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The XP Awards: Hannah’s story

Written by Stakester
9 Feb, 2022

All good stories start at the beginning

Graduation is more than renting out cloaks and getting your degree: it’s the first step into the real world. It’s exciting to walk up to the podium, get that scroll and shake someone’s hand — but it’s daunting when it’s over. What do you do now? 

Hannah del Herrera found herself in this exact position; fresh out of university with a degree in Fine Arts. Many creative students know the uncertainty of finding a job in such a tough industry. You have to work for free, build your portfolio and also take a plunge into freelance. 

Hannah spent a lot of her time crafting her portfolio and devoted hours to searching for work on job sites. She also published her artwork on LinkedIn to put herself and her talent out there. It just so happened that we were searching for a design intern at the time, and we spotted Hannah.

The start of Hannah’s Stakester journey

After an interview, we quickly offered her an internship. Hannah spent her first months at Stakester working hard to help the emerging design team deliver creativity for the business. With bags of talent and a real desire to prove herself, it wasn’t a tough decision. At the end of her internship, we offered Hannah a full-time job as an in-house designer. What started as a chance encounter on LinkedIn has culminated in a real job – and it got Hannah thinking. 

How many other grads could benefit from an opportunity like this? Hannah might tell you that she got lucky, but her own tenacity and talent was what made her work visible. So when she came to us with an idea that would extend that opportunity to students all over the UK, we were excited to hear it.

The XP Awards was born

The moment that Hannah pitched the idea for ‘The XP Awards’, we were all in. An art competition for all UK students who just needed the right opportunity to showcase their talent? Who wouldn’t want to do that? We stand to empower people that back themselves and their skills: we simply couldn’t refuse!

The idea behind the competition is simple: any UK student can enter and you can create anything you want – and the theme is video games. Winners will get internships at top gaming and design companies, cash prizes and recognition for their talent. If you’re not one of the big four winners, you can still be included in the 30 honourable mentions. Above all, you’ll have your work exhibited in front of the judging panel and the public in Central London. 

With the prizes all sorted, Hannah’s thoughts turned to running the competition. She was clear about a few things: the competition had to be accessible for everyone. It also needed to be inclusive and it needed to create opportunities for anyone who wanted to enter. So The XP Awards needed a mascot to match: introducing Pax.

The all-important blob: Pax

The XP Awards Mascot: Pax
Pax (by Hannah del Herrera)

Pax is so much more than a smiling blob with a crown. They’re a representation of the artists this competition exists for: they can be anyone, regardless of background or gender. All anyone needs to do to succeed is back themselves like Hannah did and show the world what they’re made of!

It’s time to blow us away!

With The XP Awards submissions opening on the 14th of February, Hannah hopes to change the lives of students across the UK. We have an incredible line-up of judges from big game and design companies who will see your talent. So, there’s only one thing left for you to do: check out the website and submit.

Good luck everyone!

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