Work integrated learning

14 January 2019

Billy Blue began nurturing and inspiring young creators in a professional studio environment back in 1987. The founders were hunting for capable designers to maintain the mind-blowing calibre of work coming out of their creative agency (Billy Blue Creative). When they couldn’t find the right fit, they decided the best way to cultivate the future of design was to open their doors.

Staying true to our roots, we thought... why wait to expose students to professional work life? We believe strongly in the mantra ‘Design education by industry for industry”. Our lectures are industry relevant, our industry relationships are nurtured by a whole industry team (and our amazing alumni already out there) and we have a fully operational design agency in-house — the next iteration of Billy Blue Creative.

Billy Blue is opening more than our own door with a program we call Work-Integrated-Learning. The idea is tried and tested — allow students to develop and refine their knowledge and practical abilities in a professional environment. While many of our students are taking the opportunity to intern with studios around the country, some students are working closer to home. We’ve taken the opportunity to use our internal studio Billy Blue Creative, as a bridge to help our students navigate their eventual leap into working life.

But don’t take our word for it, listen to our last WIL intern Charlotte

For a little context, we task our interns to produce content for a Billy Blue Magazine revival project. We keep the brief as open ended, so our interns can have the opportunity to overcome one of the greatest client relationship challenges—defining what the client wants and needs. No-one said education was meant to be easy.

Hi Charlotte,

BBC: Thanks for joining us for the last 12 weeks. It’s been great for us to have your energy and insights in the studio. Looking back, what did you get out of this internship?

C: I have overall really enjoyed my time interning at Billy Blue Creative. It has been an immensely valuable experience and was the perfect way to end my degree. This experience has also been a great break from the regular classroom environment. I have been able to focus on producing my own work rather than comparing my work to my cohort or to past student examples. This provided me with the opportunity to explore whatever artistic avenues I desired without second-guessing or over analysing.

BBC: Awesome to hear! and what did you learn?

C: Throughout the year I have been learning how to respond to a design brief and how to pitch my ideas to a client (or in my case, my teacher). This internship has allowed me to take my new understanding and implement it within a working environment. Applying what I have learnt throughout my course within a working environment has added a whole new layer to my experience.

BBC: Was there anything in particular that made the experience worthwhile?

C: What I enjoyed the most about this experience, was viewing the work produced by the Billy Blue Creative team. I loved seeing how each person interpreted the same brief differently, resulting in 3-4 completely different creative outcomes. I also really enjoyed listening to the feedback you gave each other. I always like to ask a family member to look at my work to see how someone, who does not know the brief, interprets my work. When you gave each other feedback, it focused on the client and the consumer/audience. Like a middle man, it was amazing to see how you were all able to convey the client’s intentions without telling your audience how to feel and what to see! Really amazing!!

BBC: Thanks! You make us sound so great... but level with us, any complaints? C: I honestly have no complaints about my experience! If you wanted to, you could maybe add a scheduling aspect to the brief. I wrote a timeline in my notebook to help me keep organised. This also assisted me in collating my ideas when presenting to Alice and Mel in week 8. Maybe this could become a formal/ assessable aspect of the brief?

BBC: Always looking to improve! Thanks for the insight yet again and Thank you for taking the time to chat to us.

C: Thank you so much Mel, Jeremy, Alice and Helen for all of your help, feedback and advice. Thank you for letting me in on your projects, taking the time to explain what you were doing and then talking me though your work. Thank you for giving me freedom to explore whatever I wanted for this assignment, and thank you for being so kind and welcoming.

I look forward to seeing where this magazine will go!

Charlotte’s article based on the idea of making ethical fashion easier for consumers to use their power.