Talking Tables partners with Access Aspiration which connects London pupils with businesses across London to provide them with experiences that will give them visibility of the world of work and also links to businesses. Part of the Mayor’s Fund for London, it recognises that not all teens have access to the social networks that are so often the route to a work experience placement, for example. Work experience can be invaluable for students and has a big impact on success in moving into employment. Last month we welcomed two students to a one week work place. Here is Temi Olawunmi’s story of her week.
My second ever work experience here at Talking Tables has been fantastic, exposing me to a wide range of professions within the area of production in business. From product designing, to design approval, to creating physical mock ups of each design all the way to marketing these products. I have managed to build an informal relationship with several talented workers here, which was advised to be really important when I started.
A rundown on my week at Talking Tables…
On Monday, I was introduced to members of the product design team, which is a department I have developed major interest in these past few days. I met Helen in the product design team, who is a pro at working with Adobe Illustrator. Helen guided me on how to make a mood board which is the first step considered before creating a product. It deals with the theme of the product, the colour and the materials that will be used in making the product. I created an African-themed mood board and named it Africanism; it was inspired by my sketchbook theme that I am currently developing in sixth form.
Towards the end of the day, I worked with Miriam to prepare for a product photoshoot the next day. Working closely with the different products helped me become aware of how wide the variety of goods at Talking Tables is, there is something for absolutely everyone and I have come to learn how important that is for a business to progress. I also learnt that it is essential to create products that are in trend and in season because it is important to respond to the people’s demands.
On Wednesday, I basically worked independently as a member of the product design team. I put together a series of African patterns and made an illustration of an African girl to put on the products. My aim was to create something I did not see growing up. It was nice to create something from my own imagination, with the hopes of my designs being considered as one of the ones from the ‘product design’ team. This helped me develop my independence skill, my creativity and even my ability to work professionally.
I also sat in on a meeting with the marketing team at Talking Tables, although it was out of my comfort zone, it was very nice to be a part of something I would not usually be interested in - I would say being able to do this is a core skill to have in order to deal with real life.
Additionally, working here has helped me develop my people skills, as I have met a lot people whom I did not know before now. According to the majority of the wonderful people I have met this week, it is enjoyable to work at a job where your work is different everyday and sometimes you don’t even know what to expect, so you never get bored with your job and you’re agile to work to the best of your abilities.
On Thursday, Helen and Abigail taught me how to use Adobe Illustrator to create digital mock ups of products with my designs on. I really enjoyed watching my designs gain more relevance and beauty when I put them on products, then Helen helped me print them all to size in order to create physical mock-ups of what I had created. We created these mock ups by folding and cutting, using carving knives and scissors. We created a paper plate and its packaging, party cups, paper napkins, a paper tablecloth and a cushion. It felt really good seeing my work come to life on some level, I felt a sense of accomplishment.
On the last day of my work experience, Friday, I am writing this blogpost to talk about my amazing work experience here at Talking Tables.
Overall, I really enjoyed this work experience and I am really glad that I spent a whole week here, gaining professional knowledge and experiencing life in a more professional manner. I really appreciate everyone who took their time to add to my knowledge and skills here at Talking Tables.
Our designer Abbie worked with Temi during her placement. She says: “Temi was a fabulous addition to the design studio during her week of work experience and a pleasure to work with. She’s a very skilled artist and the work she produced was wonderful. From initial concept and mood board, through to product mock ups, her work was well thought out and beautifully designed. She was eager to learn how we work and asked lots of question about our various design processes. It was lovely to see how passionate she was about design and to watch her confidence grow through the week.”