Work Experience Case Study – Ahmed at Can Studios

11 September 2015

Work Experience Case Study – Ahmed at Can Studios

The Student: Ahmed Asif - Year 13 Creative and Digital Student

The Student: Ahmed Asif – Year 13 Creative and Digital Student
The Employer: Can Studios – an award-winning team of developers, designers and producers with over 15 years experience developing bespoke elearning materials and solutions.
The Opportunity: A two-week work placement at Can Studios working on graphic design projects.

We spoke to Ahmed and Paul Hilton, Managing Director of Can Studios, about their experiences…

How did the work-experience placement come about?

Ahmed Asif: ”Our Assistant Principal Mrs. Crowther knew I was interested in digital design and told me about the opportunity at Can. I was briefed and given a pre-interview at the UTC and then visited the studio with a group of other UTC students to find out more about the company. I was also interviewed by the senior team there! I thought it would be a good opportunity to see what a business such as this is like.”

What kind of work have you been undertaking on your placement?

Ahmed: ”I’ve been designing compliments slips, brochures, and websites and doing research for different projects too.”

What have you gained from your work-experience placement?

”I’ve been using my graphics skills designing brochures, and websites and doing research for different projects too.”

Over to Paul for the employer perspective now…

Could you explain a little bit about what it is that Can Studios does? 

Paul Hilton: ”Essentially, we provide technology for education and it works across a full range of subjects. We teach 3-year-olds how to read through phonics and we teach international aid organisations how to look after refugees, or the people like the Environment Agency how to count fish in rivers – all sorts of software, with an educational purpose.”

How did you get involved with UTC Sheffield?

Paul: ”We’ve been in the Workstation (a shared office building in the centre of Sheffield, close to the UTC) for about 15 years now, so we tend to notice new things happening and we actually got quite excited when we saw the UTC being built. From an educational perspective, we liked the engineering and digital focus and the technical, hands-on approach, so we thought we should make contact to try to get involved and help each other.”

What were you expectations for Ahmed’s placement? 

Paul: ”We hope to work with the local community as well as international organisations. Sourcing talent locally and the recruitment process is one of the challenges of running a creative business. So we’re hoping to create these opportunities to bring in local people, show them what we do, and to see if they are interested in that kind of work. For us it’s an opportunity to access local talent as early as possible and for them to see if a career in this industry is right for them, whilst picking up some practical skills while they’re here.

What do you think is different about the UTC Sheffield as an education provider?

Paul: ”We’ve had the opportunity to visit the UTC a number of times and we really like the way it is set up. The objective is to give the students practical projects that are based on local-company requirements, which is really great. Everything is taught with a view of applying it to the real world.”

What’s the future for Can Studios and the UTC?

Paul: ”We’re already trying to organise some more placements, as well as projects we can help with in term time and we’re hoping to develop some software that can be used to pass on skills from Can to the students also.”

A final word from UTC Assistant Principal Brigidin Crowther on her perspective…

”When I was approached by Can Studios it was clear this was a fantastic opportunity to develop our ‘Spot the Talent Programme’ which is all about growing the right talent and finding really personalised, bespoke pathways into industry for our young people. If it works it should be a win win for our students and the UTC and for the companies involved as well! Paul and Matt have been absolutely brilliant – there is no way any young person would have had access to this kind of opportunity normally so we are delighted and looking forward to developing our partnership with Can Studios.”

A big thank you to Can Studios for the being part of the UTC Spot the Talent Programme.

Working with employers is at the heart of everything we do here at UTC Sheffield. In addition to companies being closely involved throughout the curriculum and visits out to employers we also expect students to undertake at least a week of work experience.

The Spot the Talent Programme provides bespoke matching of individual students with companies and we also run Employer Mentoring events every term. If you are an employer and would like to get involved with the UTC please contact