“It was refreshing to do something I loved whilst also gaining experience that would look great on my CV”
Second Year English and Creative Writing student Victoria Roberts has spent the last few months working within the Engagement and Participation Team at Birmingham Royal Ballet where she was given the task of writing a series of short stories that would be promoted as part of the company’s First Steps programme which introduces younger children to the world of ballet. Victoria’s internship was part of the Professional Skills Module, an optional module open to second year students which allows students to build up key skills and add professional experience to their CVs. I sat down with Victoria and Pearl Chesterman, the Director for Learning at Birmingham Royal Ballet to chat about their experiences of the Professional Skills Module.
Why did you choose the Professional Skills Module?
Victoria: I didn’t have any previous work experience that was especially relevant and I was keen to improve my CV and expand my skill set. The Professional Skills Module seemed like a great way to gain key experience and this role couldn’t be better suited to me as a Creative Writing Student.
What did your role consist of?
Victoria: I’ve been very lucky in that Pearl and the team had a specific task in mind for me when I joined the team which meant that I always had something to focus on. It meant that I was able to effectively structure my time each week and work towards a goal. I was given time to research different ballet stories and eventually develop and write a series of my own short stories which will later go on to be published as part of the company’s First Steps programme.
Pearl: We were keen to design a project for Victoria that would utilise her own personal talents and skills as well as proving an enormous help to us. We didn’t want her time with us to be spent doing photocopying and filing, which of course needs to be done but we were keen to make sure that Victoria found this experience to be a beneficial one.
What have you enjoyed most about the placement?
Victoria: I really enjoyed being able to devote my time to one project rather than changing my focus every week. By spending an extended period of time on this task, I became very passionate about the work I was doing which I hope has reflected itself in the end product.
Has the placement module been beneficial?
Victoria: The placement module has been so beneficial to me, I have been able to gain a sense of working life that simply wouldn’t have been possible without the placement module. I can’t recommend it enough if you are a student that wants to build their confidence, expand their skill set and improve their employability.
Pearl: Having Victoria within the team has been incredibly beneficial to us, it has provided us with a fresh perspective and really helped us to develop the First Steps Programme. As a company, we think that it is incredibly important to give students the chance to experience life within our company, as it can be notoriously difficult to gain work experience within the Arts sector and have been honoured to have been part of this Professional Skills Module.
Can you describe the Professional Skills Module in three words?
Pearl: Creative, rewarding and insightful.
Victoria: Beneficial, enlightening and fun!
Would you recommend the Professional Skills Module?
Victoria: 100%. I have gained so many skills during the my time here that I know will prove invaluable in helping me get future jobs and experience.