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Student Profiles and Industry Views

 

Please click on the boxes below to find out more about the fantastic placement students from the School of Art Design and Architecture at the University of Huddersfield:

Abigail Weegram – Interior Design

Abigail Weegram
Abigail Weegram

Abigail Weegram – Interior Design

At FITCH I worked in an office with around 80 people, covering live projects working alongside 2D and 3D designers.

My placement year allowed me to get a taste of the industry and work to a high standard. It also allowed me to develop on what I already knew and had learned in my second year.

I learnt so much and improved on all my skills, learnt new programs and also new styles and techniques which have set me up and I now feel a lot more confident about my final year.

The office at FITCH always had a great atmosphere and social side. As a worldwide company there were many designers from offices around the world coming into our studio so it was great to see their work and also have a chance to work alongside them.

Overall my experience at FITCH was amazing. I loved every minute of it and it is hard to say anything I disliked about it!

Adam Fazakerley – Photography

Adam Fazakerley
Adam Fazakerley

Adam Fazakerley – Photography

I undertook a placement year and worked for a company called Box Photographic which is a commercial working studio specialising in photographing products for companies. Whilst working for Box Photographic I have predominantly been assisting the lead photographers so I can learn from them and see the workflows of a working studio.

It was a fantastic experience working and learning from both photographers at the studio and understanding how to put my skills learned at university into practice.

Working with the post production team at Box Photographic has given me a lot of knowledge and the drive to want to learn more and progress my skill-set.

As a Photographer's Assistant there is always something to be done; whether it be opening new deliveries, prepping items, setting up a bay for a photographer, naming files as they are being shot, making and receiving phone calls, packing away products and sending them back to the client or generally tidying the studio and making sure things are as clean as can be.

As I progressed throughout the year I helped on many varied projects and the consistency of brands really stood out.

Alex Beldea – Photography

Alexandru Beldea - Photography
Alexandru Beldea - Photography

Alex Beldea – Photography

During the time spent at Hylton Photography I was involved in projects from clients like ASDA, Cadbury’s, House of Fraser, Nestle and VQ Leeds. Working as an assistant this experience was priceless, gaining important technical skills alongside communication skills obtained while collaborating with clients.

The International Marketing Photographer position at the University of Huddersfield’s International marketing department involved a large number of events that needed to be photographed on the University’s campus. Besides this, I took initiative in the promotional part of the department, creating posters for some of the events. As a photographer my role also involved creating the photographs used in the International Prospectus released by the department and press photography on some VIP visits to the campus.

At the same time I also worked on some freelance projects with clients including Bonner & Hindley Marketing and PR Agency, Caffe Venecia, Gradcore, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Mrs Underland Festival, Music in the Round, Musicworks magazine, Reading Matters, The Duke of York Community Initiative, and West Yorkshire Lieutenancy.

The placement year is the perfect opportunity to experience real live projects and work in the field.

Amy Westwood – Costume with Textiles

Amy Westwood - Costume with Textiles
Amy Westwood - Costume with Textiles

Amy Westwood – Costume with Textiles

My placement year presented me with the opportunity to travel around the UK and to Australia; something I had never done before. This life experience instilled a new sense of self-confidence in me that I didn’t necessarily expect to gain.

Going out into industry not only allowed me to utilise the skills I have, but it also taught me new experiences in my subject area.  I used this time to make those vital contacts and was lucky enough to be offered a job following graduation.

Having returned to University to complete the final year of my degree, I do not feel daunted by the task. Instead I am excited to give it my best shot and apply the skills that I acquired during my year out.

The companies I worked with on placement were The Asylun Theatre for Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012; Little Extra Productions – Beyond Project (Sheffield Based); The Mercury Theatre in Colchester; Opera Australia, Sydney, Australia – Costume Makers for Sydney Opera House; The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and Angel’s: The Costumiers based in Hendon, London.

Overall, I thought my placement year was absolutely brilliant! A very valuable, character-building experience that I would recommend to anyone studying a creative course.

Andrea Murphy – Texile Practice (Surface Design)

Andrea Murphy
Andrea Murphy

Andrea Murphy – Texile Practice (Surface Design)

During my year in industry I worked for OSC Limited, a sports company that has a number of brands within it including Mountain Equipment, Ronhill, Sprayway and Hilly. I have spent the duration of my placement with Sprayway, an outdoor clothing brand which focuses on creating products for walking, trekking and low mountain climbing.

