A Q&A session with Annalee five month on from graduation, to see how her career has blossomed and learn how her relationship with Bucks is far from over.
What is involved in your day-to-day work?
A typical day involves creating and designing space plans for companies that want to re-design their offices. When a new project has come in I start off by visiting the client and viewing their space that they are wanting to re-design. I then take a site survey and collect measurements and important details and head back to the office and start designing based on the brief they have supplied. I then look at different options which fits the clients brief and create space plans based on the information given.
Once the space plan has been designed I would then go on to create mood boards highlighting certain aspects of a design as well as producing sample boards to present to the client to help them understand the design. To strengthen the design I then produce 3D visuals to help the client get more of an idea of what we are presenting to them. Once the client is happy with the design it gets handed to a different member of team for them to carry out the work and keep in contact with the client until the work has been completed.
Can you tell us about your relationship with Bucks New University and its students now that you’ve graduated.
I am currently working with the Spatial Design students. They are going to be attending Space-pod for two days each to gain experience in the workplace. I’m handling the projects they are going to be completing here and helping them with their work and managing them whilst they are with us.
Space-pod and Bucks New University have a longstanding partnership, and you can read about their collaboration and awards they present to students here.
I’ll also be returning to the university to work alongside the university’s Spatial Design students in all three year groups. This will involve guiding them with their projects, dissertations, and helping out with programmes and much more.
How has your qualification from Bucks helped your career?
My qualification has helped me to get on the career ladder, as well as helping me to get the experience and work to develop my long-term ambitions. I was very lucky to complete a placement at Space-pod in 2014, and that lead on to having an internship and sponsorship. Gaining experience and knowledge outside of university.
Gaining professional experience in the field I wanted to go into whilst studying helped me to develop a better, more informed approach to university projects. After completing my initial experience at Space-pod I started to apply myself more and think about the university projects as though they were real projects.
My degree and my work experience worked hand in hand to help me get the best of out of my degree and career! Learning to manage my time at university has helped me to ensure I meet deadlines at work, and I am able to keep up-to-date with multiple projects of varying complexity and differing challenges set by our clients and my managers. Working with certain programmes daily at university has proved to be invaluable, including AUTO CAD & Sketch-up & many other visualisation programmes that I now use in the workplace.
From this point onwards I want to get more experience under my belt, get my name out in the industry and try and go up the ladder and make my way to the top. My main career achievements are yet to come, so watch this space!
What advice would you give to a student who is about to graduate into your role/industry?
Try and get as much experience as possible. It’s hard to get the experience, but once you have, you see what the real world is like and how they operate within your potential career roles. You may have been taught differently at university, or you do something naturally different to how someone else does it in the workplace, and you learn to adapt and develop your skills and thinking.
To achieve to your best, whether you are in your first or last year, put your whole body into it. This shows you, your employers and lecturers that you are putting the effort in, the more you put in, the more you get out.
And NEVER give up! It’s going to be super stressful but if you believe you can do it, you can! Put yourself out there! Enter every competition, volunteer for the experience, carry projects on into your own time if you feel it is a strong project that you could use in the future! Do everything you possibly can whilst continuing your university work! It will look great on your CV and your portfolio, preparing you for your immediate and long-term future!
Are there any misconceptions about your role/industry that you would like to address?
It isn’t exactly like the projects at university. Usually in this industry the whole job is split among you and your colleagues, and then you working as a team to get the best outcome using each persons specialist skills or viewpoints. In university you often do the whole thing yourself and you have full control over it, with few people disagreeing with what you are designing apart from the tutors.
In the industry, you have to think about the practicality about the project as well as the cost. You can’t design something because it looks pretty or you like the shape of it. Yes, that should be the base of your design but not the conclusion of your scheme. You have got to have a real, informed reason concept for a project and what you are proposing. You learn this at university but is naturally taken to another level at work.
What advice would you pass on to your first-year self?
Keep going, it is worth it in the end, no matter how much you are tearing your hair out, it is worth it!! Go and enjoy your time at university and do as much as you can! Work hard, play hard!
David Barrass, Course Leader for BA (Hons) Interior & Spatial Design, has kindly added a few words about Annalee’s success and the university’s relationship with Space-pod.
Annalee was always a hard-working, dedicated and extremely enthusiastic student and these qualities shone through when she participated in work experience at Space-pod as part of her Level 5 studies on BA (Hons) Interior & Spatial Design. She was invited back by the company for work placements during her university vacations before being awarded sponsorship for her final year of studies and the guarantee of a full-time job as soon as her degree show was over in June 2016.
Annalee approached all of her student projects with zeal, making full use of facilities on offer to our students such the Gateway CAD suites. She also found time to help other students in the year groups below hers, showing mentoring skills. Annalee left our course with well-deserved 1st Class honours and the course team look forward to working with her again as she starts to mentor our current Level 5 students at Space-pod this month as well as returning to help in our studios at university.
The collaboration between Interior & Spatial Design at Bucks and Space-pod has existed since 2014 with Level 5 students visiting the company’s Bourne End offices for industry experience. Some students return to the company for extended work placements over university vacations. Students give very positive feedback that the professional experience boosts their confidence whilst developing their design, communication and interpersonal skills.
In 2016, the company announced that they would be awarding the Space-pod prize for Interior & Spatial Design at the preview night of our degree show in June with the winner receiving a cash prize. Fi Mathieson reviewed all of the work and presented the award to Tim Matthews, whose final major project was for the redesign of Penton Hook Island in the Thames, a project that involved the design of both interior and exterior spaces.
David Barrass, Course Leader.
BA (Hons) Interior & Spatial Design
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