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Hear straight from our graduates.

I’ve done so many courses—a bachelor’s degree, TAFE certificates, and lots of industry-specific courses, and Shillington by far equipped me with the most practical technical skills and knowledge of any of them.

Founder, Studio Kokomo

Claire Grocott

What were you up to before studying at Shillington, why did you decide to take the plunge and study graphic design?

After finishing a Philosophy degree I worked in many different roles across a range of industries—I was a PA at a corporate finance company, an Account Executive at an ad agency, ran a little wedding flower business and even did a stint as an Event Manager at a speed dating company! I’d always wanted to study graphic design but I was never an ‘arty’ kid and didn’t see myself as a creative person. I eventually realised though that I just really love all things graphic design-related, and if I didn’t at least give it a go as a career I would be forever kicking myself. So I took a deep breath, put my big-girl pants on and enrolled in the part-time course at Shillington Sydney.

What advice can you offer to someone who wants to transition careers?

If there’s a little voice in your head nagging you to study design—listen! I was super nervous about retraining, starting from scratch as a grown-up is super anxiety-inducing, but if you’re passionate about design and driven to learn and grow you will have zero regrets. Even if it doesn’t lead to a whole new career, you will have gained some new mad skills!

Shortly after graduating from Shillington, you began freelancing and started your studio—Studio Kokomo! Can you tell us more about that?

The plan was to try to find a part-time, in-house design job after I graduated at the end of 2019, but the pandemic had other ideas. By early 2020 there were no jobs in sight and I was home-schooling two young kids—not ideal conditions for launching into a new career. Luckily, I’d started picking up small freelance jobs for friends and through word-of-mouth while I was at Shillington, and that work continued to come in.

My client base has been growing steadily since then and now I run my little one-woman studio, offering branding and web design, graphic design for branded events and activations, illustration and general bits-and-pieces design services. All with Studio Kokomo’s trademark colour-drenched feel-good vibes, of course.

What would you say to someone who is skeptical about the Shillington course?

I’ve done so many courses—a bachelor’s degree, TAFE certificates, and lots of industry-specific courses, and Shillington by far equipped me with the most practical technical skills and knowledge of any of them. The course is so well structured, you’ll be working in the Adobe suite from day one and building from there—that’s the only way to learn the programs.

Is it like the Matrix where you can lie down and learn design (or kung fu) with your eyes closed? Nope!! It’s hard work, and the more you put into it the more you will get out. But if you knuckle down, you will leave with a gorgeous portfolio and all the skills you need to be able to confidently call yourself a Designer with a capital “D”.

Check out Claire’s website and read her full interview on the blog

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