View some of Emma’s exceptional design work, and read about her experience of being mentored by a Bucks graduate and the internship she completed this summer.
What course are you studying?
Textiles & Surface Design, specialising in Print for Interior Products, graduating in June 2017.
I previously studied Spatial Design for 1 year at Bucks
How can our readers and employers contact you or see more of your work?
What further career opportunities are you seeking?
I’m looking for a career in Print Design. I really enjoy all aspects of Interior Design and I am very passionate about colour.
Which company did you complete your internship with?
The Country Candle Company – A Wiltshire based company producing high quality hand poured candles.
Upon reflection, please tell us about the skills and careers plans your internship helped develop.
I’ve learnt so much whilst working with The Country Candle Company I don’t really know where to start! I’ve learnt about the whole design process from the very start with initial ideas, developing mood boards, designing a collection, prototyping and finalising finishing touches, product lifestyle photoshoots, showing them at the Spring & Autumn Fair to retailers, to seeing them on the shelves.
I cannot describe how amazing it feels to see a collection of products on the market, which I have designed with my name and logo on. It is truly unreal! Such an amazing opportunity for someone with initially very little experience, and I am so very grateful for it.
This has had a massive impact on my career plans. I initially had no idea what area I wanted to go into. I have always loved interiors, but was torn between this and sportswear. The work I have been doing with The Country Candle Company has helped me to decide my career path, whilst also opening up the area of print design for product and packaging.
What advice would you give to a student who is about to undertake an internship?
Really try to find somewhere that can provide you with something you are interested in. It’s so important that you enjoy what you are doing, and feel motivated to learn. You want to make the most of the experience and learn as much as you can whilst you are there. If you feel you are not learning from the tasks you’ve been given, just ask if there’s anything else you can help with.
Ask if you can listen in on meetings or visit another department of the company. Ask questions about their suppliers, retailers, marketing etc. You can learn a lot just by observing how businesses are run. Whilst you’re at university it can feel like you’re in a bubble. You don’t really know about the processes that are involved in design in industry before you have been on a placement. Just learning this can be an eye-opener.
Make sure to photograph what you are doing on your internship so you can document the experience and processes you have learnt on LinkedIn and your blogs. This is also useful to look back on, so you can remember techniques and methods you had been using, and also to show others what you’ve learnt.
Always remember that who you are working with could be a possible connection in the future when you are looking for more permanent work. You could meet all kinds of people through your placement! I have business cards from all kinds of people, from salesmen to stylists.
You want to make a good lasting impression. Be professional and interested. Try not to be too shy, you need to really get involved and enjoy yourself.
As well as this, be confident and ask questions! If you are unsure how to do something, just ask instead of making mistakes.
How did you find/get offered the internship?
I got in touch with the company through a connection. After an exchange of emails I went into their offices to meet and discuss how I could get involved. This then lead to me producing a series of mood boards for an Autumn/Winter 2016 collection, inspired by current trends and theme ideas we’d come up with in a meeting. This went down very well, and lead to the further design work opportunities.
So far has the internship led to any further opportunities, to take up either now or after you graduate?
Yes! I am still in discussion with The Country Candle Company about producing further mood boards for a Spring 2017 Collection, and possibly some for a more permanent collection. I am looking forward to working on these alongside my studies.
Would you like to include a message to the staff at the company you interned with?
Yes, I’d like to say a big thank you for giving me such an amazing opportunity! This experience has begun to shape my career and aspirations as a print designer. I now have a much clearer view of where I’d like to work within the print industry, and some really good design experience under my belt to help me achieve my goals.
How did your experience of having a mentor come about?
At the start of my second year I decided to get involved in the Bucks Mentoring Programme. I initially signed up to be a mentor after speaking to Robert Coldwell at training for a Student Rep role. Robert came in to do a presentation on mentoring which I found really interesting. So I signed up, but at the time there were no students left in my department who had applied for a mentor. Robert had however been in contact with an alumni who graduated from my course a few years ago, who is currently working in the industry which he thought could be of help to me.
Since then I have been in regular contact with my mentor and have gained a valuable insight into a different area of the print industry. It’s been so helpful to have someone to go over my project work before deadlines, help me to prepare presentations, and even just to answer any questions I might have on life after university.
I have also made other industry connections through my mentor, and I’m currently looking into undertaking another internship at some point in the near future, which I would have never come across without the Mentoring Programme.
I would urge all students to get involved in mentoring, whatever course they are on. Who knows what opportunities could come of it!