A SUCCESSFUL artist has helped a recent graduate brush up on his design skills through a government jobs scheme.

Craig Black, who runs Craig Black Design, has taken Michael Mackay on as a design assistant at his studio through the UK Government's Kickstart programme.

It helps young people aged 16-24 who are receiving Universal Credit to find six month work placements so they can gain experience and skills that will set them up for future employment.

Through his placement, which Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce helped facilitate, Michael has had the chance to work alongside Craig on numerous commissions, exhibitions and projects.

Michael, a recent design graduate from the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design at Dundee University, says that the experiences he's gained through working with Craig are unlike anything he's done before.

He said: "I've really enjoyed the role so far.

"It isn't a traditional graphic design job - for example I've been painting murals.

"In my entire time doing graphic design I didn't touch a paintbrush, so that's been a new challenge.

"My confidence has really improved since I've been here with Craig - I've been able to prove to myself that I'm capable of working in this environment.

"This has given me something brand new and exciting to do."

Michael also got the opportunity to help Craig and his Creative Inverclyde colleagues to stage a stunning live art show for guests at The New York Times Climate Change Hub in Glasgow during the recent COP26 conference in Glasgow.

The 22-year-old lent a hand in building large spherical structures that Craig used during the eye-catching display.

Craig says it has been great to have Michael around and now hopes he can join him on business trips to London and beyond early next year.

He said: "I've got nothing but praise for Michael.

"He's hit the ground running and he's been able to deal with everything that's been thrown at him.

"It's not just his work with me that's been impressive, he's also been involved in Design Weans, an organisation that helps recently graduated design students and junior designers showcase their work.

"Michael has influenced me in my work, I'm not just telling him what to do.

"Having that helping hand has improved my business and made things much easier for me.

"He's full of ideas and opinions and that really helps with the creative process."