My name is Kacey, and I am the SALC’s Lead Employability Champion! I am now in my second year as a champion, as I was the Heritage Industries champion last year. This amazing programme allows students to delve deeper into different worlds. I will share how the past two years have helped me grow my professional skills and what I have learnt about myself because of this program.

How did you get involved as an Employability Champion?

I should start right at the beginning of my time as an Employability Champion. Last year, I saw an opportunity in my email advertising for a group of Employability Champions. I remember being interested in the Heritage Industries role, as I had just finished two volunteering placements in a gallery and a museum, both held within heritage homes. I remember thinking this would be perfect, but I had no high hopes of landing the role. However, when I got the confirmation that I was the new Heritage Industries Employability Champion, I was thrilled. After a few meetings and some training sessions, I was free to explore the world of Heritage Industries and create content for other students from my student perspective.

Last year, I was fortunate to conduct interview after interview and run panels with industry professionals. This was for other students interested in the industry, but the special thing about my role was that I could pursue my interests. All I wanted to know was how to get into this mysterious industry, what I needed to do, and who I needed to speak to, and I was so happy to pass that on to other students. When that year ended, I was sad to let go of the role I had become so comfortable with. That is why this year, I am the Lead Employability Champion. I wanted to stay on board however possible to help other champions take advantage of what this role has to offer.

What did you do as a Champion?

I am a 2nd year Art History and English Literature student and Communications Officer for the Art Business Society. From that title alone, it’s unsurprising that I am interested in heritage. I would say, though, that my role as an Employability Champion was most helpful when applying for the multiple opportunities available to art history students at the university. I applied for two internships. One was at the Tabley House Collection in Knutsford, and the other was at Castlefield Gallery as a curatorial intern.

Kacey and the team at work.

Kacey and the Castlefield Gallery team at work, looking at an archived book on a table.

The skills I gained from being an Employability Champion by creating student-targeted content helped in my application for the Tabley House Collection. This internship pushes the interns to create social media content based on intern-led research at the collection. I managed to get a role on the material cultures team and attribute that to the skills I developed as the Heritage Industries Champion. I also managed to land the role at Castlefield Gallery as a curatorial intern. During my placement, I’ve been able to experience what it means to work in a gallery and what it is like to work directly with artists. From my experience as a champion, I already felt comfortable working and speaking with industry professionals. The confidence the role gave me was essential when beginning at Castlefield.

My time as an Employability Champion has helped me develop my skills, and it allowed me to make a strong foundation for interviews and applications for internship roles. However, it is not all about me. I’ve enjoyed speaking to industry professionals, the university’s career service, and the students. Employment and employability are big words and carry so much weight, especially for students unsure of their future. Working with many people from many backgrounds allowed me to share information on a mysterious industry, giving SALC students another option to bear in mind. Understanding that so many options helped me figure out what I want to do, and I hope sharing those options has also helped other students.