International student Ryan Serrano came to Whanganui UCOL with a qualification and industry experience, but he knew he needed more practical skills in order to reach his goal of working in the design and production industry.
Originally from the Philippines, Ryan completed a Bachelor in Fine Arts (Advertising Arts) at the University of Santo Tomas, which was then followed by four years working in Post Production/Visual Effects, Game Design and Toy Design/Sculpting.
“My industry experience just confirmed what I already knew - that I wanted build on skill base and experience overseas industry,” says Ryan. “I have always been a fan of Weta Workshop’s films and dreamed of one day moving to Middle-earth.”
Enrolling in the Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Graphic Design at Whanganui UCOL enabled Ryan to apply for a Level 8 Student Visa, which allows international students to bring their partner to New Zealand.
“My partner coming with me to New Zealand and having their support as well as UCOL’s was important,” says Ryan.
The flexible and unique teaching style at Whanganui UCOL was an eye-opening experience for Ryan. He was taught by industry experienced and award winning lecturers from all over the world who encouraged independent thinking and creativity.
“After my work experience I had basic skills but UCOL encouraged me to prepare to enter industry by showcasing my skills and presenting a professional portfolio so employers were able to see my ability and potential.”
Soon to graduate, Ryan has already secured employment in a coveted role at New Zealand’s multi-award winning design and effects facility Weta Workshop, which receives thousands of portfolios annually from prospective employees. Ryan’s new role involves 3D sculpting digital models for props and collectibles.
“The same technology that is used at Weta is what I have been taught at Whanganui UCOL. I believe that this experience, and the guidance of my lecturers at the Whanganui School of Design gave me the edge I needed to secure my dream job.”
Ryan’s advice for others wanting to get ahead in the industry is to work hard, keep practicing and to never give up on your dreams.
Weta Workshop is a multi-award winning design studio and physical manufacturing facility servicing the world's entertainment and creative industries. The team at Weta Workshop engages in projects from the earliest stages of technical analysis and creative design through to manufacture across all departments and final delivery on set to anywhere in the world.