The course has built up an impressive track record for work-based learning and has an extensive network of contacts. Live commercial briefs and work placements (six weeks) ensure that the training provided equips students with the relevant professional skills and employability. Students have been provided with a range of valuable enrichment visits to local industry. Entry into professional Graphic Design has never been more competitive and so continual exposure to industry is becoming an increasingly important element of undergraduate education. Visits to industry of this nature also help to prepare students for entering their arranged work-placements at the end of the second year of the programme. The second-year work-placement is perhaps one of the most important aspects of the course as it enables students to gain invaluable, real world experience in a sector of their choice. Students studying on the course have been working in a number of placements across the region and beyond in a range of professional Graphic Design roles. This valuable experience not only adds to their creative skills, but also provides them with essential industry experience sought by prospective employers. In the third year students are encouraged to explore and produce contemporary solutions to graphic communication problems, challenging pre-conceptions of graphic design and to develop as creative thinkers. The aim is to help students become creative, well-rounded and knowledgeable individuals capable of developing and leading in this rapidly advancing industry. To enhance the employability of graduates the course provides a range of direct industry experiences. Students benefit from close links with design agencies in the UK, visiting lecturers and speakers and live and collaborative projects. The course actively supports start-up creative businesses with training in aspects of business practices, copyright, finance and other related areas of legislation. Although there are no formal work placements, students are expected to maintain employer/mentor contacts to inform their work. Students are expected to exhibit work at the end of the course. An annual in-house design consultancy award is offered through one of our employer contacts consisting of a work-placement in the UK.
Ric Groves, 45, who is studying the BA (Hons) Graphic and Communication Design at Degree Studies at West Suffolk College, beat hundreds of entries to win a coveted Young Creative Network (YCN) Student Award for his video for a brand of cider. He was presented with the award at a ceremony at the Barbican Centre, in London. "Having always had a passion for design in many of its guises, I decided to follow my gut feeling and retrain professionally in graphic design," said Ric. The annual YCN creative competitions are set by big-name brands, including the Royal Opera House, Quorn, Dave and Orchard Pig Cider. "I am on my third year and already working on projects for clients." The awards are integrated into the second and third years of the Graphic and Communication Design at the Degree Studies centre. Orchard Pig Cider wanted entries that used social media and Ric's online campaign video combined tongue-in-cheek visuals, audience enticement and straplines. Sian Horn , course director, said: "This is the second year in a row we have had one of our students commended by the YCN judging panel. To be awarded in such a high-profile competition is no small achievement and we are delighted with Ric's success."
Suitable work placements for full-time students are provided for up to six weeks in negotiation with the student. Part-time students will normally be in appropriate employment in the design sector. Graduates from this course will be well prepared for a range of professional opportunities in fields such as graphic design, advertising, branding, digital media, publishing and typography. This year s graduates really pulled out the stops, and put on a fantastic show at the New Designers Exhibition in London. They show cased a variety of exceptional work demonstrating how versatile they are as multi-skilled and commercially aware designers. In turn, their efforts were rewarded by a host of offers for internships and freelance work and employment from renowned brands. Among others, this included invitations for interview from Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products, Freelance commissions from Mothercare, a licensing deal with New Collections and keen interest from both Sky television and the BBC. Creating connections between our students and the creative industry is an important element of our undergraduate Graphic Communication programme at Degree Studies at West Suffolk College and this year's New Designers exhibition provided a fitting end to year replete with industry links and vocational activities. As a graduating graphic designer, there are few things more important than exposure. As such, it is an essential opportunity to showcase their skills to a range of employers to help support their transition from education to professional practice.
Foreign Residential Trip to Barcelona - February 2018
Barcelona proved to be a perfect destination for our annual Art & Design study trip, allowing our students from Degree Studies at West Suffolk College the opportunity to appreciate first hand this city's stunning landmark buildings, such as Sagrada Familia, the MACBA, the FundaciÃ³ MirÃ³ and La Pedrera. The breathtaking works of master architect Antoni GaudÃ and his modernist contemporaries truly define Barcelona as a center for creative expression. The student visited a number of key galleries and museums gaining an insight into the ground-breaking work of Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso and Dali. Many other works of art could be found by just strolling around the city's streets and colourful markets. This trip was brilliant for not only the cultural exposure enriching the students wider learning experience but also for forming long lasting memories and new friendships.