From education to employment

Burton and South Derbyshire College’s Harrison uses design skills to launch his own business!

Harrison Chambers, a Foundation Degree in Contemporary Creative Practice (Graphic Design) student at Burton and South Derbyshire College (BSDC) has used the skills and industry experience he has gained to set up his own successful freelance design business.

When Harrison first enrolled at the College on a Level 1 IT course, he had low confidence in his own ability and struggled with communication issues due to autism. It was through the development of digital skills that Harrison was able to unlock his potential and express himself. He had always had a passion for art and after exploring a few different creative avenues at Level 2, Harrison chose Graphic Design to specialise in at Level 3 where he achieved a triple distinction star.

During this time, Harrison had the opportunity to undertake an industry placement at digital marketing company, Acrimedia. This involved working on live design projects with a real employer and eventually led to Harrison developing the experience and contacts to gain freelance work of his own, including a project developing the branding for The Deer Park in Hoar Cross.

Speaking about his experiences while on industry placement, he said: “A big turning point for me was taking part in the industry placement with Acrimedia who have supported me to get to where I am now. It was good to get hands-on experience in industry and I took part in a lot of projects. It was this that led to my first freelance job working on the branding for The Deer Park which I received great feedback from the client and resulted in me being offered more work.”

Harrison continues to work as a freelance designer alongside studying for a Foundation Degree in Contemporary Creative Practice (Graphic Design) in BSDC’s University Centre and has big ambitions for his future career: “I plan to continue freelancing and gaining clients while I progress to degree level study at the College. My ultimate dream would be to set up a graphic design business in Spain.”

Harrison is now a regular at local employer networking events as he develops his contacts and clients, and he believes that all of this has been made possible through the support of his tutors at college. He said: “The support from the staff is the reason I have progressed at college – they are supportive in so many ways and I like the small class sizes. Graphic design is an output for me – I don’t class it as a job; it’s a passion. I enjoy helping and advising clients on the best design solutions for their business. My advice to anyone thinking of studying at BSDC would be to go for it; you’ll get great facilities and very insightful and supportive tutors.”

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