The theme of this week is orientated around employability. I have spoken with other students of the course and listened to students in seminars and it seems that many already have very defined career ambitions and areas they want to explore. In all honesty, I am still very undecided about my career ambitions; I know that I want to create games or work within a team to create games and realise various concepts, hence why I enrolled on the course, but I am as yet unsure as to how this connects with my ambitions.
I largely put this down to the fact that I am still very new to game development and I have not yet had the opportunity to fully explore it, although I believe I will in subsequent units. When I have had more of an opportunity to explore game development, I will have more of an understanding of which areas most interest me and what sort of roles I should be looking at that would tie into this. I am by no means using this as justification for procrastinating or putting off thinking about my future, but I want to use my time to ensure that I consider as many areas as possible before reaching a decision. During my undergraduate degree, I made the mistake of hurrying into Character Animation and I do not feel I fully explored other areas in any depth and as a result, I left university ill equipped to develop a career path in this area. I am therefore hesitant about reaching any particular decisions about my career ambitions without having thoroughly explored each area in detail.
Through the two rapid ideation sessions, it has reaffirmed that I am more interested in designing and the artistic aspects of game development as opposed to the programming. The second rapid ideation session also made me realise how much I missed 3d graphics and how I want to develop this further.
At present, I work as a graphic designer and if you look on my website, I very much present myself as a graphic designer. On my Instagram, it is more open ended and I have included more of my illustration and fine art. While graphic design is my main source of employment, I have made a concerted effort to show that I am multidisciplinary and I have included several other creative skills including animation, video editing, web design and even some basic game design. I am particularly interested in making games on a freelance basis at the moment, but as yet, I am unsure whether I will specialise fully in game design after this course or if game design will became another part of the creative services I offer.
For this week’s challenge, I have signed up to RealWORKS, which is the internal university service for employability. I have had a look through and there is a huge amount of activities to go through and I am going to need to find a way to prioritise each of these. It is very unlikely that I will be able to finish all of the activities or even half of the activities, but I will do as many as I can. I will also publish the results as and when I do them. I am hoping that through doing these, I will possibly start to develop more of an understanding of possible career paths.
The deadline for the video that makes up 80% of this mark is also coming close so I need to eventually shift my focus to preparing for this and reflecting over the previous 11 weeks.
To get started with this, I filled in an Employability assessment (RealWORKS Employability Assessment, 2021), which indicates how much of a grasp that I have over the main factors that affect my employability. These factors are as follows:
CVs & Applications
Interviews & Offers
Preparing for Work
The assessment was broken into several sections, based on the above factors. Each section consisted of a statement that I had to rank myself on a scale from Not at all Confident to Very Confident. Here are my results:
You can also view the entire report by clicking here.
As indicated, my average score for employability is low and each of the sections here either has a midrange score or low score. None are high, which indicates that my employability is low.
I can relate to this as while I do have a job as a graphic designer, it has taken me numerous years to get to this point. For at least four years after completing my undergraduate degree, I struggled very badly to attain employment, not just in my chosen industry, but any form of employment. I remember becoming very demoralised by having constant interviews, yet repeatedly being rejected. I did attempt to go full time freelance on a few occasions but I could never sustain this, largely due to the factors listed in this employability report, but also particulalry because I had the skills but did not know how to sell them.
A key factor for my lack of employability is because I am autistic. I am one of only 23.7% of autistic adults in Britain that is that has any form of employment (Putz, Sparkes and Foubert, 2021). It is estimated that in Britain 53% of disabled people are in employment, but autistic people have the lowest rate of employment among all disabled people.
Due to being autistic, I can struggle to read body language, I struggle with short term memory and I can sometimes have trouble articulating myself. This could have impacted how I performed in job interviews in the past. I was not diagnosed as autistic until I was 26 years old, which meant that I felt unable to ask for additional support with employability during my undergraduate degree and when I went for interviews, I had not developed the mechanisms to cope within an interview situation or present myself or my skills.
However, the difference now is that I now have the autism diagnosis so that I can receive the practical support in order for me to support myself. I also feel confident that I can ask prospective employers to make reasonable adjustments to accomodate my condition, so that I can perform to my best ability. From this, I realise that I will benefit from reaching out to both the Accessibility team and also the Employability team for seeking direction when furthering in my career.
In the mean time, RealWorks has provided me with an ‘Employability Award’, which has a set of programmes which cover each of the employability factors one-by-one. I intend to do these activities and document what I learnt from them and what skills and knowledge I developed.
I will round off this post by saying that this weekend, I will be participating in a game jam called Ludum Dare, with some other students. We will be making a game together according to the theme which is still to be confirmed. I am excited about it and I believe it will be beneifical to finally have the opportunity to work within a team, learn new skills and also to put the skills that I already have to the test. I will be sure to document my progress as well as what I learn and I will try to think about how this will link to possible career paths.
Putz, C., Sparkes, I. and Foubert, J., 2021. Outcomes for disabled people in the UK – Office for National Statistics. [online] Ons.gov.uk. Available at: <https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/disability/articles/outcomesfordisabledpeopleintheuk/2020> [Accessed 22 April 2021].
2021. RealWORKS Employability Assessment. Falmouth University RealWORKS.