During my time at Sprayway I worked within a small design team as a Fabric Co-ordinator which involved developing woven and knitted fabrics for a variety of outdoor products. All fabrics developed for outdoor or sports use should adhere to performance standards, should be fit for purpose and comply with any product claims. I worked to achieve good quality within the fabric and to maintain the standards which had already been set by Sprayway products.

My overall experience with Sprayway has been a positive one. I was truly welcomed into the team and my opinion was valued and respected. I have learnt a lot during my placement year and feel I have not only grown my knowledge but gained in confidence.

I really couldn't say I disliked anything while on placement, Sprayway gave me many opportunities and although some areas of the job were challenging, there was a strong support network around me to help guide me through any challenges I faced.

Ash Pennington – Graphic Design

Ash Pennington - Graphic Design
Ash Pennington - Graphic Design

Ash Pennington – Graphic Design

I was employed by Fantastic Media whilst on placement and worked on a range of digital design work from email marketing, to web design, print and packaging, and corporate identity amongst other responsibilities. The variety and fast paced nature of the real working design world is refreshing, challenging and I love working to time constraints – pressure definitely is a great motivator for me.

I really enjoyed the whole year and came to realise that the client has the final say on the output which became clear is common practice in the industry, even though at times I felt that a particular piece of work may look better if produced in a different way.  Actual day to day working is an experience that can only be gained through a placement year and I got to put into practice what I had been learning in the previous two years at University.

An extremely valuable experience that I would recommend anybody to do.  I now feel that I am properly equipped to work on any type of design brief so must thank Fantastic Media whole heartedly for the opportunity.  I was also offered a permanent position at the end of my placement!

Carla Kennedy – Fashion Design with Textiles

Carla Kennedy - Fashion Design with Textlies
Carla Kennedy - Fashion Design with Textlies

Carla Kennedy – Fashion Design with Textiles

The Visage Group are a fashion supplier; they are a large company, leading in designing and manufacturing garments which they supply to a wide range of retail customers including Primark, New Look, Next, Burton and M&S. My placement was in the menswear woven department and primarily CAD related.

From the beginning I was set the task of assisting Stephen Byrne, menswear designer, who designed mainly for Next and Burton. I also got to work on the Primark, M&Co, Tesco, New Look and Blue Inc. accounts.

I was put forward to represent the menswear department in a new group at Visage called the “innovation team” whose aim was to come up with designs that are forwarding thinking. We had to pitch to a panel of board members at the monthly meeting - I was the only student placement member of the team and felt very privileged to be given this opportunity. 

I am pleased I went for the sandwich degree and would advise all students to do one.

Daniel Matthews – Surface Design

Daniel Matthews - Surface Design
Daniel Matthews - Surface Design

Daniel Matthews – Surface Design

Throughout my placement year I have gained a wealth of experience in the industry over five different placements.

My first placement was for three months at Liberty, I assisted the scarf and accessories team, tracing archive prints on Illustrator and also maintaining the seasons current collection.

I subsequently moved to Marks and Spencer where I worked very closely with the Womenswear Colour Forecaster, researching the colours for S/S 2013 and A/W 2013, creating colour boards for the Colour Council as well as undertaking shop reports.

I worked at Jonathan Saunders and gained great experience as a Print and Artwork Intern.  Whilst  there prints that I had helped create were on the runway at London Fashion Week A/W 2013 which I also attended. It was extremely hard work and long hours, but a fantastic experience none the less.

I then went to an interiors company named Thornback and Peel. Here I assisted them with production, packing orders, printing hankies, tea towels, creating window displays and retouching on Photoshop.

For my final month in industry I went back to Marks and Spencer again, working for the Womenswear Print team, where I designed and created prints for their S/S 2014 collections, which will be in store this spring.

I found that my placement year has been one of the best years in my life. I have learnt so much about the industry and got that vital first hand experience. I advise anyone to do it if they possibly can.  It has been an invaluable experience.

Despina Iorga – Architecture (International)

Despina Iorga - Architecture
Despina Iorga - Architecture

Despina Iorga – Architecture (International)

I studied for three years at Huddersfield for BA(Hons) in Architecture (International), gaining the RIBA Part I professional qualification. I then spent a year in professional practice before moving on to study for my Master of Architecture and RIBA Part II qualifications.

