School’s Reading Volunteer

Sheffield Council advertise for Reading and Talking Volunteers to visit Primary and Secondary schools. I’m not sure when the next training session is, they provide training and support material before volunteers start the role. I have filled in the application form and will update when I hear back if I have been accepted. This would provide me with experience in a school but at the same time something I can work around having two children/studying. The role requires between 1/2 to 1 hour each week for between 6 to 10 weeks.

UPDATE: 05/12/2017 – I will be attending a training session on the 18/01/2017.

Professional Skills Test

“You have to pass the professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy before you begin your teacher training. Almost 90% passed both skills tests in 2015/16 – the key to successfully passing is plenty of preparation and practice.” –

I will try the practice test for the Professional Skills Test but I’m not going to take the actual test as it only lasts 3 years and I don’t plan on applying for a PGCE until my children are older.

Although I have a GCSE grade C in Math and English, Math and English is not my strong point. Part of the Professional Skills Test is spelling – which is something I have always struggled with.

UPDATE: Took one of the practice Literacy test this evening, 27/11/2017, and got 70%.

I can’t find an official answer but the pass mark according to this thread on The Student Room website is 63% for the skills test. However, there are another 3 Literacy practice tests and 4 Numeracy ones which I haven’t completed yet.

Pop-Up and Explosion Cards

Looking at a few competition briefs, one that I’m considering is this one: Antalis Brief New Blood Awards 2018, in brief below;

“Create a physical experience for Conqueror that explores and celebrates the possibilities of paper as a physical, tactile, and creative material for design. Create the unexpected and the imaginative, the inspiring and the innovative – but create it using paper, in a way that brings the medium back to the forefront of creative minds.”

I started thinking of creative ways to use paper and create a sense of movement or make it 3D. If this was to be mailed out to Graphic Design Agencies then it would need to be flat, which made me think of pop-up cards and books. Researching brought up variations on this such as:

Directions for an exploding circle book

Paper + Book + Art | 紙 + 著作 + アート | книга + бумага + статья | Papier + Livre + Créations Artistiques | Carta + Libro + Arte | Calendar – Pop-up Poem Book by Éva Somogyi... | accordian-book-tutorial

Also started to think about cut outs, such as laser cutting which can create very detail cut outs. For example;


This sort of techniques give a tactile and “real” feel, something that can’t be replicated with digital technologies.

More here:

I’m going to have a play around making different types of pop-up and explosion cards as a starting point to give me some ideas.

Taking into consideration the following guidelines for postage sizes:

Placement and Portfolio Review

Having spoken to Paul about my portfolio and applying for a placement, I will be looking for a work experience placement. We also discussed the job market and how competitive it is, with some jobs getting over a 100 applications. The requirement for flexibility with the job as in possible short notice overtime. This is a concern for me in regards to childcare issues.

I discussed my concerns that I’m not on the same level as the rest of my cohort, however, Paul has given me confidence that I have other skills which others may not and I should “sell myself” on that basis. We also discussed how some others on my course already have connections within the design world which is something I don’t have. Networking is so important in so many industries, on a positive note I already have my portfolio on Behance, Pinterest and Twitter. I also have an Instagram account, Flickr page and LinkedIn profile.

I have written out a draft email which I will email to Paul to check over.

I have looked at the Graphic Design Agencies which are on my side of Sheffield, I live in Parson Cross so I don’t want to go too far to the other side as not only will I be travelling by bus I also don’t want to be back too late as I have 2 small children (5 and 3).

So far I have come up with the following design agencies, which I will look into further before sending out emails:

Vivid Creative

Ink and Water

The Nu Agency

Field Design

Diva Creative

Leap Design

Volta Creative


Side by Side

Tonik Studio

DS Creative

Insta Design

Mesh Viz

Moors Creative

I have taken a brief look at design competitions from YCN, D & AD and International Society of Typographic Designers but I haven’t looked in detail yet. I would like to pick at least one brief to work upon.

