About you and background
My name is Lucia Strinati, I am 21 and I am from Bargoed. I went to secondary school in Cardinal Newman RC School.
What course did you study at Coleg y Cymoedd?
I studied the Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma in Art & Design.
What made you decide to study at Coleg y Cymoedd?
I wasn’t enjoying studying for my A Levels, I felt deflated after getting average AS level results and felt that I wasn’t going to achieve what I wanted at the end of A2, which would then result in me choosing any University course which fitted my grades, and not actually doing what I really wanted to do. I started to think about what I enjoy doing, as I’ve always been told ‘do what you enjoy, as it’ll never feel like you’re working.’ I’ve always loved art and fashion, and am a very practical person, so that’s when I looked into the BTEC courses available in the local colleges, and then came across the Art & Design course, which really appealed to me.
Why did you choose to study this course?
I found the Art & Design course appealing as it offered me the chance to work within different areas in art and design, without specialising until the second year. I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to find out which areas I would enjoy and work well in, without being tied down to working within one specialism for two years. I wanted to study something that would let me have creative freedom, and test it across different areas of art & design, which is what the course offered.
What are the benefits of studying at Coleg y Cymoedd?
Great facilities, such as a printing studio, 3D workshop and fashion work rooms. I found the art block a really inspiring place to study in, as there was always student’s work on show, adorning the walls and corridors. The tutors were so helpful and friendly, helping with any possible issue, and always perusing to get the best out of you.
What are you doing now that you have left?
Towards the end of the final year in college, I had worked out that I wanted to do something with costume and props, after studying a similar unit on the BTEC course. I had sent off my University application for a Costume Construction course, but I wasn’t that keen on going to University as I still was a bit uncertain of committing 3 years and a lot of money into one specialism, so I applied for a Costume Apprenticeship at the last minute – I had nothing to lose and it was another option rather than going to University!
I then got the apprenticeship, and worked in BBC Roath Lock Drama Studios in Cardiff Bay as a Costume Apprentice for a year, learning on the job, gaining transferable life skills and earning a wage! I am currently working as a Costume Runner with BBC Casualty in BBC Roath Lock.
How is the course helping you achieve your ambitions?
Studying on the BTEC Art & Design course gave me the confidence to peruse a career within art and design, as I always thought that I wouldn’t be able to have a ‘proper job’ doing something in art. It made me realise what I really enjoyed doing, and gave me so much creative knowledge and skills, such as learning how to sew, screen printing and making latex moulds.
How will studying impact on your life?
If I didn’t do the course, I would probably be studying any old degree, and coming out still not knowing what I want to do with my life! The course enabled me to do what I enjoyed for two years, which I then looked at going for a costume apprenticeship, which I would have never even considered if I stayed in school and did my A Levels. Without the BTEC course, I feel that I wouldn’t have achieved what have, as I wouldn’t have gained the practical knowledge which has enabled me to peruse a career in art and design.
Would you recommend this college and this course to others?
I would 100% recommend both the course and the college to anyone who has an interest in art and design, but doesn’t know where to start. It is a great opportunity to test your creativity and challenge yourself, and work out what you’d like to peruse in the future. The support system is excellent; there is always someone there to help and give advice. I found that the support from the tutors towards the end of the course, when I was looking for what to do next, was great. They genuinely wanted you to find the best next step, and wouldn’t hesitate to read over personal statements and cover letters as many times as you asked!
Tell us about your new role as Costume Runner on Casualty, BBC Roath Lock
After my year as a Costume Apprentice, I was offered a one year contract as a Costume Runner on BBC Casualty. I have many different roles as the Costume Runner; they range from keeping up a stock room of costumes, making sure that everything is kept in order and stored correctly, to washing and ironing costumes ready for filming, and even helping on-set looking after actors and background artists. I love my job and enjoy every day that I work. The media industry is such an amazing place to work in, although quite crazy at times! It’s very fast-paced, and every day is a new challenge. My year contract will be finishing this July, and I am hoping to set myself up as a Freelance Costume Assistant, which will enable me to work on different TV programmes and films, and work my way up the costume ladder! I am looking forward to the future, as there still so much for me to learn and am ready to see where it takes me!