Bridging the Gap Between Graduation
& Getting Your First Job

A Day at the Internship Market of AKV St. Joost

By Annet Kloprogge
Creative at VBAT

This year is already the third edition of VBAT MeetMarket. In our ongoing search for the freshest design talent from around the world, we are holding a number of Meet Market live events throughout 2015 by offering young designers the opportunity to engage with like-minded industry creatives via a series of workshops, lectures and constructive portfolio reviews.

With this third edition of Meet Market we’ve taken
the theme of ‘The Wise & The Curious’.

It best reflects our intention of sharing our professional knowledge and experience with young design talent.

Through the years we used the format of VBAT MeetMarket in different ways, from creating a pop-up store to showcase work, setting up portfolio review sessions to flying out contest winners to our Amsterdam & Mexico City office for an internship.

But this year we decided to do it differently.

We realised that the right approach to create a connection with students is not to push information at them, but to start a two-way conversation instead. Telling them stories about the experience we gained in our years in the design world and hearing their views on what the future of design looks like and what kind of questions they have about looking for the right kind of job and how to market yourself in the right way.

We received the perfect opportunity;
The internship market at AKV St. Joost in Breda.

The day started off with a lecture by Bas van Beek, former Head of designLAB and design enthusiast. He wasn’t specifically motivating the students by telling them that only 1 of many will make it as a designer, but perhaps this will motivate them to show him that his arguments were invalid. Who knows!

Afterwards the first rounds of students came along and made us reminisce about how life was at the Art Academy. School projects that are several weeks long, versus our reality of set hours to budget-tied client demands.

It was great to see how the students have been collaborating with each other to make difficult art academy briefs into something fresh and creative. One of the projects that stood out for us was the IND (immigration services) brief. One team decided to visualize the process of coming to the Netherlands as a fugitive up until granted permission to stay. The effect that the team wanted to achieve is to show how difficult the process is and to let the staff at the IND see how the rest of the process looks (they normally only know a few steps of the entire road a fugitive needs to go through).

IND Art Academy Brief

If you’re a student at a design school, ask your teachers to organise a similar event like the Internship Market at AKV St. Joost, or set it up yourself! Companies out there are looking for interns and to be able to meet at least 10 potential employees in one day is a great offer. We ended up looking through very diverse portfolio’s with skillsets ranging from 3D-modeling to fashion inspired work and everything in between which resulted in several interviews for an internship.

Conclusion: a very inspiring day with insights on how these initiative are so very useful, because we believe that the current gap between graduating from art school and finding a fitting job is too big.

You often don’t get prepared for the job market in ways that is necessary. Presenting and marketing yourself is more a 2 week project week instead of a constant learning curve throughout the program. As an answer to this, to already help them think about possible questions to ask, we created video’s for Meet Market 2015 that have topics such as ‘Our First Jobs’, ‘VBAT’s Company Culture’ & ‘Portfolio Tips’.

You can find them at our YouTube Channel & Website.

We hope more companies will join us in closing the communication gap between education and the job market, so that fresh graduated talent have a chance at finding their first jobs.

For this reason we are organising a Meet & Greet on the 27th of March, for students who would like to meet us. See you then!

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written by Annet Kloprogge
Creative at VBAT

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