How to succeed in applying for the Foundation Programme at the Goldsmiths' Centre

by: Dimitra Nikolakopoulou

22-Jan-16

The Goldsmiths’ Centre Foundation Programme is a one year free course created to help 10 students gain an overall understanding of the industry and to develop practical skills in goldsmithing. Every year young people between 16 and 19 years old are invited to apply for a place on our award-winning programme and get guidance, support and future development opportunities.

 

Our recruitment process is designed to allow us to find talented and motivated individuals with an interest in the industry and a willingness to pursue a career. Here are some tips to help you succeed in the application and interview process.

Application

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Foundation programme 2014–2015 © The Goldsmiths’ Centre

Do your research

Before you decide to apply, you should research to make sure that the Foundation Programme is the right choice for you. In the same way that our selection committee will evaluate whether you are the right candidate for the course.

What are your goals and how will this programme help you achieve them? Take a look at the different modules and consider alternative career paths. If you have any questions or would like a guided tour of the Goldsmiths’ Centre, don’t hesitate to send us an email at professionaltraining@goldsmiths-centre.org or give us a call on 020 7566 7650. Our friendly team is here to advise you and provide all the info you need to make an informed decision.

Take your time

Plan ahead in order to avoid stressful situations. Nobody wants to spend the entire night before the deadline trying to perfect their application.

Make sure to mark your calendar and start preparing your application in advance. Allow enough time to edit your application so that you are satisfied and confident with what you’ve written before you submit it.

Share your story

Writing about yourself probably does not come naturally, but we won’t judge you by Shakespeare’s standards. Focusing on your personal statement will allow you to impress  our selection committee and highlight your experience, skills and passion for the craft and the industry. Tell us your story and let your personality shine, it’s called a personal statement after all.

Avoid generic templates and try to make your application as unique as you are as a person. Use examples and be specific by mentioning school or extra-curriculum activities that will demonstrate you abilities and interest.

Consider the following questions to help you write a memorable application.

  • What attracts you to the industry?
  • Is there a specialty you are particularly interested in?
  • What skills or experience are you hoping to acquire?
  • What career path are you aiming for?
  • Do you have skills or relevant experience?

Be enthusiastic

Adopting a positive attitude that will be reflected through your writing can make you stand out. Personalise your application by mentioning why this programme is the perfect fit for you and how it is the first step to a successful career in the industry.

By showing your excitement about the programme, you will convince the recruiters that you are looking to invest your time and energy into this career path.


 

CV

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Foundation Programme 2012-2013 © The Goldsmiths’ Centre

Include key skills and achievements

As part of your application you will be asked to submit your CV. If you have relevant experience, you should lead with that. But in case you don’t, there are a lot of other skills or achievements that can be included to show your interest, knowledge and personality traits that will make you a successful applicant.

In particular you can focus on subject related courses or extra curriculum projects, academic awards, scholarships or volunteering work. Finally don’t forget to add links to your personal website, blog or online portfolio.

Make it short and easily readable

Use bold, italic and bullet points to make your CV scannable. Remember the volume of applications received every year and the amount of time that we will spend evaluating each one. Short but specific sentences and active verbs will convey a positive message about you as a person.

Resist the temptation to lie

Be honest and avoid lying. The people that go through your application have years of experience and can easily spot a lie. But even if you manage to get away with it, chances are you will be asked to support your claim during the interview stage, which is going to be quite stressful. Honesty and clarity will be appreciated more!

Attention to detail

Being meticulous can go a long way. Sending a well structured and proofread CV and application will make a good first impression. Ask someone that you trust, like a parent or teacher, for feedback to improve your writing.


 

Portfolio

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Foundation Programme 2012-2013 © The Goldsmiths’ Centre

Include a variety of work

Try to include 2D and 3D drawings or examples of your work. Curating a selection of drawings, projects or designs will spotlight your creativity and innovative approach, while experimentation with different tools, art forms and scales will prove genuine interest.

Presentation is crucial

Start with your best piece; the one that represents not only the level of your skills, but also your artistic perspective. Leaving one of your best creations for the last page will make an impactful final impression.

Choose quality over quantity. A smaller selection of higher standards can show more potential compared to a larger one that includes average or bad work. Remember the goal is to give a sense of your work and personality and make our selection committee anticipate seeing more of your work.

Adding context to your work

Group your work in a way that makes sense. This can be chronological or by medium or project, which will help the selection committee understand the evolution of your abilities.

Context is one of the most overlooked aspects of a project. Add a brief introduction or description of your work and document your source of inspiration, research and different steps of the creative process to allow the people that will review your portfolio to get a clear idea of the way you work. 

Demonstrate your talent

Your portfolio reflects more than your skills and knowledge. It is a way to show all the topics that you are interested in exploring, express originality and reveal what influences your personal style. Showing gradual development of your abilities and style can capture the recruiters’ attention.


 

Interview

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Brett Payne, Hot Forging Workshop © The Goldsmiths Centre

Be on time

Start early and be clear about how you are going to get to the Goldsmiths’ Centre. It’s not just that being late will make a bad impression, it will probably make you feel disappointed and that can affect your performance.

Be prepared

Read your application and be ready to support everything you’ve included with examples. Spend some time researching about the course and be ready to communicate your interest for the Foundation Programme.

A general knowledge of the latest developments in the industry can also help you prove your commitment, so try to keep up to date. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewers to clarify or repeat a question if you feel that you did not understand it.

Practice

You can’t really predict all the questions, but there are a few questions that you’ll probably be asked. Think about them in advance and try to practice. Ask a tutor or trusted friend to help you with a mock interview and try to improve based on their feedback. This will also boost your confidence for the real interview.

During the interview you will have time to ask your questions so take advantage of that to find out more about the course and show your enthusiasm.

Relax

Easier said than done! Recruiters are aware of the anxiety that you might be feeling during the interview and their questions aim to help you express yourself rather than stress you further. By giving clear answers with a positive body language, you will manage to impress them.

Remember the interview is the final stage before you receive an offer so it’s better if you see it as an opportunity instead of a test.

What’s the next step after submitting an application?

After the deadline, it’s time for our team to take a careful look at the applications. If we are impressed with your application, CV and portfolio it means we’d like to meet you in person and so you will be invited for an interview on both Wednesday 25 May and Thursday 26 May from 10am until 4pm. The invitations will be sent by email, so keep an eye out for an email from us. As part of the interview you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have and we will also give you a tour of the building and workshops. We aim to make our decision one week after the interview.

To apply and learn more about the Foundation Programme, click here.