The training session was yesterday and now I have to wait for my DBS check to come through. There is a school local to me that needs volunteers so I have asked to be placed with them. The volunteering sessions will involve helping a child read a book but also playing games to make reading fun. This will provide me with some school experience which will be useful for my eventual application for a PGCE.
Having come on this course I have realised how hard it is to balance “working” and looking after two young children. Everything I have ever read or heard about a PGCE is that it is much more intense than a degree. This has made me revaluate the practicalities of studying for a PGCE. It is looking more likely that I will wait for the children to be much older before embarking on it. The practicalities of looking after a house, children and working is a lot to juggle. Either selling items on Etsy like I have been doing or working a non-teaching part-time job may be more practical for now.
However, this has got me thinking about childcare. I pay £41.30 for 9 hours on top of the 15 hours Elijah gets free whilst I’ve been attending college. If I was working 16 hours or more Elijah would get 30 hours free, however these free hours are for term-time only.
It’s approx. £4.59 an hour for childcare for my youngest, add on the costs of travel plus the cost of childcare for my oldest I would be losing money during the school holidays. Childcare is not cheap, according to a report by the OECD the UK has the highest childcare costs in the world.
However, the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42966047) state this is based on a “a relatively well-off couple” in the UK and does not apply to all demographics.
“In this example – which the claim is based on – we’re looking at a relatively well-off couple.
Parents on lower incomes in England may be eligible for additional support, which will reduce their childcare costs….
…Under the childcare element of universal credit, parents in the UK can receive up to 85% of childcare costs….
…Since September, most working parents in England have been entitled to receive 30 hours of free childcare a week for three and four-year-olds.
The Department for Education says that 202,783 children in England benefited from the policy and that families could save £5,000 per year on childcare costs.”
However, many parents like me are trapped in the middle my partner earns too much to receive help with childcare costs but not enough to be able to afford childcare during the school holidays.
The other issue is that many hours I see advertised are under 16 hours, thus making me not eligible for the 30 hours free. But I still have to get to work and back, which could add a couple of hours onto the childcare care I need. If it was 15 hours over 5 days, with an hour there and back I would need 25 hours of childcare.
A job like this, below, makes more sense for me because I can work without needing childcare as long as my husband keeps working flexible hours.
“Job Title Cleaning Operative
Hours 15 hours per week x 52 weeks per year
Salary £7.50 per hour
Sparks Managed Services are looking to recruit a Cleaning Operative to work as part of a team to provide cleaning of accommodation at Hillsborough Campus, Livesey Street, Sheffield S6 2 ET
The working pattern is 5.30am to 8.30am Monday to Friday
Duties will include vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, polishing, emptying bins, toilet cleaning and using appropriate cleaning equipment and chemicals.
Previous cleaning experience is preferred but not essential.
Attention to detail and a flexible approach to work will be required.
The successful candidates will be required to undertake an enhanced DBS check”
The issues that I face are ones that many women facing when they are working mothers or wanting to be working mothers.
“The report said a woman with a partner and two children who works fewer than 16 hours a week and earns the government’s “national living wage” of £7.50 an hour would see her childcare costs overwhelm her earnings, leading to a net loss.” – https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/22/women-life-behind-counter-hard-especially-mothers-retail-bhs
““It is often thought that women stay at home because they ‘want to’, but the reality seems to be that they often do not have a choice, or indeed that going back would make them financially worse off,” Hupkau explained.” – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/aug/06/second-child-career
“Thousands of well-educated, professional women are forced to accept low-paid jobs beneath their skill level in order to work flexibly after having children.” – https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/career-choke-forces-educated-mothers-into-low-paid-jobs-d52wkrg0sp7
“After their first child, 60 per cent of women with a child aged up to four were in work. This increased to 75 per cent for women with a child aged between five and 10 and 80 per cent when the child is older.
But the statistics dropped dramatically after a second child arrived.” –
“On the basis of this analysis, it can be seen that significant numbers of the women surveyed, who are working in low-paid, part-time jobs, are working ‘below their potential’. These are women who are working in jobs that do not use their full range of qualifications, experience and skills. This is unused potential that has been developed previously through labour market experience, or as a result of training and education.” – http://www.sociology.leeds.ac.uk/assets/files/research/circle/wbp-synthesis.pdf
Mothers taking low paid part-time work because the hours suit their childcare needs is common. Mothers quitting work completely because of childcare costs, especially after having a second child is not unusual. Finding a job that is worth working is not easy unless you want to consider unsociable hours, evenings and weekends. Understanding many mothers don’t want to work these sorts of hours because it the only time they get with their partner and only time they get a break. Or even the only time they get to catch up on the house work – once the kids have gone to bed.
