16 June 2020
Meet Charis, who shares with us her real life experience on wanting to study at Plumpton College at the age of 36 to better her career and business.
Charis talks about the challenges she has faced and also the questions she asked her self before coming along to one of our open days.
Little did she know that the open day would change the rest of her life. Charis decided to jump in at the deep end and study one of our Metalwork Foundation degrees and she shares with us how this has helped her to progress and take her own business to another level.
Charis Williams - AKA The Salvage Sister
Tell us a bit about where you were before you came to Plumpton College?
At 36, I had been running my handmade & upcycled homewares business - 'Salvage Sister’ for a few years and I was starting to gain momentum. I made lots of upcycled lamps, pallet creations and I painted murals professionally. I was a professional writer for a great upcycling magazine, I had countless features in the press, and I had presented a TV show and been featured as an expert on many others.
"So it may have come as a shock when I decided to take a step back and return to college..."
How did you come to the decision to go back to college?
It wasn’t a decision I took lightly, I knew it would be incredibly hard to complete the paperwork, essays and practical projects around my business, children & commitments. I also worried I might be the oldest student there, or I might miss out on business opportunities because of the workload. Eventually, I realised that to be the best version of me I had to be able to weld.
Originally I was going to take an evening course at Plumpton just to learn how to weld. However, after visiting the college on an open day and seeing the facilities first hand, I signed up to a Creative Metalwork Foundation degree on a part-time basis for 4 years. I would learn how to weld, forge, make jewellery and so much more!
"I wish I had jumped in much sooner, as it turned out to be the best thing I have done to further my skills & take my handmade business to the next level!"
Did you have any concerns about 'going back to college?'
I worried myself about all sorts of things; would I be able to handle the workload on top of my business and being a Mum? What if I had another TV show come up and couldn’t be a part of it? Would I be the oldest student at 36, and a social outcast? Did I have 4 years of my life to put on hold to learn new skills?
"Of course, learning is never putting your life on hold, it’s the opposite. Having the knowledge and skills to complete what you already know is a catalyst. It will propel you so much faster to where you want to be than sitting at home worrying about it ever will! Plus, I wasn’t the oldest by a long shot and I made friends that I will love forever during that time."
How did you find retuning to studying and how has it changed your career now?
The first year at Plumpton was life-changing!! Every day I learned a new process, technique or skill. Everything was so new and scary but ultimately when you are passionate about something and you are driven, it’s a different ball game to working hard at something you don’t care about!
I am now well equipped for the rest of my creative journey and I'm even sponsored by one of the best welding & thermal cutting specialists worldwide (ESAB). I teach workshops in Brighton to pass on my skills and have an online store salvagesister.co.uk - where you can order my off-the-shelf metalwork, DIY kits or commission me. I work on all kinds of things for the home, business, garden, however, there is always a salvaged element to my work (hence the name).
Where can we find out more about you and your business?
Find all my work at salvagesister.co.uk . I share build process, concepts and ideas across my social media, find me on Instagram - @therealsalvagesister in my bio there is a link to all my other channels. I can't wait to meet you and I hope you find my story inspiring.
Charis Williams AKA The Salvage Sister
Do you have experience or a passion for metalwork? If you want to have a similar experience to Charis, then please consider our available Blacksmith & Metalwork Courses here. We currently have Level 2, 3 and part-time courses available to study.
If you can't find the course you are looking for, please do check back again soon. We are updating our courses regularly.
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Category: Blacksmithing & Metalwork
Learn more about our history
Since the original 400-acre College farm was bought back in 1919, Plumpton College has certainly seen a lot of changes.