I believe that Huddersfield offers a good working and socialising environment and I was given the proper guidance, but enough freedom and resources to create my own path in becoming an architect. Having the opportunity to work with different means of design and gaining the tools to develop my own style of work is something I believe to be fundamental to my success.

Whilst on placement I moved to France to work for an architecture firm in Paris called Baltasar Architecture Workshop for my year in professional practice. During my time there I was able to become involved in all stages of architecture projects, as well as meet clients and put all of the skills I had gained so far into practice. 

My course at Huddersfield helped me so much in my professional practice: I didn’t have to learn anything from the very beginning, I had skills in computer programmes, design processes and dealing with technical issues. I was also accustomed to management and law. The highlight of my year was completing the first project that was allocated to me. Realising my skillset and potential proved rewarding for me and it was great to go through the entire process of a project and see it through to the end.

Emily Bowes – Product Design

Emily Bowes - Product Design
Emily Bowes - Product Design

Emily Bowes – Product Design

I chose the University of Huddersfield because it asked for the highest grades to get in compared to the other institutions and I like a challenge.

My placement year has taught me many things such as how to take charge and given me the confidence to present to big groups of people. My confidence in my work has improved a lot which has influenced my confidence in daily life.

I have undertaken three placements. I worked in Birmingham for two months, Paris for six months and Saint Plancard for three months. My placement in Birmingham was with a software engineering company. I worked freelance but was based in the office as the company had never undertaken any design work.  I attended patent meetings and lead group meetings and learned the skill of making circuit boards.

Whilst in Paris I worked with a jewellery and tableware design company.   I had the opportunity to attend Maison et Objet design show selling my products.  I had designed a range of pieces and saw them being made in Vietnam (by a Fairtrade organisation) as well as meeting customers and taking orders from customers in foreign countries such as Japan. 

I then moved to Saint Plancard between Pau and Toulouse near the Pyrenees mountains.  I worked alongside a sole trader working from her office where I designed gift and home accessories for her and helped research for other projects

My placement year was amazing, life changing even. Doing three placements in different environments and areas of France and England has really given a broad view on the types of places I would like to work after graduation.

Emily Spreadborough – Costume with Textiles

Emily Spreadborough - Costume with Textiles
Emily Spreadborough - Costume with Textiles

Emily Spreadborough – Costume with Textiles

Over the course of my placement year I worked at a variety of companies which involved a wide range of experiences and tasks - from intricate goldwork embroidery at Hand & Lock to keeping an eye on flappers hem lines on BBC drama ‘The Village’.

It was great to get stuck into each of the environments and learn what the working reality of my industry is all about. My variety of placements opened doors I hadn’t considered and gave me insight into what I both did and didn’t want to pursue within my field.

It helped reacquaint myself with why I love what I do and reminded me why I chose to pursue both a degree and a life in costume. I made invaluable contacts and friends within the industry whose connections and support will be instrumental when finding a job after graduation. First and foremost I’ve learnt it’s not always glamorous, but if you love it you’ll never be happier doing anything else.

Placement year is an essential experience to learn what it actually takes to work in the industry, and if you’re up for it, will without doubt be the most fulfilling year of your degree.

Hannah Reuter – Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors

Hannah Reuter - Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors
Hannah Reuter - Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors

Hannah Reuter – Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors

I worked for M&S assisting the fabric trend and sourcing team to research upcoming trends and compile this information to present to designers. I liaised with foreign mills to source new fabrics which was an amazing opportunity as I made fantastic contacts; I cannot begin to convey how much I learned.

Whilst working for the Topshop Print Team I was involved with the in-house designers to develop new season prints to specific briefs and one of my designs was selected for the Boutique range and sold nationwide on eight different garments.

I also undertook a volunteer placement at the Fashion and Textiles Museum, which lead to a paid part time job and endless networking opportunities. I was constantly exposed to inspirational textiles and knowledge of the workings of a museum and found this to be a brilliant experience.

Without a shadow of a doubt the hardest year of my life, but retrospectively the most rewarding. I not only know what I want to do upon graduating, I know exactly what this role will entail and how to maximise my chances of employment during my final year.

Iasha Masood – Fashion Design with Textiles

Iasha Masood - Fashion Design with Textiles
Iasha Masood - Fashion Design with Textiles

Iasha Masood – Fashion Design with Textiles

A placement year was something I looked for when I was searching for my degree course. I loved the idea of getting experience and travelling at the same time.

