Amy was recently interviewed as part of our careers programme and has recently returned from a year working in Australia. She currently works as a Junior Interior Designer at Design I.d in Canterbury.
What is your current occupation and what does your job entail?
I’m currently a Junior Interior Designer for a design practice that focuses on hospitality refurbishments of bars, restaurants and pubs. As I’m a junior, I mainly assist the design director, giving me an insight into all stages of projects. However I’m often responsible for site visits and measured site assessments, production of existing drawings, creating moodboards, concept designing including floor plans, seating layouts, and assisting the designers and architects in presenting to clients.
How have the skills you learned during your time at WGS assisted you?
Being in the creative industry, my drawings skills from studying Art and Design has largely assisted me throughout university, during placements and in my current job. A large portion of my job involves creating presentations for clients, therefore designing the layout for my project boards at WGS has also helped.
What do you enjoy about your job?
The variation. Each bar, restaurant, and pub etc has a character or theme the client wishes to portray, so it’s exciting having a new challenge each time. I love art and drawing, so I thoroughly enjoy the concept designing stage. It gives me a chance to be really creative with my skills, whilst researching existing interior spaces, designers, materials and lighting.
What have been your career highlights to date?
After graduating I travelled and worked in Australia for a year. Whilst I was out there I was keen to gain an insight into the Australian architecture and design industry, and completed paid internships in both Perth and Sydney. I was really lucky to work in fun environments with such inspiring people, working on exciting projects… in the sun!
Have you met any interesting people through their work?
My colleagues during my Sydney internship – an architect, interior architect, and industrial designer, who all had individual styles, but created amazing spaces when they collaborated on projects. I learnt a lot during that internship.
Was this always your chosen career?
I knew I wanted to work in the creative industry, but initially I wanted to be a graphic designer. Therefore, in Year 10 I completed the WGS’s required 2 weeks work experience in a marketing department, unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it. When it came to applying for universities, I left it to the last minute on ‘what I wanted to study’. The initial option was fine art, as it’s what I’m good at. However I didn’t feel it would provide me with many transferable skills for a career. I therefore took the UCAS Job Test. I’m quite practical, like creating things, whether it’s on a computer or a tangible object, and love art and design. So my interests and skill set suggested an interior designer.
What did you study at university? Interior Architecture
Which university did you attend?
I went to Oxford Brookes University. I chose Oxford Brooks because the University’s school of architecture is highly regarded in the UK and I liked the modules they offered. I also love traditional architectural styles and Oxford is full of beautiful architecture. It left me close enough to London, to career network, without living in the capital.
Did you do anything extra at school to aid your choice and application for university?
I thoroughly researched the interior design and architecture industry to ensure I was making the right decision. I also had to submit a portfolio for all my university applications, so I gathered examples of my best work, and made improvements to some pieces where necessary.
What are your favourite moments/memories of School?
I have so many happy memories from my time at WGS, but receiving several Prize Winner awards for Design and Technology, and Art and Design, has to be the highlights. It’s a great feeling when someone recognises, and praises you, for the extra effort you put into your work. WGS does a really good job of doing that, and sharing it with the rest of the school.
What made you decide to come to WGS?
My previous school didn’t have the best reputation, nor GCSE results, and with my existing passion for art and design, my parents believed I would thrive in an environment like WGS.
Where do you think you career path will take you?
I’m only starting out as a Junior Interior Designer, so who knows! Hopefully London in the short term, but I hope to work internationally again in the future.
Were there any particular teachers at WGS that inspired you and why?
There are several to be honest and all for different reasons:
Mr Millichamp: To push the boundaries of my art and design skills, which I continue to practice in my job.
Mr Crust: He was always motivating and encouraging during my GCSE’s, which is a stressful time for everyone, and throughout my A-Levels when he wasn’t my tutor.
Mr Hall: He was my English Literature teacher throughout my A-Levels, and gave me extra tuition which helped me achieve the grades required by my university.
What advice would you give our current students?
There’s a huge pressure at school to know what career you want to do, so I’d advise not to rush to university if you’re unsure. I met plenty of university students who had gone to university because they ‘didn’t know what they wanted to do’. I had friends who completed internships and work placements, and have climbed higher up the career ladder than some who went to university.
Find out what your passion is, research it, network by attending events, exhibitions, and shows, and use your contacts!
Do work experience. A degree looks great on your CV, but industry experience often counts for more. You gain an insight into the industry, and if you are going to university, it’ll give you a head start over the other students. I could tell the different between students who had and hadn’t worked in the industry prior to attending university. Employers can also recommend you to other employers for future work placements, internships, or even a job! It also allows you to ‘test-drive’ the industry. If I hadn’t done my work experience in Year 10, I may have chosen to study Graphic Design at university and hated it!