Prudence Chikaka reflects on her Year in Industry at Alula Animation

Prudence Chikaka

Prudence Chikaka, BSc (Hons) Multimedia Technology and Design with a Year in Industry student worked as a 3D Generalist Intern at Alula Animation in Zimbabwe.

Read on to find out more about support when finding a placement, her responsibilities at Alula Animation, and her advice for student considering taking a placement year.

Could you tell us about the support available when looking for a placement?

I was given phenomenal support when looking for placements! Kent Careers had a wonderful lady, assigned to my academic school, who came weekly to give us lectures and having one-on-one meetings with us. We could book meetings at Kent Careers at any time. One time I had nowhere to do a phone interview and I went to Kent Careers and they organised a room for me which was a major stress relief! I also got a lot of support from my lecturer. He helped me with my portfolio and suggested companies to apply to. I would highly recommend students use the support the university offers. It makes your life considerably easier! It wasn’t only practical help I benefitted from, but also the encouragement at times when I felt like giving up. I also spoke to students who had previously done placements and hearing their success stories pushed me to keep going. There’s a lot of support, use it, it’s there for you!

Where did you spend your placement year, and what was your role?

I did my placement at Alula Animation in Harare, Zimbabwe and I was a 3D Generalist Intern.

What were your main responsibilities and tasks?

My main tasks were creating 2D concept art and 3D assets. Along with client work, the team at Alula gave me personal projects. And since it was a small team, I could approach anyone in the company and have them look at my work and share their knowledge in their particular area of expertise. This helped me develop new skills, and learn new software that wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

What was the highlight of your placement?

The highlight of my placement was being told they wanted me as a junior artist and runner for a project they were starting production on for Disney Plus. Unfortunately, I was leaving for my final year. However, this was encouraging because it was an indication that I had improved throughout the year and they trusted me to be an integral part of the team.

What are your plans for the future?

Before going on placement I wanted to do a Masters, but after experiencing the working world, I am now excited and eager to get back into it. So my plans are to graduate and apply for jobs where I can use my 3D skills.

What advice would you give to students considering taking a placement year?

DO IT! Going on placement will teach you more than you think it will! It will give you an indication of what sort of company you want to work for, what roles you want to go into and honestly you’ll learn so much! And hey, making money is pretty great! I learnt so much about myself, my strengths and my weaknesses as an employee which means I don’t have to go into my first graduate job with these weaknesses. Most importantly it’s fun! But be aware that it is a lot of work to find a placement, you’ll most likely have to get used to rejection, but don’t let that put you off. It’s worth it in the end!