Graduate Academy helps boost business idea

The GO Wales Graduate Academy is an excellent opportunity to improve your future employability, make new contacts and develop your business skills, as Textile graduate Lorraine Hancock found out when she took part.

Why did you take part in the Graduate Academy?

‘Before I started the Graduate Academy I was still in the same part time employment I had whilst completing my Textile degree course. I yearned to utilise my creative skills within a profession and the Academy was the perfect opportunity to enhance my personal development. Not only would I gain a qualification for my CV, but also valuable experience I could apply to my interests.’

Do you feel it was worth taking part in the course? Why?

‘The part-time Academy was fantastic as I could study around my part time job and placement. As I was learning new skills in the fortnightly sessions I could then immediately put them into practice in the work place. I could also apply this knowledge to good business practice, in particular the customer relations unit that became a foundation for my own business: UniquelyFrom.com.’

Where did you do your work experience whilst at the Graduate Academy?

‘For my Graduate Academy placement I approached Insole Court; a Victorian mansion which is run as a community hall by Cardiff Council. They also hold weddings and various functions there that complimented my proposed business at the time. I have been able to continue working at Insole Court, which exercises my Graduate Academy skills in leadership and also connects me with the current weddings market.’

You have started your own textile business, how does this fit into your career plan?

UniquelyFrom.com specialises in custom laser cut accessories for businesses and events such as weddings. I create personalised products for a variety of clients including Welsh language greetings cards, business branded gift boxes, booklet covers, bespoke table decorations and even wall clocks that have featured in Vogue magazine. Whilst I had the design skills, going on the Graduate Academy cemented some core business practices that I now use to develop this growing venture.’

What do you plan to do next?

‘I work towards expanding my business, gaining more exposure and larger contracts. I will continue to develop and update my knowledge gained on the Graduate Academy as this will ensure success in the future.’