IWCEP - Cultural Education Partnership Ident - Teal, Pink and Fern
Fulfilling the creative potential of young people on the Isle of Wight

Megan Stisted Creative Projects Manager (Events)

Employer: Ventnor Exchange
Primary School: Cowes Primary
Secondary School: Cowes Enterprise College
Where do you live and work now? IOW

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Was there an experience you had at school that made you want to go into the area of work you are in now?

Attending events like Rhythmtree and IOW Festival from a young age, as well as being friends with a lot of musicians and creatives and putting on our own gigs and events as teenagers.

What are the main roles and responsibilities of your job?

I manage Brave Island, a youth programme set up by Ventnor Exchange which offers creative opportunities for 14-25 year olds. This means planning opportunities with partners, managing the website and social media, and keeping track of budgets. I also assist with running Ventnor Fringe, where I programme events and liaise with artists, as well as supporting volunteers and working at the event in a variety of roles.

Could you briefly share a bit about your career journey? (What did you study? How did you end up where you are today?)

I completed my GCSEs and A Levels, then applied to university to study Live Events Production, but deferred for a year in hopes I’d find another option as I knew university wasn’t the right path for me. I then got my Events Assistant Level 3 apprenticeship with Ventnor Exchange and Quay Arts, which lasted 18 months, and then continued to work with them on a part time basis. I now work full time for Ventnor Exchange!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy making a difference, I know that it didn’t seem like there were many options for creative careers pathways on the Island when I was in school, so it’s great to be able to offer creative training, funding, and jobs to young people on the Island now. I also love working with people, getting to meet lots of different kinds of people and making new connections is one of my favorite parts of my job.

What is the hardest thing about your job?

The hardest thing is probably keeping organised enough to stay well ahead of time with projects. With Brave Island we post a new opportunity every week so I have to get these sorted months in advance so I don’t fall behind. This sometimes means relying on other people to give me information and confirm details, which can sometimes take longer than expected as not everyone works to the same schedule. I have to balance this work with other projects such as Ventnor Fringe so that all of them keep to their own timelines which sometimes can be difficult!

What skills or attributes do you believe have been crucial to your success in your career?

I think being intuitive and hardworking helps a lot, as it means I’m able to come up with my own ideas and work independently to make them happen, rather than constantly looking for reassurance or support. However this is definitely something which I learnt whilst on my apprenticeship as originally I wouldn’t have the confidence to believe in my own ideas/work. Being personable and confident also helps as it means I’m able to build connections when I meet new people, but being able to push myself outside of my comfort zone when I haven’t felt confident has been the most crucial! And also feeling comfortable to ask for help and support when Ineed it, it’s really important to be able to work as a team both to take on advice and also to share the workload. 

If you could give advice to someone aspiring to have a job like you, what would it be?

Keep looking for new opportunities and take them, even if you don’t feel like they’re for you! Work hard and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Be open to new learning and always accept support when you need it.

What do you think was a benefit about growing up on the Isle of Wight?

The freedom to have new experiences and gain independence in a safe community.

What was the most difficult thing about growing up on the Isle of Wight?

People assuming you’re at a disadvantage because of where you’re from, the negative attitude from people assuming you can’t do something or something’s not for you. Also not seeing a range of careers represented so feeling like there wasn’t a job here for me – I now know that’s untrue!

What do you want to do next?

I’d like to experience living somewhere else for a while but I still feel like there’s more to learn in my job right now.

How can we connect with the work you do?

Or come and see us in person at Ventnor Exchange!

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