I worked for five companies in three different countries during my year in industry. This included three months working for one of the most celebrated designer names in New York, Anna Sui, as well as stints with designers in Berlin and London.  

Whilst at Anna Sui I worked on pattern making, organising garment fittings and booking models. At fittings, I took notes as Anna was making changes to the samples. This really was invaluable time, working with Anna Sui herself.

The placement year was a life-changing experience for me and I would be first to say that I’m a different person now to who I was just over a year ago. I was very shy but doing a placement really brought me out of my shell.

I’ve got friends across the world now - I met other interns from Portugal, Italy and France. I also learnt a lot about business and I became much more open minded and inspired. This year has helped me make great connections in the fashion world, from buyers and photographers to business owners and investors. 

James Benson – Product Design

James Benson - Product Design
James Benson - Product Design

James Benson – Product Design

Since starting my Product Design degree I have always been attracted to the idea of spending a year in industry. Now I have finished and returned to complete my final year I can say that it was definitely a worthwhile experience.

Throughout the year I have worked on a variety of different projects within lots of different teams. This has helped me become a more rounded individual and provided me with lots of different experiences. It has also taught me the importance of time management and the true value of team work.

Choosing a placement that is linked to the industry you would like to work in will give you invaluable experiences you can discuss at future interviews. Some companies, including JCB, will also sponsor you whilst you’re at university, which is a great help. 

Jay Thomas and Stephen Bradshaw – Graphic Design

Jay Thomas and Stephen Bradshaw - Graphic Design
Jay Thomas and Stephen Bradshaw - Graphic Design

Jay Thomas and Stephen Bradshaw – Graphic Design

Jay and Stephen set up their graphic design agency 'BradshawThomas' during their Enterprise Placement Year.

To decide that the EPY was right for us, we sat down together and discussed what we would do. We didn’t want to work for somebody else – we wanted to work for ourselves and thought that between the two of us, we could actually do it.

We knew that setting up our own business wasn’t going to be easy, but we didn’t do it unsupported. We were based in the Duke of York Young Enterprise Centre (DOYYEC), the University’s state of the art facility that provides a base for students and recent graduates of up to five years to thrive, along with access to advice on finance, markets and technology.

The support and mentoring of the Enterprise Team was also integral to our success. The Business Advisors are great. If you’ve got any problems, it’s easy to sit down with them and discuss what’s up, where to go next and look at what ideas you’ve got - they’re there to help. As start-up businesses happen, you’re going to have teething issues, so the Enterprise Team helped us to deal with them swiftly.

The highlight of our EPY was reaching the milestone of trading for twelve months. When we look back at what we thought was achievable, we’ve completely surpassed that and done more than we thought we could do. The business has lasted and that’s a big achievement.

Jee Ying Tan – Architecture

Jee Ying Tan - Architecture
Jee Ying Tan - Architecture

Jee Ying Tan – Architecture

After I graduated from my BA Architecture course in 2010, I applied and completed my MSc Sustainable Architecture course at the University of Huddersfield in 2011.

My first job was with a Beijing Architecture Firm named CCDI (China Construction Design International). It was one of the architecture firms that designed the Beijing Olympic Aquatic Centre known as The Watercube. Working for an architecture firm on such a scale has allowed me to really experience what it really feels like to be an architect, to acknowledge the importance of responsibility and teamwork, the spirit required to be successful in this field, not to mention the intensive working hours involved in a project. The invaluable experience I gained as part of a team for each design project. I was very fortunate to be able to participate and be part of the team designing the Olympic Standard stadium project for a different city in China.

The following year, I decided to further enhance my skills so I went back to my home country and was offered a job working for a construction firm named Taipan Focus as an architect’s assistant.  In comparison to the work I undertook in Beijing I found this company worked at a slower pace and allowed me to really focus on improving my technical skills and in-depth understanding of detailed design for efficiency. It was invaluable experience as I was able to join the architect and attend important monthly meetings with engineers and contractors to learn more about the the process from designing a building to completion, from a business, sales and engineering point of view.  This allowed me to really understand the importance of the role I’m pursuing.

Jennifer Smith – Fashion and Textile Buying Management

Jennifer Smith - Fashion and Textile Buying Management
Jennifer Smith - Fashion and Textile Buying Management

Jennifer Smith – Fashion and Textile Buying Management

I would recommend going on placement to anyone. The experience really gives you an insight into the industry and provides a real-life experience of what to expect after graduating.  Although I mainly worked within one department, the move to another really opened my eyes to just how different departments can be – let alone other companies!

