Business Engaging with Community

Telecoms reseller Ardencom invited photography students from Warwickshire College (Leamington Spa) to come to their Meriden based Admin and Technical Support Centre to photograph the team and newly refurbished offices as a project towards the students’ final portfolio. Three students arrived with various items of equipment, lighting and camera lenses.

The telecommunication specialist company whose head office is based in Pall Mall, challenged the students to capture the essence of the Ardencom in a day’s photo-shoot. Faced with a lot of suddenly shy, photo-phobic subjects, Tristan, Olivia and Mark had a challenge on their hands. However, their youthful enthusiasm and remarkably mature professionalism won out and the results speak for themselves.
Nigel Walker, Managing Director of Ardencom says, “It is important for business to recognise responsibility for helping young people to get work experience. We saw an opportunity to offer the photography students free run of our offices and pulled in all our staff from around the UK to engage in the project. It gave the students the chance to work in a real environment and deal with the challenges they will face when they qualify.”

Tristan Potter is a mature student at 26, and as such was coordinator of the project. After ten years in the retail business, Tristan took a veer towards a passion instilled in him by his father who enjoys photography as a hobby. He is in the second year of the course and working towards his final exams. Inspired by his two-and-a-half year old daughter Elexa who is always the subject matter for his clicking camera., he wants to capture as much of her growing up as possible. Tristan wants to work in the field of wedding photography, hopes to start his own business one day and then in middle age, teach the art as he would like to give something back. He would like to change the way weddings are photographed, telling the story of the day as a journey, rather that snap shots of various moments.

Olivia Olah (19) from Southam is in her final year of the course at Warwickshire College Leamington Spa. She is planning to go to Portsmouth University in September to study Photography and Visual Communication with a view to a career in advertising. Olivia has chosen the subject of the pregnancy process for her final project, and is photographing a woman through each week of her pregnancy and the baby once it is born, which is very appropriate as her father is a gynaecologist at Warwick hospital.

Mark Holmes from rugby at 18 is the youngest of the team. He was inspired by his older cousin who is a keen photographer and used to lend Mark his camera when he was a little boy. Mark is full time and in the second year of the extended diploma in photography, art and design. He too would like to forge a career in wedding photography.

Tristan says, ‘It has been a very useful learning curve, coming into a working environment and overcoming challenges you wouldn’t face in a studio. Issues as simple as the location of power switches, finding the perfect backdrop and sorting out the lighting are things you take for granted in a studio. This project has made us much more aware of the trials you are faced with when out in the real world. We have really enjoyed it and all learned such a lot. It was also great to work with people who are not used to being in front of the camera in their work space.’

Warwickshire College is very keen to get students out into the work situation for experience outside of the classroom.