How industry ready am I? Having just started my first year at Ravensbourne studying Fashion Promotion, I think it would be unfair to expect me to be ‘industry ready’, as isn’t this the reason I applied to university? If I felt I already had the necessary tools required to bag a career in the tumultuous world of fashion, wouldn’t I have perhaps skipped spending the £9000 a year and just went for it? Of course I would, however as I am nowhere near “industry ready” this is not an option for me. Nonetheless, after being prompted by my tutors I have realised it is an important to question to ask, as it allows me to realise the skills that I want to amass from the course, and hopefully in the long run, making that £9000 worth every penny.
First of all I’d like to reflect on some of the few skills I already have. Primarily I feel I have a good basis for drawing and illustration, thanks to my heavily ‘art-focused’ school career, which included the completion of countless observational studies and even a few life drawing sessions, especially in my Art Foundation year. However, I didn’t get to explore much of the ‘fashion illustration’ side to art, which is definitely an aspect which I would love to experience in the next few years during my Fashion Promotion course. On the technological side of experience, I also feel I have a good basis for performing basic tasks on Adobe Photoshop, which is an essential skill to have when working in the creative industries. I was taught at a fairly young age by my father, who became more than a little sick of countlessly explaining how the ‘layers’ within photoshop worked to me. That being said, I am definitely not confident in some of the more advanced photoshop techniques, which I have happened to not have needed to know so far. Therefore I would love to continue advancing in Photoshop and begin learning how to create within other Adobe programs such as Indesign and Premiere.
However do these skills make me hireable to a company? Probably not. Sure, they are necessary skills, but it is likely every other student will have similar skill sets when leaving university. Therefore I need to look into what companies are looking for in prospective employees. According to Forbes, the most in demand technical skill for 2017 is Big Data. A term which applies to the tracing of patterns and trends within extremely large data sets… sounds exciting doesn’t it… However if we look into this, it makes a lot of sense, as it is more important than ever before to understand our consumer habits whilst working on marketing strategies for companies and brands. Also, more specifically to me personally, this skill is vital in the world of fashion, where brands are desperately trying to predict buying habits and repeatedly forecasting next season trends. Therefore this is definitely a skill to consider becoming familiar with within the next few years.
When I (hopefully) graduate from University, it will be the year 2020. In the few years between now and then, a lot more may change than it will currently seem, specifically for jobs in the creative industry. Already 3D printing technology has come into usage these past few years with most universities owning one and encouraging their students to produce work from them, however the majority of the fashion market still uses traditional methods when manufacturing garments. Pioneers in this field such as Iris Van Herpen, have discovered the benefits of using 3D printing within their work, as the technology allows for complete creative freedom. Perhaps by 2020 3D printing will come into even more prominence within the fashion industry, perhaps decreasing the need for specifically trained highly skilled workers. There will certainly be less hand rendering within fashion and more computer generated designing. Within the fashion magazine sector, pressure will be put on physical magazines sold in store, as sales will decrease due to a push towards online publications, with perhaps some magazine brands deciding to ditch their traditional form of print altogether. The effect this will have on careers is unpredictable, however it does make me consider the difference in fashion graphics for print and fashion graphics for online material, and how some industry professionals won’t know how to adjust their current methodology to screen-based graphics. Perhaps in a fraction more than three years there may even be careers in the creative industries that don’t even currently exist. For example, becoming a fashion blogger as a full-time job has only come into existence within the past few years, who can predict what might come next?
Finally, to predict how ‘industry-ready” I am I have decided to complete a personal SWOT analysis, which will hopefully allow me to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses, and what I need to work on:
Evaluating this, I have found it has been extremely helpful acknowledging what I need to work on to increase my chances of taking the career path I would prefer after graduating from university. The personal SWOT analysis has specifically made me realise the types of skills and opportunities I should deliberately be seeking out to improve myself and my employability readiness. I hope that this will prepare me to be as employable as possible for when I graduate. So the answer to my question, “how industry ready am I?”, is…not very, but thats okay as I’ve got until the year 2020 to prepare! Also if anyone reading this could guarantee me a job in three years, that would really help me out! Cheers!
What are your strengths and weaknesses? What skills do you want to work on to improve your employability chances? Let me know in the comments below!