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Placement Report - Lee Evans

Page history last edited by Lee Evans 16 years, 2 months ago



1. Introduction

On the 16th July 2007, I began my 1 year placement with the Sheridan Group, based at the Odyssey Complex in Belfast. My job title was "Graphic Designer and IT administrator" and I have been granted almost a free reign to design, produce and market for the company’s units housed in the Pavilion.


I have learned a massive amount during my time here and have had a great insight into the day to day environment of a large company.


This report will both explain and evaluate my career as a Sheridan Group employee and give details of company structures, my role within the company and what training I was given. I will also outline the multiple skills I have learned and developed as a result of my year on placement.



1.1 History and Development of the Sheridan Group

Formed in 1989 by our chairman Peter Curistan, the Sheridan Group is a Belfast based property development and investment company. We operate unique, integrated urban destinations in leisure, entertainment and education. We have grown to become leaders in our field throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom.


We are a young, dynamic company who aim to enrich lifestyle through innovative developments and successful partnerships. We embody a sense of vision and purpose which questions the norm and seeks to bring imaginative new concepts to the entertainment world. Through harnessing world-leading technology and offering local investors exciting joint venture opportunities, we have been at the forefront of regeneration in Belfast, Dublin and Bournmouth.


To give an idea of the company’s size and scale, some of Belfast’s investments include:


Dublin Road – the groups first project in Belfast, completed in 1993, this £12 million project transformed waste ground to provide Belfast’s first 10 screen Virgin multiplex cinema with the added dimension of a fast food restaurant (Burger King), public house (Stiff Kitten) and a 502 space multi-storey carpark.


Odyssey – Sheridan’s most ambitious project, Odyssey, the landmark millennium project for Northern Ireland. Built at a cost of £91.1 million, Sheridan provided the only private sector funding to the project and developed the Odyssey Pavilion at a cost of over £30 million, which gained the Property Weekly 2003 Award for the Best UK Leisure Regeneration Scheme. It is the most exciting visitor attraction in Ireland, situated fronting the River Lagan in Belfast’s city centre.



1.2 Organisational Structure

My original office was situated in the Odyssey Pavilion, above the Sheridan I-MAX 3D cinema.  The office was very spacious and the views were priceless.  I have my own personal work space which harbors everything I need on a day to day basis, such as a high spec HP A3 printer, HP 6300C flatbed scanner, and filing cabinets.  I have been provided with a state of the art laptop - a Dell XPS, which has the necessary processing power for the type of work carried out here.


The huge office was only used by three others:


Johanne Madeley – Sales and Marketing Manager

Jacquie Watson – Operations Manager

Dee Lewis – Stock Control Manager


The Sheridan owned units have their own managers and supervisors who converse with me on a daily basis about artwork and technical assistance.


The Sheridan groups headquarters are situated about 400 feet from the actual Odyssey building. I moved here when the I-MAX cinema was sold in January. I have my own private office overlooking the Lagan!! 


This headquarters hosts the following people:


Peter Curistan - Chairman

Peter Holmes - Chief Executive

Stephen Crickard - Financial Controller

Shirley-Anne McFerran - H.R Manager

Julie Cassidy - H.R Admin

Lynn Derby - PA to both Peters

Lisa Cummings - Accounts

Phyl Lavery - Accounts

Bernadette Philips - Accounts


There are also other members of staff in this office.  I have got to know most of the staff fairly well, my main contact with them being technical support.


I have without doubt made friends here and will be keeping in contact with a lot of them when I depart.  I have also made a lot of contacts with the unit managers, chiefs and printers.  I’m sure these will prove invaluable in the future.


I have felt very part of the office and have been invited out on many occasions to VIP launch parties and local events.  These were very enjoyable and gave me an insight into the world of the entertainment industry and the side to advertising which I am most interested in.



2. My Role


2.1 Job Description

At Sheridan I have two different job roles, these are Graphics Design and IT Support. The main role is Graphics design, so this is what most of my time is spent on. Here is a short description of the what duties each role includes:



2.2 Job Outline

Graphics Design

In the graphics design role I have had to complete a wide range of duties. Normally with any project I have to go through a step by step process.



I have to meet with the unit manager (for example, Bar Seven) and go over the details on the event or occasion. After the meeting, I then have to do a preliminary design that I can show to the manager for his or her approval. The design is then progressed to a stage that can be finely tuned and signed off by Stephen Crickard, the financial controller and the unit manager.



I have to ring/email the various printing companies that I have built up a relationship with over the last year. The Company I ring also depends on the job that needs printed, e.g. Posters and flyers. I need to get 3 quotes so I can compare price and quality. Once the printer has been chosen I move onto the next stage.


Purchase Orders and Print Check Lists

Once I have the printer quote chosen I can create a purchase order for that job with the quote price on it. I then create a print check list that covers everything that I need to send to the printer and save on the Sheridan Server.



The Purchase orders and Print check lists must be filed to serve as a reference to future jobs and to pair up with invoices that are sent in.