My husband has changed jobs and is now leaving the house at 8.00 a.m. and coming home at 6.30 p.m. thus making working mornings or evenings difficult for more. This is also putting pressure on me as I have less time in the evenings to complete my degree. Working around someone else is something I suspect I lot of Dads don’t have to do. From the mothers I know, it is often them who have to consider working around their partners hours not the other way round. Which of course limits a lot of mother’s choices. My own choices are feeling pretty limited right now but as the children get older it will get easier for me.
I received a message through Behance on 11/02/2018 about a volunteer job opportunity:
I hope your well
I am writing to you, in regards to an opportunity with my magazine.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Music Geeks UK. We are seeking contributors for the second issue of our music industry magazine.
Although it is a voluntary role, we are looking for individuals who would be happy to be a part of our team. Opportunities include joining our editorial or art / graphic design team.
Our first issue was released in September 2017, based around Festivals featuring Scottish singer-songwriter Kat Healy. The digital mag is available to view via Issuu www.musicgeeks.co.uk. We are working hard on producing a print edition for issue 2.
If this opportunity is of interest to you, It would be great to discuss in more detail.
I look forward to hearing a response from you soon.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
I emailed back asking for more information but I haven’t heard anything back yet.
Thank you for contacting us.
We require contributors remotely to create artwork that will accompany editorial. Work can be completed in 2-4 weeks depending on the artist/designer. Illustrators can choose their workload/ or work they are happy to be involved in. As each feature is different, artwork can be on a small or large scale (Double page spreads etc). We are curently working on the pre-production stages of the mag, brainstorming and assigning features to our writers. Unfortunately at this time, contributors will be on a voluntary basis.
I have asked Nicole to contact me when they have finalised what they are doing.
Managed to sell another card on Etsy, really pleased especially as I have not promoted my Etsy shop at all. The advice given for Esty is promote your shop as you will struggle to get sales otherwise.
I think once this course is over I will get more time to promote my Etsy shop via Instagram, Facebook, etc. Having not being sure what to do for Prof Dev, I now feel that going back to working for myself is the best route until the kids are older at which point I will do a PGCE (assuming I get a 2.1 from this degree).
I’m part of a group of Facebook called Crafty Business Sheffield, here are what some of the members have said about selling on Etsy:
“I use Etsy and I like it. There’s a really good Etsy sellers community in Sheffield who have started doing Etsy Made Local fairs and such, which have been really popular. You do have to do a lot of social media marketing to get sales, and that takes a long time to build up, but it’s the same with any platform you use. I’m thinking of trying Folksy this year, too.”
“I have an etsy shop and went a few months before I sold anything. You do have to market it yourself but I’m also getting traffic through etsy search results and I’ve started having more online sales since doing fares and making people know about me that way. There is lots you can do to optimise your etsy and google search results, there’s lots of advice out there and help in the etsy guidebook on their website.”
“It depends what you are selling. Set up is free and listings are inexpensive, but very few make much money on there. Where Etsy failed for me is in the promotion. You sped so much time promoting it is ridiculous.”
This comment was posted in January;
“Not too bad to set up, but you need to drive traffic to your shop. As yet I haven’t sold anything been on since October. Still trying.”
The group has been really useful for networking and receiving advice. It’s been a good way to connect with other businesses/local crafters.
Sold another two cards.
Received this response from Siege Magazine about submissions.
Really sorry but we couldn’t fit you in the magazine this time round.
Keep your eyes on our insta for more updates and more opportunities regards forthcoming compendiums
And all the best,
Having seen their first publications it has a more art slant than design slant. Not sure my work fits in with what they are looking for.
Some councils allow “free space” where graffiti artists are allowed to graffiti with the idea that this will prevent graffiti artists damaging or painting other walls.
Having looked into this the Sheffield Council don’t seem to have any “free walls”. This site says that Sharrow Ball Courts is a free space: https://legal-walls.net/wall/711
However, according to this thread on Sheffield Forum it is a myth: https://www.sheffieldforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=182888
“Whilst there is a perception that Mount Pleasent is a legal site, it isn’t. It is a council owned playground and ballpark, which has never been sanctioned for graffiti writers. It is not overlooked by any houses, and is thus difficult to police.”
I have contacted the council via email and Twitter to see if there are any free spaces.
This wall outside Cupola gallery has been designated a “free space” by the gallery.
