ESF Priority 3: Go Wales case study

Dec 17, 2021

The student was studying animation when they joined the GO Wales Programme in May 2019.  Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the student struggled with interacting and communicating with people, especially in a formal setting. Loud and busy environments, such as offices, could increase the student’s stress levels. Furthermore, the student felt that their social impairment impacted on their ability to plan effectively.

After the student joined the programme, they met with a GO Wales adviser on several occasions to explore their areas of interest and discuss potential work experience opportunities. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly stopped the initial work experience plans that had been secured for them. Despite this setback, the student continued to engage with the project virtually throughout the lockdown period in order to pursue a work experience opportunity.

Following the easing of lockdown restrictions, the student’s adviser sourced a virtual work taster opportunity for them with Cardiff Animation Festival to complete an animated video. Although the student faced challenges with virtual working in terms of getting to know people on a remote basis, and therefore building professional relationships, it also presented opportunities for them by removing barriers that might have existed had the opportunity been physically located in an office. The student did not have to concern themselves with unexpected loud noises, for example, which might be difficult for them to cope with in an unfamiliar environment. It also enabled the student to develop their digital, social and team skills by using alternative forms of communication, such as Zoom, Messenger and G-Mail, to share ideas, receive feedback and send and receive documents and files.

During the placement, the student successfully worked collaboratively with the team to create a short animation video. Its purpose was to encourage audiences to complete feedback forms after workshop events. It was a creative project, which enabled them to directly apply their animation skills.

The student also developed other essential skills during their taster, such as time management, and self-reflection on their own performance and behaviour. The student learned how to negotiate and compromise with clients in a positive and professional manner over design briefs and differing of ideas and opinions, which they considered the biggest challenge of their work experience.

“I am confident that I have a strategy in place to maximise my potential for future employment”.

Following the virtual opportunity, the student’s confidence had increased, and they planned to complete their studies in MDes Animation. The student also received positive feedback from the employer, signalling to them that there could potentially be future opportunities for them to undertake similar work. The student’s positive experience helped them to recognise that this was a career they would like to pursue. The opportunity enabled them to build contacts and networks in the animation industry, which will be helpful for their future employment prospects.

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