Students’ artwork is just the job

Release Date: 19 April 2018

When staff at the JobCentre Plus in Dundee’s Wellgate Centre recently had the opportunity to change their reception area a quick lick of paint wasn’t the plan. 

Wellgate Art 21

They wanted it to be welcoming, reflect the local area, highlight Dundee’s changing labour market and, most importantly, engage with local young people. So who better to team up with than Developing the Young Workforce and Dundee and Angus College?

Rachel McEwen, Employer Liaison Advisor with DYW, contacted D&A College’s art course leader Ian Ritchie who came back with some amazing ideas for HND Contemporary Art students to create murals at the entrance to the offices. 

The artwork features Dundee employment and employers past and present in a black and white illustration style. It encompasses a wide range of industry from the traditional jute mills to gaming and the new V&A.

Ian says, “It’s always great to be involved in real projects outside of the studio and it’s really satisfying to see it completed.”

Rachel agrees, “This is a brilliant opportunity that benefits everyone involved. The JobCentre gains a truly local and reflective piece of art which will have an impact on visiting customers and businesses. In addition, the students from D&A College get invaluable industry experience, particularly on working to a client brief, and they have a notable piece of work they can add to their portfolio.”

The project has proved a great success for JobCentre Plus staff. “We have been really excited to work with Developing the Young Workforce, particularly in engaging with the students. They have produced a piece of work that has created a buzz in the office, generating a conversation with customers and staff on the labour market history of Dundee. We know this has encouraged people to feel more welcomed and happy to call into our office to get the support they need. This has provided an opportunity for JobCentre staff to converse with our younger generation in the city. It has also allowed our young people to see the diverse range of services we deliver.”

And the final word goes to one of the students who helped create the artwork. Oryn Redford from Blairgowrie who is studying HND Contemporary Art Practice sums up the experience, “It’s been great fun although a little scary drawing straight on to the wall with no room for error.”