“The wall began life in 2013 as a free space for graffiti artists to express themselves. In 2014 The talented Rob Lee painted his ‘Four Jerseys’ mural in commemoration of the Tour de France. This became a much loved piece. Three years on the mural is in need of repair and we feel it is time for a new artist to take over this mantel.” – https://www.curatorspace.com/opportunities/detail/cupola-mural-wall/1273
However, this has been done by the business itself not the council. I’m thinking that having free spaces inside parks might prevent graffiti/vandals destroying park equipment if they have a specific space to do it. Or maybe this could be used as an art space for kids?
With the idea of combining this with an app to report park problems – vandals, graffiti etc but every month someone comes to repaint the “free space” possibly bringing paint with them to allow children to paint over it.
Sheffield’s “War” on Graffiti: https://www.thestar.co.uk/news/comment-the-war-against-graffiti-in-sheffield-needs-to-be-won-1-7831895
“So it’s welcome news that a six-week ‘spring clean’ is set to rid Sheffield’s city centre businesses of this modern menace – head over to page 6 today for more. Four teams are set to blitz 60 different sites, and business owners will be able to request services for free. Once that’s done, the city centre will no doubt be transformed into a clean, brilliant haven of shiny walls and gleaming shopfronts. For about a day, at best. Because once the offending spray is gone, it won’t take long at all for these aerosol-toting bandits to tool up and target every single wall and shopfront all over again. Because let’s face it, the police have probably got better things to do (and spend limited budgets on) than to patrol for vandalism in the dead of night.”
“Bristol’s Clean Streets project manager, Kurt James, insisted that he and the mayor wanted to work alongside the artists, not against them. “If we start from a position that says street art is important to this city, there’s no reason why it can’t be accommodated.
“It’s about working with artists to help us to solve some of these problems that we’ve got. When you talk to artists, they want to help. They want the city to be pretty. They want interesting images to be displayed on walls, which can enhance the lives of people.”
Mayor Rees said street art was a hugely important part of the city. “We’ve got to protect that. But we know that some of the stuff is not art – it’s vandalism.” He said there would be an ongoing conversation with the artists about how they could have the room to express themselves – while helping to clamp down on what he sees as vandalism.”
Wanting to work with the artists in order to prevent vandalism. Graffiti is unlikely to go away, embracing that fact and working with artists could be a good way forward. Having “free spaces” in parks could encourage street art – as is in the sort of graffiti that brightens up spaces not creating a feeling that a space is unsafe and threatening.
Found the plans for Parson Cross Park, there will be new housing on part of the park with a change of entrance. The old entrance will lead to the new houses.
I have emailed the Council again to see if I can get a copy of the results of the Parson Cross and Colley Park survey.
https://www.sheffieldforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=1512833&highlight=colley+park – Dog Mess in Colley Park
https://www.sheffieldforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=1109075&highlight=colley+park – Litter issues after Football matches in Colley Park
https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/home/parks-sport-recreation/parks-green-spaces – Over 100 playgrounds in Sheffield
Vandalism in Sheffield Parks
“Defiant bosses at one of Sheffield’s most popular playgrounds have vowed not to let ‘mindless’ vandals wreck the fun for the vast majority.
Yobs struck overnight on Wednesday at Highfield Adventure Playground, in Sharrow, wrecking picnic tables and destroying toys used by scores of youngsters each week.”
I haven’t been able to update my blog as much as I would have liked. With a 4000-5000 word essay plus practical piece to do it has been a bit hectic. However, tomorrow we are on the final stretch – Major Project time. This is pretty much it now, apart from has been described as a “long, slim module”, that is Professional Development. But the majority of the time will be spent on the Major Project, and that is the last project.
Juggling family life and studying has been difficult at times but I’ve learn’t to work as and when I can. Which might meaning working for a few hours in the evening and then not doing anything for the rest of the week because I don’t have time and the week after I’m doing little bits here and there but no big chunk of time. I would recommend to any parent studying to do as much as you can when you can because you don’t know when your next study session will be – unless you have a very organised family life!
I’m hoping that the this last part of the course will be easier to manage, time-wise. It will be all done by the end of April, with an end of degree show in June – a chance to show off.
Not sure of the dates yet or where it will be but it is usually held in June at The Workstation in Sheffield City Centre.
Last years show showcased several disciplines including Games Development/Design, Photography, Art and Graphic Design. Many of Sheffield current Graphic Designer’s and future Graphic Designers will attend.
So here’s to the final part of the course! Bring it on!