Junior Graphic Design Job Market Sheffield

Before going onto a PGCE I plan to return to work part-time as I have two small children. From what I have read on the internet a PGCE is very intensive and I don’t think it would be right to go straight onto a PGCE with two young children.


Today I have taken a look at the job market today in regards to Graphic Design jobs.

First job that pops up is paying £19k-£21k and 2 years general Graphic Design experience is required and ideally experience with sign-making using a flatbed cutter or CNC router.

A middle weight position with a minimum of 5 years experience paying £20-£25k.

Another employer is wanting a 3+ years experience with a strong web portfolio, no salary mentioned.

Graphic Web Developer, £20k a year but must understand web development.

Graphic Design Assistant paying £18-20k, minimum 1 year of experience required.

Digital Designer/Graphic Designer position, experienced required and knowledge of web development.

My search today did not find any Junior Graphic Design positions full or part-time positions. All the positions above are full-time. What I have learnt is that there is a strong emphasis on web design and development. A Graphic Designer today is not only expected to be able to confidently use InDesign and Illustrator they are required to, at the very least, to be competent basic knowledge of web development – in some cases more than basic knowledge.

Enquiry About Sheffield Hallam PGCE

Having a think about things and I am concerned that a Graphic Design degree would not be considered relevant for a PGCE in Early Years and Primary Education. Should have thought about this sooner but it just hadn’t occurred to me. I have sent an email enquiry to Sheffield Hallam and await a response.

Had this response, so all is good!:

“Dear Ayshea

Thank you for contacting us.

All of the information regarding the PGCE Early Years and Primary Education (3-7) with QTS course can be found here.

There is no specific degree subject requirement for this course. As long as the course you are studying is equivalent to a UK degree grade 2.2 or above, it will be considered.

The entry requirements for this course are typically GCSE grade C in English and mathematics and science, or equivalent. You must already hold the GCSE requirements before applying for the course.

A 2.1 degree or above, or a 2.2 degree plus evidence of wider experience in a UK school or foundation setting.

It is desirable that you have at least 15 days recent foundation stage or primary UK school teaching experience with five of these days as continuous teaching (gained in the two years before your application)

I hope this information has been useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us again if you have any further questions.

Kind regards

Sheffield Hallam University”

Professional Development – Teaching

I was chatting with David, one of the course lecturers, about my Professional Development. I wasn’t really sure where to go with this but he advised that I could research into how to become a teacher and what courses are available. This all sounded good until I re-read the “Module Descriptor” in particular Section 2 and Section 4. Prof dev level 6 – in short my development needs to relate to design, media or photography. Maybe I should see if I could help out in one of the design classes, to help with teaching experience and also tick the box of being related to creative fields? I will investigate Teaching more, even if it does not count towards my professional development.

Might consider entering some design competitions too.

Professional Development Ideas

Although my long term goal is to be a teacher I don’t plan to do this until my children are older. This has got me considering a few options.

I used to be into photography and many years ago I purchased a DSLR but unfortunately this now has a chipped lens. I am considered taking this up again and purchasing a new camera but something more portable like a Panasonic LX100.

In the past I have used my own illustrations in my work and I’m considering maybe expanding my illustration skills, possibly combing with with my photography by using these as a basis for my illustrations.

Previously I have made my own jewellery and I’m a generally crafty person. I ran my own e-commerce website,, selling handmade wedding stationery too.

I am thinking about printing my illustrations and/or photography onto some jewellery then possibly selling this on Etsy/Folksy, eBay or at Craft Fairs. I think Folksy is the UK one? I will be looking into this more.

Although I want to push my creative skills I don’t want to go to far away from what I already know so I’m hoping to combine skills I already have with some new skills.

I have briefly considered getting a Graphic Design placement and/or doing some Charity Graphic Design work. However, I’m not sure this is something I want to pursue at this time.