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Joan McGovern

Joan McGovern Manager

Be Inspired Series

Emma Thompson

Multimedia Designer
Southwest College's STEM Centre

What does your job entail?
I develop a wide range of creative concepts and products, activities and materials that resonate with our target audience for the STEM Centre. This involves designing websites, advertising, manuals, posters, packaging, exhibition displays and promotional materials.

I am also a facilitator at the STEM Centre, taking school groups and our own college students for interactive activity days to enhance their learning in STEM subjects, science, technology, engineering and maths.

Is it 9-5?

Yes, although it varies depending on which project I am working on. Being part of South West College is excellent because the flexi-time work scheme allows me to achieve a healthy work/life balance.

How did you get into this line of work?

After finishing my degree I applied for a job with South West College as a multi-media designer in the InnoTech Centre.

It educates and mentors companies to help them achieve an advanced level in adopting and embracing innovation and dealing with everyday business challenges.

This job was a part-time internship, but I thought it could lead to further opportunities.

I quickly gained a lot of experience in specialist areas of design and luckily a full time role came up in the STEM Centre.

I was delighted to be offered the role in a state-of-the-art facility, which opens up career paths and options for many students.

This job allows me to design in an engaging way for a younger audience, who visit and use the STEM Centre. I’m also constantly learning and evolving with the latest gadgets and technology so there is always something exciting to look forward to at work.

Tell us about your qualifications/training

I completed a diploma in foundation art and design at the University of Ulster. One of the modules was visual communication.

I quickly realised that this was the path I wanted to take and applied for the full four-year degree in this specialisation.

During this time I gained essential skills and became very efficient in software packages such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Flash, which are crucial for a graphic designer.

I also gained a diploma in industrial studies at university as I took a year out for a work placement at a local design company called The Design Zoo. This placement offered real-world experience, live projects and client interaction.

I would highly recommend work industry experience because it improves your design skills and helps you gain contacts to boost your career.

What qualities are required for your job — personal and professional?

This is a fast paced, demanding job so a real passion is essential. It’s also very important to keep a close eye on current trends in design and designers at a local level and further afield.

This role relies a lot on high quality results so passion, organisation, a creative flair and excellent knowledge of industry software are important too.

What is the best advice you ever received?

My granny always said, ‘what is meant for you will not go past you’, and I really believe that.

I wasn’t fully sure on what career route to take and leaving university in the current economic climate also worried me.

Things, however, did fall into place so I am very lucky indeed.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

At the moment I seem to spend most of my time trailing my fiancée to wedding fairs or searching for wedding ideas online.

I also enjoy helping out with youth work in my local church, which is a good way to meet new people.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

I recently abseiled down the Europa Hotel in Belfast to raise money for some charity work in Romania.

Who has inspired you most in your life?

The English designer, Sir Jonathan Ive, has been the lead designer behind many of Apple’s famous products in recent years.

He is one of the most influential designers of our time, incredibly iconic and has certainly been an influence on my career.

Part of the Independent News and Media group