Things have been rather manic since talking to some of the media students at the Meet the Graduates event earlier this year. For those that weren’t there, I graduated in 2006 and ended up hotfooting it to Leeds in search of a job in the creative industry. I had no industry links as part of my armory and I never had that impeccable sense of timing to be in the right place at the right time.
I applied for post after post, and received my fair share of rejection letters and ultimately resorted to drafting written responses to complaints for one of the UK’s largest car manufacturers in order to pay the rent. Nevertheless I kept applying and after 18 months, I thought that I had caught my break when a local studio decided to take me on. But oh how I was wrong. It didn’t exactly pan out the way it had in my head and within 3 months the dreams were shattered and I was unemployed once more.
Suffering from Cystic Fibrosis, my health also took a bit of a nosedive and I was subsequently signed off for a prolonged period. It was during this time that I became aware of The Prince’s Trust and its Enterprise programme, which helps young people set up their own business. Believing that no employer was likely to take me on having had my first creative position terminated, I believed this was my last shot at becoming a designer. With their help I set up Tearaway Studios, a very small design label which operates out of the back bedroom of my house in Leeds. It’s a modest enterprise which allows me to do what I enjoy the most and over the last two and a half years it has slowly expanded and allowed me to develop my skills as a designer whilst working on the project briefs that really grab my attention.
I later became an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust and now work for the charity on a temporary 12 month contract, working with young people in the community and helping them reach a positive outcome. I’m still running Tearaway Studios, however the business is now no longer looking for new clients as a safeguard to ensure that I don’t go prematurely grey.
I’m also heavily involved in a new social enterprise which will aim to help media graduates gain experience in the industry without having to sell their souls or the shirts off their backs. It’s a cause which is extremely close to my heart, having experienced my fair share of poverty in the pursuit of a career in media. We’re looking to launch later this summer, so keep your eyes peeled and your creative juices simmering!