I was an Assistant Buyer on the Ladies Formal team for George at Asda for 12 months. I then moved to Ladies Casual Wovens for  one month.

My day-to-day tasks included  reviewing approvals (including coloured lab dips, trims, strike offs and bulks), managing the critical path to ensure that garments were going to meet delivery schedules, liaising with suppliers, updating the range plan, setting up for and attending meetings, liaising with the press team in order to get our products into magazines and general admin tasks.

I’ve had many highlights during my time with George but I was most proud when I began to buy Dotcom products,  where I learnt how to negotiate prices, meet target margins, attended fit sessions and was solely responsible for specific pieces.  Alongside this I worked at Graduate Fashion Week and went to an exclusive student-only Question & Answer session with Victoria Beckham which was an incredible experience!  Working at the quarterly George Press Events with a small team in London was also a confidence builder.

George is a great company to work for as they encourage personal development through on-the-job training as well as an array of courses.

The overall experience has left me feeling confident in my abilities and certainly boosted my aspirations further.

Jessica Oldroyd – Fashion and Textile Buying Management

Jessica Oldroyd - Fashion and Textile Buying Management
Jessica Oldroyd - Fashion and Textile Buying Management

Jessica Oldroyd – Fashion and Textile Buying Management

My first six months was with wholesale company Ruby Rocks, in the role of Assistant Showroom Manager based in London.  This role was very challenging and encouraged me to become more confident and assertive and although at times the intense responsibility could feel overwhelming I knew that I could cope. 

My final six months was spent working with Urban Outfitters, in the role of Shoe Buying Intern based in London. This role I found enthusiastic, very interesting and everyday was unique. Throughout the duration of the placement, I was allocated a number of tasks which ranged from raising purchase orders, meeting suppliers with the Assistant Buyer and liaising with the internal website department. Urban Outfitters encouraged me to increase and develop my skill base cementing the notion that Buying is the occupation I am going to engage in.

I had two amazing placement opportunities and have gained immeasurable experience and knowledge.  I would suggest that everyone undertakes on a placement year as it gives a fabulous insight into the real work of retail.

Katie Elmer – Fashion and Textile Buying Management

Katie Elmer
Katie Elmer

Katie Elmer – Fashion and Textile Buying Management

Whilst on placement I worked at the British Fashion Council as an intern for the Sales and Showcasing team working on London Fashion Week (LFW) - both Catwalk/Presentation and Design Showrooms, NEWGEN AND NEWGEN Mean and Rock Vault and Hedonism.

It was an amazing experience as I worked with over 250 designers, got to attend London Fashion Week shows and met some incredible people at the heart of the fashion industry.

It was an all round amazing time, it was life changing and a lot of fun. I am still working for them at events such as London Fashion Week and London Collections Men (LCM).

Laura Richter – Fashion Design with Marketing and Production

Laura Richter
Laura Richter

Laura Richter – Fashion Design with Marketing and Production

I began my placement with 13 weeks in Australia working for couture bridal company, Souraya. Souraya was fantastic and never had any problem with me being in a wheelchair. Her father-in-law built a little ramp, and Souraya got me a lower table I could work from in the studio. I had access to everything I neede in the work environment, so I could just focus on and enjoy the creative work I was doing. To say the least, I didn't really want to return from Sydney so quickly.

At Oxfam I developed a vast knowledge of vintage clothing. Identifying whether fabrics and brands are vintage, deciding the era that the item is from and how much it is worth in it's used state. This has allowed me to become familiar with vintage styles and techniques.

In order to try and make every item donated to Oxfam fulfil its full potential, I used donated fabric, which was in a 70's print and very on trend, to create four pairs of high waist summer shorts. These are on sale at Oxfam's Etsy account to make a 100% profit for the charity and the valuable work it does around the world.

Lauren Auty – Animation and Motion Graphics

Lauren Auty
Lauren Auty

Lauren Auty – Animation and Motion Graphics

My role at Studio Distract was pre-production involving concept and development on the studio's in-house project 'Rollie and Friends'. A pre-school television show that tells the story of Rollie the Rollercoaster and his life in a theme park.

I designed and developed ideas for set dressing, logos, posters, rides and attractions in the park, some of which made it to the final cut of the pilot episode being produced.

