Futures Festival – Job Fair

When exploring ideas of what to pursue post graduation, financial implications are the initial concern. I attended the job fair, where potential employers advertised potential agency work and summer work. As I intend to explore both a Photography MA and gaining a QTS, I spoke to a number of teaching agencies that promoted summer work and agency work. I also spoke to a company working in the photographic industry, as this is a potential career option. The following blog will explore the pros and cons of all of the information gained at this opportunity.

Cumbria Teaching Agency

Cumbria Teaching Agency offers temporary long and short-term cover to Nurseries, Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Pupil Referral Units, Special Educational Needs School, and Children’s Residential Care Homes. The agency is interested in hiring those both qualified and unqualified, as this will provide them with staff and allow for the gaining of experience whilst training (2 weeks of classroom experience is necessary to allow for entry on most courses.) The agency also advertises for staff to cover care and administrative roles.

Camp Cumbria is residential camp which offers a range of activities for children aged 4 to 15. The camp has two bases; one in Cockermouth and the other in Coniston. The agency have paid opportunities to help run activities and support the children. I spoke with Danielle Carlton, the Training and Recruitment Manager, who suggested that the camp would be good experience and also a way of financially supporting myself before I start either the Photography MA or a course to gain QTS.

I will be taking steps to contact the company in the coming weeks to organise some temporary teaching roles, as well as to apply to Camp Cumbria. I will do this through http://www.cumbriateaching.co.uk.

Stephen Rowell Photography

Stephen Rowell Photography is a local commercial photographer offering bespoke wedding packages tailored to your particular wants and needs. Rowell’s website can be found here: https://www.stephenrowellphotography.co.uk/.

When attending events, functions and wedding fairs, Rowell described the importance of displaying everything that the customer would want to know; what previous work has been undertaken, how are the photographs presented and what camera kit you use. He highlighted that once the customer is interested in what you do, then they will most likely be willing to pay for your services.

Although wedding photography is not my particular area of interest, speaking with Rowell gave me an insight into the dedication and focus needed to become a commercial wedding photographer. However, the same presentation of work and business is what would be necessary if I was to display my work in a commercially based setting.


Inspira also pitched at the careers fair, offering the opportunity for summer work. Inspira are partners in running a nation wide residential course for school leavers, The National Citizen Service, giving them experience in team-working, independent living and working within the community. As a school leaver, I attended this programme and found it extremely helpful, both in allowing for some free time post exams and learning new skills. Whilst I participated in this programme, I found that the support from the leaders allowed the experience to jump to another level. There is an opportunity to become a leader in this programme and see it from another perspective. This would allow me to build confidence in preparation for teacher training and also to build up my skills in my CV.

Enterprise Rent-a-Car

Steering away from photography, there are a large amount of companies offering graduate schemes. If I wanted to take a break from photography, then getting a job through a graduate scheme would be sensible. Enterprise offers a graduate scheme, where you enter the company as a trainee manager and work up to becoming a manager. Although this offer seems attractive, I wish to pursue photography further.

NXT – Unique Recruitment Solutions

Signing up for an agency is also a possibly post graduation, as it allows a vast spectrum of jobs, which will then allow for a more experience. NXT are an agency which take on all kinds of staff to cover jobs; commercial, engineering, manufacturing, industrial and hospitality. The company offers long and short term solutions to employment for companies, which means that sometimes the opportunities won’t provide financial stability in the long run, which is important if I want to pursue a career in photography.

System People

System People offer a similar package to Cumbria Teaching Agency, however, they require all staff on the books to have the QTS. System People work by offering a range of full time and cover positions, depending on what suites you. This agency would potentially be very useful after gaining my QTS. I am in the process of organising a meeting to see what else they can offer. Watch this space!

Choose Cumbria

Choose Cumbria are another firm that offers job advertisements and information based on employment in the Cumbria area. As I am from the area, it is my personal preference to stay in the area. However, the jobs and opportunities do not link with my future career plans.

Old Fire Station Carlisle

The Old Fire Station is a hub of artistic activity ranging from performing arts, to contemporary art, to photography. As I draw nearer to graduating and displaying my work on my own, the Old Fire Station accepts proposals for exhibitions in the space. This is something that I am interested in doing, post graduation. Watch this space, more details to come!


Overall, the careers fair was interesting and helped broaden my employment horizon! Graduating now seems less daunting, and I will definitely be looking into signing up to some agencies post graduation and look further into summer employment.

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