Date: 5th Apr 2016
Phoebe Edwards is in the final year of her BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design degree and has enjoyed internships at leading companies including Jane Bowler and this summer she will be at Dunelm.
She has spoken to our Careers and Employability Service about the benefits of internships, finding ones that work for you, and her career plans. Read about Phoebe's experiences, here:
- Which career opportunities are you seeking?
My current knit practice is based around the research and innovative design of performance fabrics for active wear. Therefore I will be seeking a job, or placement, or internship within a sportswear company.
I am very interested in researching, not only for concepts and visuals but for yarn suppliers and to gain knowledge about how yarns, for example in performance fabrics, uphold certain properties in conjunction with other yarns. I find that fascinating. As well as being creative I also enjoy being organised and very methodical, so a career that encompasses these aspects would be the dream!
- How can readers contact you and view your creative work?
You can find me at http://phoebeprim.tumblr.com.
- Which company did you complete your most recent internship with?
- On reflection, please tell us about the skills and careers plans your internship helped develop.
This internship was actually incredibly beneficial to me. It may sound controversial, but it aided me to understand what career in the fashion industry I do not want. I am a strong believer that realising the wrong career pathway whilst still at university is incredibly helpful in guiding your long-term career journey.
Due to this internship I was able to understand the paths which interest me in the fashion industry, which are fashion buying, researching, and innovation Designing.
The month-long internship gave me an insight into the pressures of a sampling company, the deadlines that they adhere to, and the travelling to trade shows around to world to exhibit and sell these samples, which involves a lot of communication and organisation.
I was also able to learn more technical knit skills, such as the use of the software DesignaKnit, and was encouraged to use techniques that I had lost touch with.
Although it was an experience that showed me a career which is not for me, I had a brilliant time and learnt a lot about the inner workings of an industry sampling company and the pressures of profit making.
Not only that, but as I was commuting from High Wycombe to North Acton Monday to Friday it gave me an insight into the realities of a commuting career and the emphasis on time management.
- What advice would you give to a student who is about to undertake an internship?
Be careful to identify what is an internship and what is a placement. I have done many other internships other than Zinc Design Ltd, such as T.M. Lewin , Jane Bowler, and am currently about to intern for Dunelm, so I believe that I can speak from a bit of experience.
You need to understand what jobs will be assigned to you as internships and placements differ. You need to ask this question directly when inquiring about an internship.
I personally prefer a longer internship such as Zinc Design Ltd and Jane Bowler, as T.M. Lewin was only a week and I wished I had experienced more. Obviously this differs on the type of person that you are, and whether you want to get as much as you can out of the internship with regards to knowledge and skills.
You need to understand who and what the company does - do not just approach them because you like the look of them. You must have a firm interest in the company, or at least have done your homework on them.
It is not just something to put on your CV - someone is giving up time to have you experience their company and teach you the inner workings of it. You need to want to do it, because some internships really push you and are hard work.
Internships are often unpaid, so it is always a good idea to see if the company will pay your travel or lunch expenses. More than often than not they will happily oblige.
Finally, you need to prepare - understand the image of the company and dress accordingly, and make sure you are prepared with the correct equipment for the jobs they are asking you to do.
- How did you find/get offered the internship?
I was offered the opportunity through my current knit tutor as the owner of Zinc Design Ltd is a contact the University has held for many years, through our previous knit tutor.
- So far has the Internship led to any further opportunities, to take up either now or after you graduate?
I have learnt the career I want to pursue, which has allowed me to rule out internship opportunities that I would have otherwise taken purely to add to my CV. The experience has helped me to be selective and focused.
Read Phoebe's profile and profiles of other current students and successful alumni at www.thebucksgraduate.com.