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Doing a short course to boost your existing career

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Photo of a man talking in front of a class
Photo of a man talking in front of a class
Tutor and students in Creative Brand Management class,
Written by
Yusuf Tamanna
Published date
17 February 2021

UAL short courses are taught by industry experts with a wealth of knowledge in their chosen field.

Many students who attend a short course at UAL come from professional backgrounds. They are looking to learn from industry practitioners to develop their skills and support their current career.

We caught up with some students who completed a short course while working full-time hoping to better understand their field and advance their career prospects. Here, they share their reasons for doing a short course, how the experience went for them and most importantly – how the course has helped them progress professionally.

A photo of Maria Senatorova. Her hand is on her chin as she looks directly into the camera. On her thumb she is wearing baby blue nail polish.

Graphic Designer Maria Senatorova

Currently working as a Graphic Designer for KPMG, Maria Sentatorova says she’s always been interested in art and design. At her current job, she’s been working on projects that focus on brand identity, illustration and user experience.

Once the pandemic hit, Maria decided to use the time she now had to boost her current skillset and take the Digital Illustration Online Short Course.

“I was considering UAL for my further masters degree, so I decided to explore some of the short courses now that I had the chance to.”

One of the biggest takeaways from her time on the course was just how useful the tutor’s feedback was when it came to completing assignments. Better yet, Maria says the course helped her unearth skills she already had, but simply forgot about.

“The course helped me in many of my personal projects and it absolutely helped me in my professional work. Also, it inspired me to try illustration as something separate and unique and I am trying to freelance and practice in this sphere,” Maria says.

Maria adds that her advice for students thinking of doing a short course is to really look at what’s on offer as the variety of courses and topics covered is so vast.

“Short courses are really worth looking into! Especially if you’re interested in self-development.”

A photo of Hannah Cantellow facing the camera holding a piece of artwork by her fingers. She is wearing a red jumper and brown work apron.

Printmaker Hannah Cantellow

UK based Surface Pattern Designer and Printmaker Hannah Cantellow says on an average day you can find her in her print studio drawing and exploring new designs for linocuts and repeat prints. On top of that, Hannah also spends her time designing digital pattern using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop software to design collections and products.

Despite her packed schedule, Hannah decided to do both the Digital Textile Design Online Short Course and Fashion Textile Design Online Short Course because she felt the two course complemented one another perfectly given her diverse practice.

“The courses were fantastic together! I decided to take these courses to work on my portfolio and expand my designs for more commercial pursuits,” Hannah says.

Hannah tells me that the most enjoyable aspect of doing the courses was discussing ideas with like-minded creatives who shared her passion for design. On top of that, having the freedom to veer off track and experiment with other styles and approaches was an added bonus.

“The fact that others see my work as unique was great. It was wonderful to get such positive feedback and really encouraged me to take the leap forward with my business.”

Since doing the course, Hannah is happy to say she’s incorporated what she learned on the courses to further her professional practice.

“After the course, I was able to streamline my portfolio and collections. I’ve since developed my website and branding to reflect this!”

As such, her advice for others contemplating doing a short course is simple: “Don’t think twice, just do it! Whatever your reason, it’s a valid one and you won’t regret it. The tutors are fabulous and you’ll be able to use those new skills in more ways than one!”

A photo of Phoebe Chetwynd-Talbot smiling at the camera. She has one earring dangling and is wearing a striped white shirt. In the background you can see a number of green plants displayed across the room.

Copywriter Phoebe Chetwynd-Talbot

East-London based Copywriter Phoebe Chetwynd-Talbot is currently working at advertising agency Leo Burnett, but has has aspirations to produce and become a show runner for her own TV show. Her days at work are spent writing TV and radio scripts as well as working with clients helping come up with creative solutions to their problems.

With so much reading and writing a part of her job, Phoebe decided to do the Screenwriting for Beginners Online Short Course to improve her writing. While she described the course as being both compelling and challenging, she really appreciated the informative discussions she was able to have with her tutor and peers on the course that only enriched her experience.

“My favourite aspect of the course was learning that all I really need in order to be a better writer is to keep writing, that my dedication to trial and error is the thing that will make my work richer. And to not take it all too seriously!”

Circling back to how the course has helped in her job as a copywriter, Phoebe says: “As a copywriter I’m constantly writing- scripts, headlines, end lines, emails. The short course allowed me to really learn to craft that skill, and channel it into a new form that I’ve found incredibly useful for my job. I have a script going into production right now, and using the skills I learned on this course- made writing it a more fluid experience.”

A photo of Sophia Bridger-Finch smiling at the camera.

Qualified Make-Up Artist Sophia Bridger-Finch

After working in the beauty and fashion industry since she was 16 years old and then as a trained make-up artist at 18 years old and now an assistant manager for a beauty retail store, Sophia Bridger-Finch felt like it was time to shift her focus more towards the business side of things.

“As I was getting older and had jobs within beauty retail, I wanted to expand my business side of my brain! I’ve always wanted to expand my knowledge and eventually transfer more into a head office role within the buying and merchandising team. During the pandemic I thought 'well, I might as well do it now.'"

Sophia took the Buying and Merchandising for Beauty Retail (Online Short Course) and says not only was she was inspired seeing so many people study the course alongside side her from all over the world. “It made me realise how many people still love learning something new, no matter where you are in your career or geographically,” she says.

But how has the course helped Sophia with her plans on progressing in her career? “The course has made me more confident at applying the knowledge and skills I learnt on the course while at work. It’s also made me more confident generally that I’ve applied for opportunities within my company and I have been given an educational shadowing of the heads of merchandising and buying when everyone is back in the head office!”

A photo of Josheen Garcha sitting to the side facing the camera. She has her hand on her chin and her legs are crossed. She is wearing a white striped blouse.

MA Graduate and Freelancer Josheen Garcha

MA graduate Josheen Garcha is currently pursuing her interests in branding, graphic design and web design. As such, she’s working freelance as a Digital Marketer and Web Designer for an array of clients. She tells me she enjoys the process of helping new brands find their feet, while also assisting older, more established brands refine their existing brand identity.

With her work so diverse due to the nature of freelance, Josheen felt it necessary to refine her skills and chose to do the Digital Graphic Design Online Short Course. “I found that I had very little exposure to Adobe Creative Software and this is an integral platform to assist in my line of work. I chose a short course with UAL due to their reputation within the creative industry, as I wanted a course that gave me technical advice as well as a creative point of view.”

During her time on the course, Josheen says she enjoyed interacting with other students, and having lively discussions with the tutor about all things graphic design. She adds that being able to see everyone’s work was a great source of inspiration.

”I discovered that the creative process is much more challenging than I initially expected! I learned how to channel this in the right way by using multiple hand-drawn mock-ups and templates that greatly aided in the design process and overall piece.”

With her new-found skills, Josheen says she plans to apply them to her freelance work and feels doing the course has refined a lot of her approaches to creative work.

“The short course has benefited my career in digital marketing and web design massively. I am now much more comfortable using Adobe software to create my work at a much higher level. I am also in the process of designing and creating a logo for a new business, which will be much easier after the advice and guidance given by the course.”

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If you feel inspired to see how a short course with UAL can support your current professional practice, take a look at our electric range of online short courses. All of our short courses are designed to equip you with the practical and transferrable skills and insight to help you advance on your career path.

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