I had a fantastic time at Studio Distract. I achieved and improved so much more in my work than I anticipated. I learnt how to work in a team and to a strict deadline, take constructive criticism, and find the balance between producing good quality work and also producing work quickly.

I would highly recommend a placement year. It's an entirely different world from the classroom; I'm more comfortable in knowing what to expect after graduation. I have a better knowledge of what employers want and are looking for. And I have made some good friends in the industry.

Laurence Arc – Product Design

Laurence Arc
Laurence Arc

Laurence Arc – Product Design

Whilst at Hodges & Drake I was involved in ideation all the way up to product assembly. Leicester has a number of local component suppliers and manufacturers; enabling them to have an in-house assembly team.

This holistic approach enabled me to really get deep into the development and resolution of products; constantly liaising with clients and suppliers, optimising workflows for assembly, and actively working with different departments to resolve issues.

I really enjoyed the fast paced environment; I learnt something new every day: material knowledge, manufacture processes and constraints and/or assembly techniques.

I wish I could have gone a bit deeper into the BA side of things; the opportunity always arose whilst I was knee deep in work.

Lucy Kilcoyne – Graphic Design

Lucy Kilcoyne - Graphic Design
Lucy Kilcoyne - Graphic Design

Lucy Kilcoyne – Graphic Design

I undertook a 48 week placement at Primeur Ltd which is a home interiors company designing home accessories ranging from cushions and flooring to wall art for major UK retailers. Tasks included working to briefs set by the buyers on trends and in store collections, which are launched throughout the year.

As well as design work I was given the opportunity to meet a selection of successful buyers for major retail stores and sit in on meetings to gain knowledge of the buying field and receive first-hand feedback on my design work. This was pretty scary at times but it definitely boosted my confidence in my design work and I learned to build on any criticism.

I also had the chance to go to many trade fairs some of which took place in London and Chelsea.

It was fantastic to see my design translated onto a cushion or a piece of wall art, as was seeing my designs in stores! I feel I have developed as a designer and it has given me the confidence to start up my own little business designing stationary and cards and freelancing in my spare time.

Luigi Amitrano – Graphic Design

Luigi Amitrano - Graphic Design
Luigi Amitrano - Graphic Design

Luigi Amitrano – Graphic Design

During my placement year I got the opportunity to work for two companies Mexx Europe, based in Amsterdam, and Worthington Brown Design Agency, based in Huddersfield. By experiencing both in-house design and agency design I was able to gain a broader outlook of design within industry.

Working for Mexx was fantastic! This allowed me to experience first hand the design process for a major fashion brand. During my time at Mexx I got involved with marketing campaigns, E-commerce design and strategic planning, along with in-store point of sale.

I didn’t necessarily think that I would be given so much responsibility, but I was definitely thrown in at the deep end. Always the best way for gaining experience in your field!

I feel my placement year will prove to be invaluable both for final year and for job hunting. I really did gain a greater understanding of my field and how this can relate to my work and learning at the university - deciding factors for me when it came to choosing universities. The dedication, support and guidance from the University was brilliant, and it wasn’t long until I was on my way to begin a year that was incredibly beneficial and enjoyable.

Lydia Haram – Graphic Design

Lydia Haram
Lydia Haram

Lydia Haram – Graphic Design

It was a great experience being part of the Enterprise Placement Year (EPY). I gained invaluable knowledge on what it takes to run a successful business. The tutors are extremely knowledgeable, friendly and easy to talk to and I have kept in touch with them and I am in the process of launching my company in the summer this year. This would not have been possible had I not been involved with the EPY.

The EPY allows you to work independently which can be hard work at times but you gain so much knowledge and experience in setting up and running your own business. Expert knowledge is readily available so you never feel that you are on your own.

Windigo Equine is a company I have set up that specialises in sourcing a wide range of products to suit participants of the equestrian sport. Our company is suitable for a variety of disciplines such as eventing, dressage and pony club. We provide a range of comfortably fitting garments and accessories to suit whatever standard our customers are at, whether they're a beginner or a high-class competition rider.

The support has been amazing! Whenever I encountered problems the tutors were always there to help me, advise and guide me through to the solution and no problem ever felt impossible to resolve. The tutors believed in me the whole time, and that has given me so much more confidence than I had when I first started on the EPY.

