James McGahey - Placement Year Blog #1 turn off the lights.

James McGahey - Placement Year Blog #1

Hello! My name is James and I’ve taken a year out of my studies to work as a Junior Creative Designer at Dynamic. I currently study Creative Media Technologies at Leeds Beckett University which allows me to gain experience on different design aspects such as graphic design, video production, web development, 3D animation and media theory.

When I joined Leeds Beckett, I intended to take every opportunity there was to benefit my learning and increase my knowledge within the design industry. Therefore, when the University said they offered a sandwich year, I was keen to apply for as many placements as I could. However, during my second year, I started to develop a huge interest in video production and motion graphics, but there was only a limited number of placements, of which none of them offered what I wanted. I was slowly running out of time and no opportunities where standing out to me until my lecturer told me about Dynamic.

The first time I heard about Dynamic was in a lecture in my first year where their current placement student talked about the creativity in elearning and the different job roles they had at Dynamic. This lecture gave me an insight into the different work they had done for previous clients – I was shocked at how many major companies used elearning. Fast forwarding two years, I was at the end of my second year struggling to secure a placement and my lecturer asked if I wanted to come and show some of my work at the end of year showcase and show Dynamic. I was ecstatic to be given this opportunity so I prepared my work the same day and put on my best clothes. That same night I showed both Ben and Dan my work and they asked me to come in the following day for an interview. This was one of the first interviews in a very long time so my nerves were sky high. But, this all changed when I arrived at Dynamic, as all the staff where so welcoming which made me feel so much more comfortable. Leaving the interview, I thought it had gone well as I was able to discuss my work and also all the amazing work Dynamic had done. The following week I received a call from Dan confirming a place within their Creative Media Team. I was over the moon. I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I couldn’t wait to start.

I’ve been at Dynamic for few months now as a Creative Media Designer; this has allowed me to work on different projects, which has enabled my skills to improve each week.

My first week at Dynamic started with an introduction to the whole team and how the business works. This was beneficial to me as it allowed me to gain confidence over the week without being thrown in at the deep end. I was assigned a buddy (Richard) who I could ask questions at any point, which helped being a new member of the team. Learning everyone’s names was hard but everyone was so welcoming I felt relaxed when asking questions.

After the induction week was over, I was able to start on some real client work. The role of a Creative Media Designer is to design the look and feel of elearning modules. The first piece of client work I was given was for Bourne Leisure – I was given the task of converting a module full of imagery into illustrations. At University I’d not used Adobe illustrator as much as I would have liked so being given this task tested my ability. Having a design team around me allowed me to ask questions whenever I was unsure about ideas – everyone was so helpful.

Since my first project, I have worked on many projects with big clients such as Sainsbury’s, ODEON, the NHS and many more. The first module I designed independently was for a company called Anchor Housing – I was assigned to create two Safeguarding modules and one Cross Infection module. This was my first time being a lead designer for a module and this was a big achievement for me as I was expected to do this by 12 months of my placement and I have done it within my first six months.




Being in the design team has allowed me to work on a variety of skills since starting my placement. I spend most of my time on the Adobe Creative Suite using Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects and Audition. I’d not used Audition prior to starting at Dynamic but with the help of the design team I picked it up very easily. As I have a passion for video and motion graphics, I wanted to use After Effects when taking a year out of my studies. I didn’t know before starting that elearning uses visual learning to help the information stick in a user’s head, therefore, video is used all the time in different projects. I have created videos for the NHS and Sainsbury’s and have improved massively when using Adobe After Effects. This was one of my main objectives when joining Dynamic as I wanted to know After Effects thoroughly ready for my final year.


Now that I have settled into Dynamic, I want to keep on learning on my placement year. I aim to go on more shoots with the team to gain experience with a camera and audio capturing. I know that this is possible because I can learn from the people around me and the knowledge they are willing to share. However, it’s not just the work that I enjoy at Dynamic, it’s the social aspect we have as a team and the different events in which we take part. This includes playing 5/7 aside football each week, watching the rugby on a Friday night, being part of charity events and even just walking around Harewood House at lunchtime. All these social activities have helped me settle in well at Dynamic – making new friends and enjoying my year out of my studies.

Overall, my first six months at Dynamic have been fantastic. I love coming into work every day and having the freedom to express my design passion into my work. I hope this lasts and I can work for the company in the future years to come!

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