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Dream Placement: Stepping out of my Comfort Zone

Dream Placement is a Cumbrian wide work placement project for young people ran by Centre for Leadership performance.

Local music charity Soundwave have been involved in this project, offering an arts based placement since Covid. You can hear about their recent student's experience below.

Heidi's experience on her Dream Placement

I’ve always been interested in creative things. Art, writing, filmmaking but I’d always put them aside as hobbies.

“Being an artist isn’t a job”, is what I’ve always been told, “Science, that’s what we need”. So when my school presented Dream Placement to us, I wasn’t too excited about it.

“Everywhere around here is just science and engineering”, I thought, “but what the heck, it sounds interesting and I can just use it as application and interview practice.”

I’d almost forgotten about it when I got the email to say my application had been successful. A few of my other friends had also gotten through, so we all got to share our excitement, nerves and uncertainties.

The closer the interview event got, the more worried I became. I’m not the most confident person, especially when it comes to talking to complete strangers.

I’d been chosen by 3 different companies to be interviewed; a hotel and spa in the middle of the Lake district, an expensive shop and a music charity. It was quite a mix.

To start the event off, we all sat on big tables in the middle of the room and different employers came and filled in the spaces left.

We introduced ourselves to our table and played some icebreaker games which accidentally started the most polite argument I've ever seen between two of the employers.

We talked a bit about the local area and how well we actually knew what companies are around; issues with living around here etc.

Then we moved onto the interviews themselves. It was presented to us as “speed dating but with someone you might end up working for” and I don’t think I could describe it any better than that.

We had 15 minutes to talk to each person before moving on to the next one. I’d actually been on the table with the Soundwave representative, Emma, so it was quite lucky for me that my first interview was with her.

It was everything I could have hoped for; somewhere that not only supports but encourages young people to pursue creative jobs.

After the event, we just had to wait and see. A few friends had already gotten messages to say they hadn’t gotten a place and I found myself actually worried. After all the events, I did want to do it.

I couldn’t have been more excited when I found out I’d gotten a place with Soundwave. Then we had another zoom meeting so we could talk with the employers again.

I live nearly an hour away from their current base but we managed to organise transport and times. We talked about the placement and my interests.

One of the main selling points is that the placement is tailored to the person so you can get the most out of it.

With my interest in film and video, we managed to arrange a call with someone who does video production for a living.

Before I knew it, it was half term. I would only be coming in for three days for some sessions on a project where young people plan and create a festival.

I got to look around their current space and meet the people working there. It was also my birthday so we went out and got some birthday shortbread for me.

The first day I just sat in on the session and saw the progress the group had already made. Their obvious enthusiasm was a nice introduction to how the work they do here really helps the young people in the community and brings them together.

It made me feel more confident about the days to come.

On the second day we went up to Rosehill theatre. I had a call with Brad Kavanagh, the video man. He told me all about how he got into video and what his job entails.

It was really encouraging for me to see someone else who is so passionate about his work and has managed to make a career out of it.

After that, a workshop had been set up for us by two ladies who are creating a play about growing up in West Cumbria. It got the group to think about their roles in the project and what it’s like for young people in the area.

Then Nicola from Centre for Leadership performance came and recorded an interview where we talked about how it was all going.

The final day was a Hollr podcast with the group talking about what they’re doing with the project. It was an insight into the work Soundwave do behind the scenes to run and produce the work they do.

Doing Dream Placement was definitely worth it. It opened my eyes to the fact you can do something creative as a job and even do those jobs while staying in Cumbria.

It helped build my confidence by stepping out of my comfort zone, meeting new people and going to new places.

It also showed me so many other things in the local area I had never even heard about. The whole process has made me more excited about the future and what I can actually do.

To learn more about Dream Placement or to register your interest click here

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