The second half of the Ladders course was focused on the students coming up with and starting to create their final project. Weeks five to seven were spent discussing ideas, getting a better grip on various software packages that would be needed to produce the final project and filming and editing together footage to create each of the student’s final films. Everyone went through why they wanted to make the project that they did and how working on this project could potentially help them to further their career (or, in the case of some students who just wanted to be filmmakers as a hobby, where they would show their films and what they hoped to get out of taking part)!

The Ladders course concluded by uniting all three strands of the programme together for a showcase and pizza party. Jen from This is Creative Enterprise began the night by delivering a speech to the students, noting that the work presented on the night didn’t have to be the finished project and might well be a starting point for ideas in the future.

Our Film/TV/Animation group were first up, introduced by Chloe who gave everyone an overview of what our students had managed to get up to over the course of the eight weeks. Hearing Chloe run through all the speeches, meetings, behind-the-scenes tours and workshops that our students have had the opportunity to access over the past two months really brought home just how fantastic an opportunity the Ladders course is for under 25s who want to build their careers within the creative industries. Chloe also went over some of the software skills that the group had learned during Ladders including Audition, After Effects and Premiere Pro.

Once the other groups had heard about what our students had been up to for the last eight weeks, the Film/TV/Animation group screened their projects and then answered a few questions about how they came to the decision about their final showcase work. Andrew was up first, and had created a short film featuring himself reading a poem that he had written. He told everyone about how he was interested in the way that poems sound as well as just how they look on the page, and thought that maybe poetry videos would be an accessible way for people to get into poetry without having to attend events or understand the theory behind the poems. His poem was about a female yeti, as he said that he didn’t think there were enough female protagonists in poetry and literature so wanted to write a strong one himself. Andrew also mentioned that he now felt he had the skills necessary to go on making these videos and hopefully circulating his poetry to a wider audience online.

Paul was next up, and he had created a short-animated ident to be used on YouTube videos for a music and recording studio. Paul had already studied animation at University so his skills were quite developed, but he talked about how the Ladders course gave him the opportunity to network with potential clients and collaborators and mentioned that his product had given him more of an insight into branding and communicating ideas to clients as his past work had mostly been self-directed short films.

Finally, Lewis presented his campaign video for his web series, Accessed, which will tackle topics related to disability and highlight the issues that matter most to disabled people and their families. Lewis had created the fundraising video as his final project for the course with the hopes of raising money to produce the web series and enable him to continue working in film. You can read more about Lewis’s project here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Accessed

The Software Development students were next up, and Phil Jeffes, the mentor for the group, went over the various visits and talks they had been privileged to experience over the past eight weeks. Amongst others, the Software group visited Sage and Campus North and had the opportunity to talk to industry professionals about what it is like to work in software. The group, Anthony, Lauren, David, Alex, Debbie and Emily, had a really diverse range of final projects to showcase, including indie games, websites, interactive CVs and building avatars which could be programmed into virtual worlds. It was brilliant to see how, even in such a short period of time, the group had managed to make an excellent start on some really promising projects and learn new skills which will undoubtedly be of use to them in their future careers.

Finally, Sam Burt, mentor for the Music strand of Ladders, introduced the Music students and what they had learned over the course. He told everyone that the Music strand had focused on learning all the different roles involved in the music industry to get an overview of the industry more generally, from composers to managers to actual recording musicians. The Music group included two live performances, one from Ben who played guitar and sang a folk-inspired love song, and another from James who played guitar with Rebecca providing his vocals. Rebecca’s own project was an a cappella song, Control; she talked about how she had only recently built up the confidence to be able to showcase her talent so it was fantastic to see her put together such an accomplished final piece. Finn had recorded a rap track with his own vocals, and James, who is also in a band called Bitter Sweet Hearts, who had recorded a solo song he had written.

The evening ended with the groups getting the opportunity to speak to each other and their mentors about their projects whilst munching on pizza! It has been a real privilege to see our students grow in confidence and ability over the course of Ladders and it is sad to see the course come to an end but I am sure that this is just the first step in what will be exciting and ambitious careers for all our Ladders students. I hope everyone has enjoyed following our journey for the past eight weeks and would like to pass on my best wishes to the students from all strands and to the amazing mentors, inspiring industry professionals and everyone responsible for making Ladders such a beneficial experience for everyone involved!