Growing up, Shillington Sydney graduate Darsh Seneviratne always had a creative flair. With a background in photography, he was working in sales for a camera company and decided it was no better time to leap headfirst into the design industry by taking the full-time course at Shillington. He applied for the Shillington half-scholarship in 2019, and won! Check out his amazing video entry here. If you want to follow in Darsh’s illustrious footsteps our 2021 scholarships will be announced soon—sign up to our e-mail list and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to be the first to know!
Darsh: Yeah, it was unreal! I hadn’t won anything since the 1998 Eastwood Police Station Colouring-in competition. Guess design was always in my blood, huh? I had visited the Sydney Shillington campus the previous week and a few of the staff recognised me from my video which was a lovely feeling!
Darsh: The course is going incredible, I’ve learnt a lot more in the past few months than I thought I’d be able to. Sam and Missy really love design, and it translates through to how they teach in class—the environment they create is engaging, exciting and their enthusiasm encourages everyone. I can also feel the design process and mindset that is integral to the course starting to flow into my everyday work and life. The course hasn’t taught me just practical skills, but also honed my own aesthetic approach to products and services I engage with, as well as how I approach my photographic work.
Check out the rest of the interview, featuring Darsh and our 5 other scholarship winners from 2019 here.
The pandemic hit, but Darsh powered through and graduated with a stellar portfolio—he has since landed an amazing role as a Designer with Canva. We caught up with Darsh a few weeks after he started at Canva to talk about his time at Shillington, learning during the pandemic, his creative journey and loads more.
Why Shillington? What made our design course stand out from the rest?
I really liked the appeal of the ‘in-house’ nature of the course, and how the students worked on real briefs.
It was also a lot more fast-paced and industry focused.
Recently you started a new job as Designer for Canva, congrats! How did you land that?
Thank you! I got picked up by a recruiter soon after graduating, and then was made permanent at the start of April.
Can you tell us about what you get up to at Canva? What does a day in the life of a Designer look like there?
It’s a mixed bag of work! One day I can be working on a campaign for a corporate client overseas, the next I could be working closely with the education team.
There’s a lot of room to grow and progess which I’m super excited for.
What were you up to before Shillington? Why did you take the plunge and enrol?
I was working in sales for a camera company, and then quit that and went overseas. I’d always wanted to get into the design industry, so decided to go for it while I was young and had no major commitments. I worked at Rewind Photo Lab in Glebe for nearly two years while I studied and they helped me grow from a technical and leadership point of view.
Before Shillington you were already working in the creative industry, what did the course add to your existing skill set?
It built upon my knowledge of Photoshop with InDesign and Illustrator. I also learnt some Sketch as well which was cool.
What was your biggest challenge during the course? Why?
Shifting from in-person learning to online when the pandemic hit. It was a big change but the college handled it really well in my eyes.
Did you make any meaningful connections with teachers or fellow students during the course?
Absolutely! The Shillington staff are super approachable and so connected in the industry. I’ve started working with my old teacher Karin at Canva, alongside a bunch of ex-students. Big shout out to my teachers Sam, Missy, Karin and Tim; to Ella and the other staff for all their support before, during and after the course; and to all my awesome classmates too!
What was your favourite brief on the course? Tell us your process!
I loved the long form projects we did, such as the museum identity, handmade project and the campaign project. I love working with words so it was fun to work on some copywriting.
Where do you see yourself in 12 months time?
Professionally, at Canva. I really love the work environment and the people there are so intelligent and inviting. Personally, doing the same old. Swimming in the ocean, planting trees in my dad’s yard, hopefully working some kind of four legged friend into my life too.
What would you say to someone who is sceptical about the Shillington course?
Have a long hard think about whether you can see yourself working in the creative industry for a career, and if you decide to do the course then put some time and money aside to really focus on it.
It’s a great launching pad for a new career so make sure you’re willing to take that step.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting at Shillington, what would it be?
Get to know your teachers and fellow students. At the end of the day it’s not just what you know that will open doors.