Edinburgh College HND Graphic Design graduate Niamh Curran might soon run out of space on her mantelpiece as she goes head to head with other star students for the Young Person of the Year crown at the 2018 SQA Star Awards.
Twenty-year-old Niamh has been shortlisted as a finalist in the SQA Star Awards Young Person of the Year category – a new award introduced as part of SQA’s Year of Young People 2018 activities which celebrates the outstanding achievements of young people whilst working towards their SQA qualifications.
When she’s not busy designing her way to national Marketing award victory or grabbing selfies with Deputy First Minister of Scotland John Swinney at the Scottish Learning Festival, Niamh is busy inspiring the next generation of creative talent and embracing the themes of the Year of Young People 2018.
Throughout her studies, Niamh has worked to change the preconceptions that college isn’t as good as university and that a career in the Creative Industries is not a valuable one. She has been a trailblazer in the College’s efforts to inspire the next generation of creative professionals.
In April 2017, along with fellow Graphic Design student Holly McNie, Niamh conceived the Graphic Design Ambassadors project which encourages schools pupils to unshackle their imaginations and explore creative careers.
The project has gone from strength to strength and has since been developed into the Daydream Believers Schools Engagement Programme which is transforming how educators work together, and with employers, to create and develop the creative workforce of the future.
Niamh has been instrumental in shaping the development of the programme which incorporates the Graphic Design Ambassadors project, an online design project for pupils and teachers, continuing professional development training for teachers and a one-week Day Dream Believers course for S2 and S3 pupils.
She has enjoyed an abundance of success during her time at college, thanks to her dedication to her studies and inspiring others, she was named Star Creative Student at the Marketing Society Scotland Awards 2018 and along with fellow student, Holly, was awarded the Marston Citizenship Award at the College’s Graduation ceremony in September this year.
Niamh said: “I am very honoured to be shortlisted for the SQA Star award. It gives me such joy being able to be part of this new award and what it represents. The Year of Young People has been such an incredible year which has shown the world what amazing young talent we have here in Scotland. It has made me very excited for the future and I wish all the other nominees the best of luck. No matter what, I think we are all winners at the end of the day.”
Edinburgh College Graphic Design lecturer Helena Good said: “Niamh is an exceptional young person. Every opportunity that was offered to her at College, she grasped with both hands. From representing Scotland at the Districts of Creativity conference in Aarhus to winning Star Creative student at the Marketing Awards, her story is one that inspires all our students.
“Niamh’s desire to go back to schools and share her journey and skills was the inspiration behind our Daydream Believers Project. What started out as a two hour workshop, has now developed into a programme capable of reaching out to every school in Scotland. If Niamh had a barcode every lecturer would order one for their class.”
The SQA Star Awards 2018 are taking place on Friday 9 November at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow’s West End. Good luck Niamh!