Need support finding job opportunities in the creative industry? Meet Alex Smith, one of the newest members of dBs, who is here to help!
Alex Smith is our new Employability & Engagement Officer, tasked with helping dBs students and alumni find employment and develop soft skills like networking and interviewing. We caught up with him to find out about his career so far, what he is hoping to bring to the role and his plans for helping the dBs community...
Hey, Alex! Please introduce yourself and your new role at dBs.
I work across all centres and concentrate on everything around employability, from finding jobs and maintaining the jobs site to one-to-one sessions with students and alumni to support them with whatever they need. I also run seminars and workshops (usually with a careers or soft-skills focus) across all modules and years. I'm only here 2 days a week, so I've also continued my self-employed work as a freelance life coach/career coach, MOE Podventures podcast host, and a Lead Trainer on the MOE Foundation coaching course.
How long have you been a freelance life coach/career coach? What have you found rewarding about that career and what have been some of the highlights?
I've been a life coach since 2020. Working with people on what's most important to them is hugely rewarding. A few times a week I'll finish a session and be so hyped that I'm singing and dancing around the house (I mostly work from home). The job is all about helping people make big, positive progress and when it happens, it's a buzz.
So, what is the MOE Foundation and what do you do there?
MOE (Me, Others, Everyone) is a charity that aims to have a huge social impact by making coaching skills as accessible as possible. Half of the places on each of the 12 courses are completely free. Participants develop their listening skills, learn how to ask questions that bring up wisdom from someone's subconscious, and structure conversations so people can guide themselves rather than us, as coaches, telling them what the perfect action might be. There's a load of subskills we teach as well, including limiting beliefs/mindset work, building trust or rapport, and using your intuition, but the core skills are listening and questioning.
As well as taking over as MOE's podcast host, I worked my way up to the Lead Trainer level after volunteering on their courses to learn the craft. Each MOE course has a team of four trainers, three of whom are volunteers learning and developing their training and facilitation skills. I went through that pathway and now help train new trainers as well as deliver the course.
How do you think all of the above will help your role as our Employability & Engagement Officer?
From MOE, I understand how to plan and facilitate engaging workshops and courses. From my self-employed work, I'm using my coaching skills every week and know how to have a big impact over a short space of time. One of the biggest things is that this variety in my work keeps me fresh. The combination of my work here at dBs and my other roles keeps me on my toes and motivated.
What first excited you about this role?
I applied to several university coaching roles last year but the dBs role felt most relevant to me. In my self-employed work, I often work with DJs, artists and producers so dBs feels like a great place for me. I love working with creatives/music heads!
What’s been a highlight of your time at dBs so far?
I loved presenting at Industry & Enhancement Week. It felt special. Mic'd up with two cameras filming and three members of staff recording - I felt like I was a TED talk speaker and my two sessions on imposter syndrome and networking were really well received. I'd only been in the role for 6 weeks so the positive feedback had a big impact. The careers workshops I ran with final-year students on the Music Production & Sound Engineering and Music & Sound for Film & TV degree programmes last week were also great fun.
What are some of your plans as our Employability & Engagement Officer?
I want to get involved in more workshops and group work! One-to-one sessions are super rewarding too but working with groups is newer for me and somewhere I feel I have more to learn. I also want to create established links with local businesses for work placements that provide reliable industry experience for more of our students.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to our students?
If you're ever uncertain or confused, ask questions until that changes.
Anything else you want to say?
People rarely get things right the first time and people rarely get things right without support at some point along the way. Failure is a part of the journey and people in your network are expecting you to ask for support at some point, so don't be afraid.
Head to our Youtube channel to watch Alex's seminars from Industry & Enhancement Week 2023, alongside other content from industry pros and members of the dBs community.