Matthew Wood thought he had left it too late to gain the qualifications he needed to start a career in design. Having to work full time in order to pay his rent, he decided that attendance based study was not a viable option. Now studying online towards a BA Graphic Design, Matthew has found IDI’s flexible approach enables him to balance his work commitments with full-time study.

“I can generate enough money to pay the bills (and a large chunk of my course fees) whilst completing my course. It’s obviously not been easy balancing the two, but it’s a position that conventional study could not offer me.”

Like many people, Matthew grew up unsure of what he wanted to do. He began a degree in economics before deciding his heart wasn’t in it and started work at a restaurant in Sheffield. Working his way up to manager, he began to think that it was too late to pursue a career that would allow him to involve his creativity. He satisfied his compulsion for design by carving out a position for himself as an in-house creative designer; creating menu layouts, flyers and newsletters for the business. At the back of his mind, Matthew knew he wanted to become a professionally qualified designer,

“I have always had a creative streak that I never really felt I’d made the most of and believed it was something I could potentially try and build a new career on.”

Matthew has the perfect work ethic to succeed, spending up to ten hours at a stretch in a studio space that he created in his attic, but initially, he lacked confidence in his ability. The feedback and recognition he has received from his tutors and peers through IDI-Study, a bespoke online study environment, has given him the support he needed,

“When I began the course, the biggest challenge was believing I was capable of accomplishing the work expected from me; not because of the time commitment, but in terms of having the design acumen and ability. Over time, my confidence as a designer has grown and this is no longer an issue.”

While Matthew was already skilled in design when he started, he feels the course has given him the opportunity to learn more about the industry. He has also picked up a few new tricks along the way,

“I have loved being introduced to new techniques of which I had no previous experience. Block-printing and interactive digital design have been two very different, but hugely enjoyable skills to learn.

The most rewarding thing is to look back at the work I produced at the start of the course, and see how far I have developed as a designer since then.”

Matthew now feels positive about the future. The flexible, supported online model of study offered by IDI has set him on his way to getting a job in the design industry and eventually realising his ultimate goal of setting up his own design company,

“I feel that, having realised what career path I’d most like to follow, I have now really taken control of the course of my working life.”

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