Marta Kolonko – Interior Design

Marta Kolonko
Marta Kolonko

Marta Kolonko – Interior Design

During my placement year I was a junior designer at Sharman Shaw Exhibitions. From the very beginning I have been engaged with live projects; my main duties included ideas development, creating 3d models, producing initial and final visuals and working drawings. I’ve had a chance to work on all stages of the design process allowing me to gain invaluable, practical, hands-on experience. The greatest part of the year-long experience was to see my designs being constructed.

One of the projects that I’ve completed during my placement year was an exhibition stand to represent University at various UCAS fairs. I’ve had a chance to attend UCAS events in London and Manchester which gave me a deep insight into how my design worked and how people interact with it.
I am very happy that I had an opportunity to undertake my placement year with Sharman Shaw; I have been offered a part-time position for the duration of the final year with a possibility of a full-time job after graduation.

UCAS Design Your Future stand designed by Marta Kolonko

Megan Bonser – Contemporary Art

Megan Bonser
Megan Bonser

Megan Bonser – Contemporary Art

For eight months I was an Exhibitions and Head Marketing Co-ordinator at a contemporary art gallery, Surface, in Nottingham.

During my time I acquired invaluable skills which allowed me to curate and co-ordinate a solo exhibition for an award winning photographer, as well as one of the gallery's most important earners; the International Open Postcard Show, which received record entries. This exhibition even got me on the radio, on Nottingham Trent Uni TV, and in the newspaper.

Alongside this I learnt how to manage the gallery's social media outlets, eventually co-ordinating the whole online marketing for the gallery independently, increasing both visitor numbers and followers.

I also got various opportunities to work with other local galleries, youth groups, graduates and artists, and gain hands on experience with every aspect of the running of a contemporary gallery.

The confidence and experience I gained from this placement allowed me to work with Leicester Council Museum and Art Gallery, shadowing the Exhibitions Officer for a further three months, where I installed contemporary artist Marvin Gaye Chatwynd's renowned performance piece, as well as helping to host and deliver a week of children's workshops developed by Maria Zahle.

Both of these placements have given me an insight and practical knowledge of the contemporary art scene and provided me with priceless experience and contacts for the future, as well as inspiration for my final year.

Michelle Roche – Fashion Design with Textiles

Michelle Roche - Fashion Design with Textiles
Michelle Roche - Fashion Design with Textiles

Michelle Roche – Fashion Design with Textiles

I took on a one year high street fashion placement with JD Sports Head Office in Manchester.  I worked in the Own Brand Department which covers men, women and children.  I assisted the designers, product developers, buyers and the shipping department.  It was an amazing placement as I saw the whole of the design process from initial design, through the development stages to getting the product into the store.  I also worked with the Marketing Department on product campaigns.

I lived in Manchester for the year and was paid a good salary for my full time work which covered my living expenses.  I would recommend Manchester as an alternative to London as there are a lot of fashion head offices based there and many paid placements on offer.

A placement year was a fantastic opportunity to gain experience in the industry and learn from experienced designers and product developers.  It was a year of hard work but was very rewarding and prepares you for your final year of study.

Natalia Semeniuk – Interior Design

Natalia Semeniuk - Interior Design
Natalia Semeniuk - Interior Design

Natalia Semeniuk – Interior Design

I was a junior designer at Ferrious in Manchester, but also carried out other tasks apart from the design side of things. I helped with online orders, website building, online promotion and much more. I was a Librarian to the collection of samples and catalogues and a showroom sales assistant.

Overall, the placement has been a great success and I’ve stayed at Ferrious in a part-time role for the duration of my final year, with a possibility of a full-time job after graduation.

Rachel Whichelow – Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors

Rachel Whichelow - Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors
Rachel Whichelow - Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors

Rachel Whichelow – Textile Design for Fashion and Interiors

I worked for Marks & Spencer covering fabric trends and sourcing.  This was my most rewarding placement as I learned about a job role I didn't know existed and became extremely knowledgeable and confident in working alongside fashion designers.

Working at Elle decoration taught me a lot about interior styling.  I was involved in assisting the shopping team across the various sections, liaising with interiors companies, PR to press information and conducted research for news, trends and best buy pages.

My placement at Thornback & Peel was very hands on and I gained experience in screen printing which is very helpful for my final year.

My placement year was a thoroughly enjoyable year in which I learned a lot about the industry and the way in which design and research within businesses works and how exactly the design process is initiated. 

