Victoria Ainley - Internship at Hawkwood College

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Victoria was the Marketing, Publicity and Social Media intern at Hawkwood College and was responsible for increasing Hawkwood’s web presence including social media alongside assisting with general marketing duties. After completing a Masters degree in London, she was looking for an opportunity to gain work experience in the South West. This internship provided a great opportunity to gain valuable skills and experience in a creative industry. 

I am currently working as an administrator at the University of Bristol, which has given me the opportunity to try various new things (publishing) as well as improve previous skills (admin, marketing etc) and the like. Every day is varied and I love the detail focused aspects of the work! In my free time I also like to complete short courses on subjects like blogging, marketing and writing to help expand my knowledge.  I am still pursuing other creative hobbies and am doing some light work on a blog to keep the creativity up!

From starting out in your internship what are you doing now and plans for the future?
After completing my MA in London and returning to the South West, I hoped that I would be able to transition to work fairly well, however many industries wanted both degrees and plenty of work experience, something which I unfortunately didn't have. Working in the creative industry was always something I was interested in, but it seemed such a struggle to even get an interview anywhere that I wondered whether I'd even be able to get into a creative role at all! Through Create Gloucestershire and RIO, I was able to eventually land an internship at Hawkwood College, a charity and independent centre for education. I got stuck into various aspects of the role including marketing, admin and running the social media. After the internship finished I continued at Hawkwood, gaining an even wider experience. I enjoyed the educational aspects of the college which helped lead me to the University of Bristol, where I now work. Experiencing such a variety of roles allowed me to consider the things I wanted (and didn't want) to do moving into the future. 

What top tips would you give someone who is just starting out?   
I would tell anyone starting out and hoping to get into the creative industry to not give up! It sometimes seems like you're spending ages with applications and sending out your CV and getting nothing back, but the creative industry is hard to get into so keep on going! Also, knowing your USP (unique selling point), keeping a portfolio of your work and keeping your CV updated are all worth remembering as you start your career.

Where would you go for advice?  
Organisations like Create Gloucestershire and Creative Choices are always a good starting point for advice. There is a fantastic creative arts organisation called PAPER arts in Bristol which is great at helping creative young people in their careers. Google is your friend - research organisations in both your local and regional area to get a feel of what's around you. Online courses (there are lots available for free!) are also great for developing particular skills and can boost your CV too!

What have you learnt along the way? 
The main thing I'd say I've learnt is that you shouldn't give up and keep pushing to achieve what you want. It's tempting to wait for the 'perfect time' when you're thinking of trying something like a new hobby, a job application or something you've wanted to try for a while, but the 'perfect time' may not come around so I'd say start today and give it a go as you'll probably surprise yourself!