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Matthew Weston

Alumni success for former degree-level Graphics student

Matthew Weston has secured a role with York-based design agency Corebrand, following his degree-level Graphic & Communication Design studies at York College University Centre.

On asked about his experience, he said that anyone considering degree level study at the University Centre should “jump right in!”

Matthew’s success has come not only from his dedication and passion for the subject but from a highly recommended reference from tutor, Monica Gabb.

The BA (Hons) Graphic & Communication Design tutor explained that the beauty of the University Centre at York College is that of the smaller class sizes, saying:

“We know our students so well that we can make personal recommendations to industry links. We can pair students with organisations to whom they are best suited.

“Matthew was always so dedicated and hardworking. He was reliable and passionate about Graphic Design and was working on his own product line in addition to studying at the University Centre.

“When Corebrand came into college interested in recruiting a graduate, I was able to show them his portfolio. This is the beauty of having a digital portfolio submission as part of the progression module, we can showcase student work to relevant employers.

“When the company explained the job role, I thought that Matthew would be best suited to the position. They agreed that his work was versatile and a style that they were interested in, so they invited Matthew to interview, and he was successful.

“We wish him the very best luck for his future.”

Despite his success, Matthew faced numerous obstacles throughout his studies including the news he was to become a dad shortly after graduating. On learning that he and partner Courtney were to welcome a son, this made the couple even more determined to build stable careers for the future of their family.

Please read on to learn more about Matthew’s time on campus at Sim Balk Lane…

Why did you choose to study at York College University Centre?

“I chose to study at the University Centre at York College due to its accessibility. York College University Centre was local to me and allowed me to get the qualifications I wanted while still giving me time to work on myself and hold a job.

“My first visit to the college was so welcoming and I instantly felt like it was somewhere I could grow and demonstrate my skills. I almost felt regretful that I'd gone to sixth form as opposed to the college.”

What did you enjoy most about your course?

“I enjoyed every aspect of the course. It allowed me to focus on the work I enjoyed and wanted to pursue whilst also pushing me beyond and out of my comfort zone.

“The course helped me to develop skills which I have been able to transition into my employment now with Corebrand.”

Did you have a favourite project that you worked on?

“My favourite projects were the ones which allowed me to express my creativity while still following a brief’s restriction.

“I enjoyed the book cover project in my third year which tasked us to choose from a selection of book covers and then create an alternate edition in our own style based on how the book made us feel.

“The Airbnb brief allowed us to work on a real brief which advertising and public relations company Publicis Media supplied to us. There was a competitive element to this project as we were put up against each other to create the best work we could while still providing feedback to each other.”

What benefits did you see from studying with us?

“Studying at York College University Centre allowed me to get the qualifications I needed as well as providing me with opportunity to develop my skills.

“The University Centre also allowed me to build connections not only with other students and my tutors but also with professionals in the industry.”

What was your experience of the tutors?

“I was in a unique situation where each year of the course my tutors changed. This however benefited me as each one had a different and sometimes opposing view on my work. While one tutor may have loved a piece of work, it may not have appealed to another.

“While this may sound like a problem, it actually greatly helped me as it almost simulated what it’s like working in the industry - some clients aren't always going to love your work, regardless as to how great you might think it is.”

How would you rate the facilities at York College University Centre?

“Studying a creative course meant that a lot of facilities were needed for experimentation, research and development.

“The facilities at the University Centre are in abundance. We used industry level iMacs, had access to print rooms, and had brilliant photography equipment. If I needed something my tutors were quick to help me achieve that.”

During your course, you welcomed a son into your family. How did you find juggling parenting and studying?

“The college was very accommodating to me throughout my time there, especially in my final year which was the most crucial, yet also the most disrupted.

“In the final year I was hit with the news that me and my partner were expecting a baby and then, very shortly after, my dad passed away.

“I expected both these events to have a huge impact on my work, however my tutors gave me the support I needed.

“If anything, these events motivated me more to graduate and gain employment.

“At the same time my partner already had a three-year-old, from a past relationship, who we looked after together. How she managed to do it alone I have no idea.”

Your partner is currently studying the same course, how is she finding her studies so far?

“Courtney has faced many setbacks, however her love for the subject and the college is what has kept her going.

“Courtney has been at the college since 2016 after leaving secondary school. She started studying a vocational Art & Design course which was broken up by the birth of her first son.

“After having her first son, she came back and completed her Level 3 studies before progressing onto the degree-level Graphic & Communication Design course.

“Incredibly, she has now reached the final year of her degree and is close to graduating.”

For those who are considering degree-level study with us, what would you say?

“If anyone is considering studying at the University Centre, I'd say jump right in.

“I visited other local universities and then a friend recommended York College University Centre. The college became my first choice and with a successful application I was quick to join.

“The University Centre at York College isn't as packed as the other universities I had visited. The friendliness and almost family-like feel was something which was essential to my success.

“Everyone is welcome regardless of their circumstances and everyone can find a place to feel supported while pushing to be the very best in their subject.”

Learn more

For more information on our BA (Hons) Graphic & Communication Design degree, click here.

For more information on our University Centre, click here.

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