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Former student returns to Xaverian to share experiences

Mia Dahl Martinsen, former Xaverian A Level student, has returned to the college to do a work experience placement as a Graphic Design Assistant as part of the third year of her Graphic Design Degree at Kingston University in London. Mia, 21 from Timperley and former Knutsford Academy High School pupil, studied A Levels in Graphic Design, Law and Textiles, and is sharing her university experiences and graphic design insights with Xaverian students by leading workshops in skills and techniques.

“I chose to study at Xaverian because it offered lots of options at A Level and it was the perfect stepping-stone to university. In terms of my arts courses, I chose textiles as it looked really interesting was more than just creating fashion, and graphics as it covered both digital and hand drawn art which suited my creative style. I particularly enjoyed the graphics course as we had the freedom to use mixed mediums as part of the project briefs, and I could use the skills I had learned in textiles to create physical pieces to use in my graphics’ designs. I found studying law alongside arts subjects was a nice balance and it gave me a lot of confidence as you have to speak in public.”

Mia will be working at the College for up to four months as a Graphic Design Assistant, where she will be shadowing the teacher in tutorials and also leading workshops on specific skills and giving one-to-one help and advice to students. Mia commented: “I wanted to spend a year in industry so I could get the most out of my degree, by being amongst graphic designers and industry professionals to experience what it is like to work in the industry. My plan is to work at the College for the first half of the year and then spend the other half studying in Portugal. I remember placement students being in some of my classes and I found it really useful to learn from their experiences, the choices they made and the benefits of taking an Art Foundation course, so it’s great for me to be able to do the same for current students.”

“Being at the college for my placement has given me more confidence, especially in public speaking, which is essential in the design world and if I eventually want to go into teaching. I’ve been able to give the students advice about university as I found it was really hard to know what it would be like at university as I didn’t know anyone who had been. I’ve really enjoyed being with the students, even though they are only a few years younger than me, and coming back to the college and being in the same classroom has been quite nostalgic!”

“I know I want to work as a Graphic Designer and but I am undecided about which route in graphic design to take. I think working in an advertising agency would benefit my career as I will be working to defined briefs with design professionals who I can learn a great deal from. Doing the placement at Xaverian and completing my final year at university will help me to do this and ensure I am ready to take the next steps, which I’m really excited about.”

Emma Baker, Xaverian Graphics Teacher and Curriculum Leader, said: “It was great to hear from Mia after completing her studies at Xaverian three years ago, and we were delighted to offer her the work experience opportunity at the college. Mia excelled in her studies while she was with us and it’s amazing for our students to hear from Mia about her experiences at university and to benefit from the skills workshops she is leading. The students have all really benefitted from Mia’s presence in the department, both in terms of their A Level studies and making choices following Xaverian.”

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers an extensive range of A Levels in addition to several BTEC courses.

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