Delivery and Distribution

Once the Artwork is finished I receive the delivery and distribute it to the relevant outlet. If it is posters I will either deliver them myself to the place they are supposed to go up, e.g. Odyssey Arena or I will put them up myself to save any mistakes being made.


IT Support

My responsibilities as resident IT Support are to maintain the network and keep the network secure. As there is no other IT Support staff, I have to keep myself organized or my work could easily overlap. Recently some of my responsibilities have been passed onto our IT company NITEC. A few of the duties I carry out as IT support are:


Computer Maintenance

Any faults or problems that arise concerning the computers on our network domain and any sub domains that run off our network, I have to fix. This can range from software problems to hardware needing replaced.


Software Installation

If any new software is bought by the company it is my job to install it onto the computer that the software is going to be used on.


Hardware Installation

Hardware installations range from printers and scanners to installing new computer.


Network Maintenance

Security is important to The Sheridan Group and it is my job to maintain the security on the domain. This includes Symantec updates and installs, deletion of inappropriate content and monitoring the network for anything suspicious. Network maintenance also includes keeping the network running.



I have been trusted with buying in new computers and accessories as well as peripherals and anything to do with electronics.


I am the only employee at The Sheridan Group that fulfils the job of IT Support and Graphics design. This presents some problems that I have had to deal with over the last year including work scheduling and overlapping jobs. I have also done a few miscellaneous duties that are irrelevant to my job title E.G. ordering stationary and picking up stock.



2.3 Applications Used and Skills Developed 

As my placement has a wide range of duties, I have used a wide range of software and hardware. these are some of the applications I have developed new skills and improved my knowledge of:


Graphics Design

 The Graphics design aspect of the job comprises of a few core pieces of software that I have use most frequently and have become very efficient in:


Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a key piece of software used in graphic design and marketing. It is used frequently when making flyers, posters, newspaper advertisements and banners as it allows easy compression of PDF's to send to print shops as well as applying bleeds to the artwork.


Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop, or "Chop Shop" as I tend to call it, was also an important piece of software for creating high resoluion, print ready artwork or editing artwork that had been created before and wasn’t in an appropriate format. I also used Photoshop to edit the photographs I took of events and locations within the Odyssey Pavilion.


Macromedia Flash MX


Flash is a great tool that can be used in a wide range of ways. To be honest, my skills were lacking when I first joined the team, but through sheer perserverience I have developed a great understanding of it's tools and functions. Over the year I mostly used this for drawing, although I have used it for some website work for The Odyssey Bowl website. It is perfect for certain projects I have been involved in because it easily imports into Illustrator.


Other Macromedia Software

 This includes Fireworks, Freehand and Dreamweaver. Fireworks and Freehand were used purely to convert other designers work and printer’s templates to a more familiar format, normally Illustrator or Photoshop. Dreamweaver was used to create 2 new websites as well as alter some of the ASP.net of the Odyssey Pavilion website.


IT Support

The IT support role was the lesser of the two roles I had with Sheridan, but it let me encounter a lot more software than the graphics design side. I had very limited knowledge of any of this software when I first began placement:



Windows Server 2003

 The Sheridan Groups network runs off a single server and it runs on the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating system. I have maintained the network over the last year via RDP(remote desktop) to this server. 


Active Directory

 The main structure of the Sheridan Group network is in Active directory. The first 6 months of my placement I had full administration access to this and I gained a lot of experience on this software. From adding Users, Disabling users and maintaining user accounts I gained a lot of knowledge in the daily workiongs of Active Directory.


Microsoft Exchange

I haven’t done anything in depth with Exchange, but I have done some administration functions with it over the year and hope to learn more about it in the near future. I have set up several new email accounts and new desktops where the Exhange has had to be installed.



VNC is important for saving me time. It is basically a remote desktop client and server. I can connect to any computer on the Sheridan Group domain and fix any software problems without having to walk to the location of the computer. It has taken me a while to get used to this system as at first, the time delay can be quite confusing.



AV Room Software

This software controls the television screens in the pavilion. I have had close contact with this software as the screens are my responsibility and I am the only one who can use them.


Symantec Software


Sheridan use Symantec antivirus software that is actively updated across the network by the server and automatically updated via the internet.


Microsoft Sharepoint

Sheridan Group’s events calendar and intranet site run off Microsoft Sharepoint. This software has brought up a few problems over the last year that I have had to maintain.



This is a piece of software that takes in faxes and converts them to a BMP images then e-mails them to the receptionist.




I have had limited experience with sage, as Sheridan has an accounts department, human resources and payroll department, they need to have the relevant sage software. It is my job as IT support to install and make any new computers ready for use, this means installing the appropriate sage and setting it up with the correct database.


Microsoft Excel/Outlook/PowerPoint/Word


As the resident IT support person, everyone views me as “the IT guy” meaning I am the one that offers help on any software that can’t be used. Over the year I have taught people how to use all of the software they come in contact with.





Torres 9


Comments (2)

Karen said

at 1:48 pm on May 7, 2008

This is very comprehensive Lee, a good job k

Lee Evans said

at 1:55 pm on May 7, 2008

thanks Karen, there is more to come =D

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