Poppy Lindley – Interior Design

Poppy Lindley - Interior Design
Poppy Lindley - Interior Design

Poppy Lindley – Interior Design

My position within RPW was Librarian and Junior Designer. I held supplier meetings, organised the office library and worked on a range of high-end projects including Crockfords Casino, Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London and a variety of 5* Marriott and Four Seasons hotels all over Europe.

As the practice is based in Central London, I was able to explore the city and attend supplier parties and design events with my co-workers, who where instantly welcoming.

I started to work closely with the Managing Director on a special project in Kensington. This was extremely advantageous, as I was able to learn directly from her about the world of interior design. Seeing a project through from beginning to end, together with the problems that can arise was an invaluable confidence building experience.

A placement year is an invaluable and amazing experience - a necessity!      

Rebecca Cox – Costume with Textiles

Rebecca Cox - Costume with Textiles
Rebecca Cox - Costume with Textiles

Rebecca Cox – Costume with Textiles

Throughout my placement year I have worked on mostly theatrical productions exercising my skills in both Construction and Printed textiles.  I started my placement with Northern Ballet expecting to spend one month in their Wardrobe Department working as a seamstress on their production of “The Great Gatsby”. I actually spent 9 months there and learnt a great deal about the workings of a ballet company and the day to day demands on an in-house Wardrobe Department. Spending so long in one company allowed me to become a part of the team and gave me the opportunity to learn and refine a huge range of new skills.  In the end, I was very sad to leave!  The increase in my confidence and self belief throughout my placement year has been immeasurable. I feel the experience as a whole has set me up with a strong mind set for completing my final year.

Other companies I worked for whilst on placement were ReMade in Leeds, Nicola Killeen Textiles, Dots Printhaus, and The Library Theatre Manchester.

Taking a placement year has helped me to develop and refine my skills whilst at the same time growing in confidence on both a personal and  professional level.

Sarah Hoggatt – Costume with Textiles

Sarah Hoggatt - Costume with Textiles
Sarah Hoggatt - Costume with Textiles

Sarah Hoggatt – Costume with Textiles

During my placement year I have undertaken eight placements in different areas within costume and theatre, including three placements based in Lancashire; a youth production, an outdoor installation project and a Christmas show for Treasure island. I also worked as an assistant for alterations on a cruise; worked on a media campaign for healthy body image; trained for four months with a hat maker; worked as an assistant maker for Scottish Opera and finally as a Wardrobe Supervisor on a new opera based in Yorkshire.

Over the year I have grown in confidence through the different responsibilities allocated to me and have gained invaluable experience from the experts within the industry. I would recommend a placement year to everyone; it is hard work and a requires a lot of effort but It is well worth it and the experience has changed my outlook.

Stephen Bond – Advertising Design

Stephen Bond – Advertising Design

After what was a slightly rocky start, I finally got into the swing of things setting up my own business making my own creative liqueur drinks. The biggest issue for me was licencing and getting qualifications to make, sell and brand my own products. While it was difficult to start off, it was rewarding having letters come through the door saying that I could progress with my business idea and it really made me feel like I was going somewhere.

After my first few selling events things started to take off, and it was the help of the EPY staff and other small businesses that both motivated me and gave me some great ideas about where to take the business and new routes to market.

The support from the Enterprise Team has been astounding, even after my placement finished they still like to keep up to date with how things are going. I dodged a huge pitfall with labelling when Phil asked if there were any requirements for labels, which I hadn’t look at. There were and it was a saving grace that he mentioned it.

Taking an EPY year was the best decision I ever made in regards to my education by far - worth every minute.

Stephen Finn – Costume with Textiles

Stephen Finn
Stephen Finn

Stephen Finn – Costume with Textiles

The work I did throughout my placement year was extremely varied and tailored to what I wanted to learn more about.

My dream has always been to live and work abroad, using my creative degree and a year of experience as a spring board into an extremely competitive field.

I started in London, moved to the US and finished in Australia having worked in the Textile, Lighting, Bridal, Fashion, Ballet and Opera industries.

My tasks overall included: helping with the design processes by using CAD, sewing, beading and trend researching. Making deliveries, conversing with customers and suppliers, taking measurements, quality inspection, fabric orders, toiling, alterations, administration and many more.

Even though there may have been some tasks I did not enjoy, and occasionally I may have made mistakes, overall it was an opportunity to learn, allowing me to mature and become a more independent and well-rounded person.

The awards winner 2012, 13, 14, 15
University of the year 2013
QS 4 Star Logo
Athena Swan Bronze Award

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