Thursday, 15 November 2012

Secret Agent Wilcock

The Foundation Degree came into existence simply because in the days of Higher National Diploma, all we had on offer was a Two & Two - that's two years at Wigan School for the Arts and two years at a university to gain BA(Hons). But many students didn't want four years higher education and went straight to their chosen university - only to discover the huge difference in the contact time with lecturers and the effect it had on their study.

HND was very much hands-on, at university students had to email or phone to book an appointment with your lecturer. So it wasn't surprising that 25% of students who went to university failed to complete their course.

In changing to a Foundation Degree, from the outset it was the editors priority to raise the academic level of students joining the course and drill into them the dedication and effort needed to succeed without losing that personal touch. Hard work never hurt anyone but so many thought all they had to do was turn up and they'd make it into the industry.

It's just not like that. In the first year of FD seven of the group wanted to continue to the University of Salford to complete their study. One was offered a single year on Design Futures - but decided against it and is now a creative director in a company housed in MediaCity. Another was offered a single year in Advertising - but didn't enrol. His colleague was offered two years Advertising, but they decided to head in a different direction. A third student who wanted to study Illustration didn't enrol after being offered a two year opportunity.

But three students did arrive. Matt Page wanted two years in Motion Graphics to study the software and develop the new skills in this area of a changing industry, which he achieved and is now doing brilliantly - having launched his own company to rival his study. Emma and Jordan were offered two years with Robert studying Graphic Illustration - they are doing really well too. I can't wait to see their final show.

But for the editor there are too many 'Two Years'!

During FD Green's time at WSA everyone worked diligently to get the standards and amount of work to a higher level. Encouragingly the University have asked that recommendations are given as to the quality of work and whether the student heading their way would, in the editors opinion, be able to 'hack-it'.
Janine (on the right) discusses development with her third year colleagues at the University.
Two of the group especially stood out. One, who was always late for everything, couldn't make up their mind - the other grabbed the opportunity of a single year in Graphic Communication with both hands. Working alongside the third year tutor Tash, Janine Wilcock has taken on the role of a WSA Guinea Pig! 

It's come as little surprise to the editor that Janine has integrated easily into the group and what is more, enjoying it too! In conversation Janine said she had recently come back from The Behance Portfolio Reviews in the Northern Quarter. And that she had a really good long chat with John Owens from Instruct, a regular contributor to industrial talks at the University who went through her portfolio giving constructive criticism and key points to consider. To quote Janine "I got such a buzz from it all, just loving every minute of it!" It appeared that the editor got mentioned a couple of times when chatting with John - ah, fame travels!

On one occasion Janine and her group met in a bar called Night & Day in the Northern Quarter to have their University critique. From there they went on to met a guy involved in running 22NQ magazine who gave the group positive feedback - brilliant - real world experience. 

So, the link has been made, two years on FD followed by a single year at the University's premier graphic course and not for one moment has she been out of her depth. 

Janine has set the benchmark that those currently studying in their second year on the FD course must reach - anything less and the specter of 'TWO' returns - and in these days of increased fees no one wants to double up on university costs.  

You're a trail-blazer Janine!!! Below the star at (final year) work.

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