  • Identify any skills/knowledge gaps you may have for your long term ambition and make sure that your selected course helps develop new learning and practice to plug those gaps.
  • Strengthen your application, with focused work experience, voluntary practice and extra- curricular activities.
  • Identify how you prefer to learn and the type of learning environment that you thrive in, as this will help you to select the best course for you.
  • Make sure you are fully aware of what course administrators are looking for by attending open days, ask questioning and seeking guidance on what administrators would expect prospective candidates to evidence within their applications.
  • Check your selected course’s graduate destinations; do the graduates from the course find employment in the area that you are interested in? Are there specific links to the sector you wish to enter within the course? Will you be able to develop your professional experience through this learning?
  • Finally, ensure that you make your application to your post graduate course in plenty of time and you are aware of all the relevant deadlines (including funding.)

Find out more about postgraduate courses here:


UCAS/Postgraduate courses:

* Average % of GSA Graduates in full time further study six months after Graduation Destination of Leavers in Higher Education (DLHE). See HESA for more information:

The Tricky Art of Predicting Your Future Career……

ImageJanuary is always an interesting time for reflection and thinking about what the coming year will bring. If you are a final year student, you will be currently preparing for your transition into the world of work and decisions about what next are probably in your thoughts.

When thinking about your career, having a crystal ball or the capacity to predict the future would be a useful skill to have to help you to make good career decisions, especially in the current employment environment where opportunities, occupations and skill requirements are ever changing. Unfortunately, we simply don’t have this ability and leaving your career to chance or hope is not recommended.  So, how can you predict the future and support yourself to make informed and realistic choices about your career and the creative industries?

The good news is that there are some simple tasks that you can adopt into your daily routine that will help you to become more knowledgeable about your sector, the shifting job market and employer needs.

Here are my top tips to help you predict your future career options:

  • Undertake specific sector research…..Are you reading industry magazines? They are a great source of information about your industry, leading professionals and companies, as well as helping you to keep abreast of skill requirements and industry wants.Are you signed up to sector organisation e newsletters and updates?Are you aware  of sector council websites? These are a great resource, packed full of detail about your sector’s labour market, career options, and advice. See:  Skillset: , Creative Choices: and Creative and Cultural Skills Council: for further information.
  • Gain an industry placement…this is a fantastic way to learn more about what it is like ‘in the field’, gain experience of a working environment and  hear from professionals about what they see as the future developments in their sector.
  • Keep your ear to the ground…. Social media is a great way to hear about current trends in your sector as well as spot up and coming ones. Shape your twitter fed to help you gain relevant sector information by signing up to company’s twitter feeds, industry organisations and magazines. ’Like’ company pages on Facebook. Join sector groups on Linked in.
  • Keep networking…one of my favourite ways to hear about up and coming events, trends, jobs etc.   Your network should be helping you to source information about your sector…if it is not check that your network is as professionally focused as it can be and take action to develop it.

Not sure what type of information you can find and how it can help? Here are some highlights from information that I have come across recently, that are already being forecast for the creative industry in 2013:

  • Growth in opportunities, Nesta  forecasts that between 2009 and 2013, the UK Creative Industries will grow on average at 4%, more than double the rate of the rest of the economy and by 2013 would employ 1.3 million people.
  • Multi skilling will continue to be a trend where job seekers will need an understanding of different technologies (brought about by the dramatic increase in digital practice) and their application within the sector. (NESTA)
  • Archiving skills, awareness and practice will be in demand especially for the digital sector.(NESTA)
  • Management, leadership and business skills will continue to be important. (CCSkills)
  • Average wage for creative’s in the UK will continue to be around £7.36 for visual artists and for designers £11.40 per hour. (CCSkills sector statistics 2012/13)

So, while you might not be able to completely predict the future, actively undertaking sector research and keeping up to date with your industry, will help you to make informed decisions about your future career and plans. Good luck with your research.

Find out more about the Creative sector in Scotland and the UK: