ESCAL Volunteering

The training session was yesterday and now I have to wait for my DBS check to come through. There is a school local to me that needs volunteers so I have asked to be placed with them. The volunteering sessions will involve helping a child read a book but also playing games to make reading fun. This will provide me with some school experience which will be useful for my eventual application for a PGCE.

Working Mothers

Having come on this course I have realised how hard it is to balance “working” and looking after two young children. Everything I have ever read or heard about a PGCE is that it is much more intense than a degree. This has made me revaluate the practicalities of studying for a PGCE. It is looking more likely that I will wait for the children to be much older before embarking on it. The practicalities of looking after a house, children and working is a lot to juggle. Either selling items on Etsy like I have been doing or working a non-teaching part-time job may be more practical for now.

However, this has got me thinking about childcare. I pay £41.30 for 9 hours on top of the 15 hours Elijah gets free whilst I’ve been attending college. If I was working 16 hours or more Elijah would get 30 hours free, however these free hours are for term-time only.

It’s approx. £4.59 an hour for childcare for my youngest, add on the costs of travel plus the cost of childcare for my oldest I would be losing money during the school holidays. Childcare is not cheap, according to a report by the OECD the UK has the highest childcare costs in the world.

However, the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42966047) state this is based on a “a relatively well-off couple” in the UK and does not apply to all demographics.

“In this example – which the claim is based on – we’re looking at a relatively well-off couple.

Parents on lower incomes in England may be eligible for additional support, which will reduce their childcare costs….

…Under the childcare element of universal credit, parents in the UK can receive up to 85% of childcare costs….

…Since September, most working parents in England have been entitled to receive 30 hours of free childcare a week for three and four-year-olds.

The Department for Education says that 202,783 children in England benefited from the policy and that families could save £5,000 per year on childcare costs.”

However, many parents like me are trapped in the middle my partner earns too much to receive help with childcare costs but not enough to be able to afford childcare during the school holidays.

The other issue is that many hours I see advertised are under 16 hours, thus making me not eligible for the 30 hours free. But I still have to get to work and back, which could add a couple of hours onto the childcare care I need. If it was 15 hours over 5 days, with an hour there and back I would need 25 hours of childcare.

A job like this, below, makes more sense for me because I can work without needing childcare as long as my husband keeps working flexible hours.

“Job Title      Cleaning Operative
Hours           15 hours per week x 52 weeks per year
Salary          £7.50 per hour

Sparks Managed Services are looking to recruit a Cleaning Operative to work as part of a team to provide cleaning of accommodation at Hillsborough Campus, Livesey Street, Sheffield S6 2 ET

The working pattern is 5.30am to 8.30am Monday to Friday

Duties will include vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, polishing, emptying bins, toilet cleaning and using appropriate cleaning equipment and chemicals.

Previous cleaning experience is preferred but not essential.

Attention to detail and a flexible approach to work will be required.

The successful candidates will be required to undertake an enhanced DBS check

Childcare, Flexibility and Low Wages

The issues that I face are ones that many women facing when they are working mothers or wanting to be working mothers.

“The report said a woman with a partner and two children who works fewer than 16 hours a week and earns the government’s “national living wage” of £7.50 an hour would see her childcare costs overwhelm her earnings, leading to a net loss.” – https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/22/women-life-behind-counter-hard-especially-mothers-retail-bhs

 

““It is often thought that women stay at home because they ‘want to’, but the reality seems to be that they often do not have a choice, or indeed that going back would make them financially worse off,” Hupkau explained.” – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/aug/06/second-child-career

 

“Thousands of well-educated, professional women are forced to accept low-paid jobs beneath their skill level in order to work flexibly after having children.” – https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/career-choke-forces-educated-mothers-into-low-paid-jobs-d52wkrg0sp7

 

“After their first child, 60 per cent of women with a child aged up to four were in work. This increased to 75 per cent for women with a child aged between five and 10 and 80 per cent when the child is older.

But the statistics dropped dramatically after a second child arrived.” –

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3727811/Having-second-baby-forces-women-poverty-Childcare-costs-mothers-low-paid-jobs-work-look-children-instead.html

 

“On the basis of this analysis, it can be seen that significant numbers of the women surveyed, who are working in low-paid, part-time jobs, are working ‘below their potential’. These are women who are working in jobs that do not use their full range of qualifications, experience and skills. This is unused potential that has been developed previously through labour market experience, or as a result of training and education.” – http://www.sociology.leeds.ac.uk/assets/files/research/circle/wbp-synthesis.pdf

Mothers taking low paid part-time work because the hours suit their childcare needs is common. Mothers quitting work completely because of childcare costs, especially after having a second child is not unusual. Finding a job that is worth working is not easy unless you want to consider unsociable hours, evenings and weekends. Understanding many mothers don’t want to work these sorts of hours because it the only time they get with their partner and only time they get a break. Or even the only time they get to catch up on the house work – once the kids have gone to bed.

UPDATE 14/03/2018

My husband has changed jobs and is now leaving the house at 8.00 a.m. and coming home at 6.30 p.m. thus making working mornings or evenings difficult for more. This is also putting pressure on me as I have less time in the evenings to complete my degree. Working around someone else is something I suspect I lot of Dads don’t have to do. From the mothers I know, it is often them who have to consider working around their partners hours not the other way round. Which of course limits a lot of mother’s choices. My own choices are feeling pretty limited right now but as the children get older it will get easier for me.

Another Sale on Etsy

Managed to sell another card on Etsy, really pleased especially as I have not promoted my Etsy shop at all. The advice given for Esty is promote your shop as you will struggle to get sales otherwise.

I think once this course is over I will get more time to promote my Etsy shop via Instagram, Facebook, etc. Having not being sure what to do for Prof Dev, I now feel that going back to working for myself is the best route until the kids are older at which point I will do a PGCE (assuming I get a 2.1 from this degree).

I’m part of a group of Facebook called Crafty Business Sheffield, here are what some of the members have said about selling on Etsy:

I use Etsy and I like it. There’s a really good Etsy sellers community in Sheffield who have started doing Etsy Made Local fairs and such, which have been really popular. You do have to do a lot of social media marketing to get sales, and that takes a long time to build up, but it’s the same with any platform you use. I’m thinking of trying Folksy this year, too.”

“I have an etsy shop and went a few months before I sold anything. You do have to market it yourself but I’m also getting traffic through etsy search results and I’ve started having more online sales since doing fares and making people know about me that way. There is lots you can do to optimise your etsy and google search results, there’s lots of advice out there and help in the etsy guidebook on their website.”

“It depends what you are selling. Set up is free and listings are inexpensive, but very few make much money on there. Where Etsy failed for me is in the promotion. You sped so much time promoting it is ridiculous.”

This comment was posted in January;

Not too bad to set up, but you need to drive traffic to your shop. As yet I haven’t sold anything been on since October. Still trying.”

The group has been really useful for networking and receiving advice. It’s been a good way to connect with other businesses/local crafters.

UPDATE: 10/02/2018

Sold another two cards.

Siege Magazine

Received this response from Siege Magazine about submissions.

“Jelly Ayshea,

Really sorry but we couldn’t fit you in the magazine this time round.

Keep your eyes on our insta for more updates and more opportunities regards forthcoming compendiums

Sorry again,
And all the best,

SIEGE”

Having seen their first publications it has a more art slant than design slant. Not sure my work fits in with what they are looking for.

The Grown Up Chocolate Company – YCN Brief

Was thinking along the lines of coming up with a Phrase to represent the new ranges, see quote below, of “dairy free”,”nut free” and “vegan”.

I like the idea of the slogan to represent each and then work on a visual/typography to match that. So far I have two slogans “nut to be”, “no moo for you” and not sure on the third for vegan. Struggling with that a bit, not sure if I can get a workable idea. Might need to move onto something else.

The Creative Challenge

We want you to design a tempting new identity for our new range. Please note, the range is currently in development, so we do not have recipes or variations finalised, but we’re keen to prepare the business for its launch next year.
As well as coming up with a name for the range, we want to see how your new identity will be executed as:

Packaging — create artwork that shows how the new identity will look on our packs (see the Project Pack for cutter guides)

A landing page for the new ‘free from’ range on our online store

Key visuals — these are icons for the range that appear on pack, in print and online. Each emphasises a different message about the product (see Project Pack for current examples). For the ‘free from’ range, we need three key visuals which communicate that the products are ‘dairy free’, ‘nut free’ and ‘vegan’.

