by Author nicbriggs

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Making the best out of training opportunities by Michaela Riviere (Youth Assistant Project Coordinator on Quench Arts’ Plugin project)

As I graduated university with a degree in Media and Performance last year, I began to question what my options were moving forward and starting a career. I have always considered myself as a ‘people person’ so I decided to look into community-based organisations.

My first (and current) role was working with children and young people in performing arts as a singing teacher and drama/dance assistant, and during this time I was a full-time carer for my late grandmother. These job roles sparked the idea of seeking something that combines the two, which was when I discovered the Plugin project opportunities. Plugin is a newly launched music-making project run by Quench Arts which uses music technology to engage young people creatively in (primarily) mental health inpatient settings. I’m lucky to be working as a Young Assistant Project Coordinator on the project and this 3-year role offers training that will hopefully lead me into arts management.

So far I’ve had NSPCC Child Protection training and have completed the nationally recognised 2 day Youth Mental Health First Aid course, developing transferable skills and knowledge which I can use not only for the Plugin project, but also at my other job role in performing arts. Now when I’m at work, I am more diligent towards signs or symptoms that may be concerning for safeguarding purposes and am more confident in supporting the mental well-being of participants. The training that I have received in less than 6 months is far greater than any expectations I had as a graduate.

Since joining Quench Arts, I have also been trained as a Bronze/Silver Arts Award Advisor and even improved my skills in music technology on Garageband, etc, using iPads, so that I can be informed about the apps and software that Plugin musicians are using in their settings when I go to visit and support sessions.

If someone were to ask me, ‘what are your aspirations for the future?’ when I graduated in 2018, I would have most likely been lost for words. However, since looking at how I can make the best out of opportunities and training, I can now say that I would like a career very much similar to what I already do on the Plugin project. I would love to work with young people in mental health settings to encourage creativity in arts and media.

Next month I will be starting a new role, in addition to my role at Quench Arts, as a Specialist Support Worker to encourage independence. I’m looking forward to seeing what experience I will obtain from this role and how I can include my prior training to support others. In summary, I’d say that I’ve been able to make the best out of training opportunities by taking that jump and having a go at putting what I’ve learnt into practice and by reflecting and continuing to learn from these experiences.