As the recipes for these bars have not yet been finalised, we do not expect a fully formed idea, rather an example of how you would incorporate your name and identity for the range onto these different touchpoints. If you’d prefer, feel free to make up bars (EG. Naughty But Nice Nutty Nougat) for this challenge!”

Notes/Sketches

Brand/Brand Competitor Research

I looked at several other brands of vegan/dairy free, luxury/adult brands, etc.

http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/food-drink/snacks/chocolate-cakes-biscuits/chocolate/dairy-free-chocolate/

http://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/shop/collections/dietary/chocolate-without-dairy/

https://www.plamilfoods.co.uk/chocolate

http://www.nutfreechocolatepeople.com/

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramelised Almonds, , hi-res
Dairy Free
Organic Fairtrade Alternative to Milk Chocolate Hearts
Dairy Free
The All Dark Vegan Chocolate Hamper Collection, , hi-res
Vegan Hamper
Vegan, Nut Free

Superb Salted Caramel Truffles

Chocolate Selection Tray

Chocolate Caramel Pumpkin Preorder

Heavenly Whole Hazelnut Cups

Graphic Design Placement

Not sure how to start this but here goes. I suffer from Depression and Anxiety and although I manage my Depression my Anxiety does bite me in the arse sometimes. I no longer drive because I’ve developed an anxiety over it. Sometimes it holds me back in life, sadly it’s something I have to deal with and sometimes I manage OK but other things stress me out/build my anxiety up to the point where I struggle to sleep/get tense/can’t switch off.

Anyway, for this to make sense I will start at way back in 2003. I graduated from college with a HND in Graphic Design. And I duly set about trying to get a job or at the very least a work placement. But every time I got knocked back, I guess I went to at least 40 interviews. Not sure how many I applied for, maybe hundreds? Too long ago to remember. The first few times I didn’t get the job I brushed myself off and applied for the next. But I think there is only so many times you can do that before you start to feel down. Basically, every “sorry you didn’t get the job” is a you’re not good enough and after a point it really gets to you.

The last interview I had for a Graphic Design job was just one too many. One too many no’s, and it sent me into a Depression. To be fair I have suffered with Depression/Anxiety since I was about 13 so it’s not like I was “normal”, don’t like that word but not sure what else to use. Hopefully you understand what I mean in that I wasn’t starting from a balanced point of view and it is likely my pre-existing problems contributed to the Depressive episode. After a few weeks of feeling like shit, feeling worthless, not good-enough, stupid – I felt like an idiot for even applying I should have known I wouldn’t get the job so why did I apply?

I then came to the realisation that I needed to draw a line in the sand. I binned my portfolio and deleted all my college work from my Hard Drive. I decided to forget about Graphic Design. Later I decided I wanted to be a Teacher but I was struggling to find a course. I only had 2 years of funding left and so I couldn’t afford to do a full degree – I would need to pay a year’s worth of course fees out of my own pocket. Money I simply didn’t have. I need a degree to do a PGCE but I knew I didn’t want to top-up my HND, I didn’t want to go back to Graphic Design – I wanted to go forward. But after looking at the other options it was the only way, so I applied at The Sheffield College.

I needed to refresh my skills big time. It was Freehand and QuarkXpress not Illustrator and InDesign when I was at college. Plus I knew it wasn’t just the software I needed to brush up it was my design skills too. I was rusty as hell, so I embarked on creating a new portfolio. It reminded me just how much I enjoyed Graphic Design, but I kept telling myself to not get too into it. I didn’t want to start getting ideas about being a Graphic Designer again.

Unfortunately, that it was happened plus going on a placement would look good for my Professional Development. Or at least trying would to get a placement would. But then the anxiety kicked in, I didn’t realise at first and it wasn’t long before I was struggling to sleep. I had written a placement request email, I had looked up nearby Graphic Design companies – I wanted something not too far from home for childcare reasons. But then I just couldn’t send the email. I even got as far a draft email with all the email addresses on ready to send but I just couldn’t do it. All the feelings of failure kicked in again. All I could think is what is the point? Ok yeah if I try it would look good for Professional Development but bad for me mentally when I get a load of no’s again. Why put myself through that? Why make myself feel bad again. In the end I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t face the rejection again. I appreciate this looks bad for my Professional Development but my mental health comes first. I may enjoy Graphic Design but I’m not a Graphic Designer.