Ulster University helped me achieve my current career success by...
Preparing me for the industry with portfolio guidance and helping me get a placement year in a design studio.
Activities I was involved in at Ulster to enhance my employability
Group crit sessions – I found presenting my ideas to a group very hard in final year, as the weeks went by it got easier and I gained necessary skills for the industry. Last week I presented a brand to a client in front of six people – this time last year I was scared to present my work in front of my university tutors! So that’s just an example of how far you can progress with practice.
End of year show – The end of year show is so important as this is where the industry can come and look at your work. This was where I got my job offer from Marks. I am so glad I had the opportunity to present my work, it was one of the most important things I’ve ever done. My university tutors helped me with so many things for the show like what to display and supported me throughout my degree to get me there!
How placement enhanced my employability
My placement was the most valuable year I had while at university. I learnt so much about the design industry, built my portfolio and I found out that branding was what I was most interested in. It prepared me for final year and for my future career. While in final year I felt it was right for me to continue working in the design industry while I studied, this helped me to build my portfolio further. Any (paid) opportunity to work in the industry while studying is invaluable for the future.
Top 3 most significant steps on my career path so far
- My placement year at Brand Etiquette was the first big step on my journey. I was invited to return after my final year of university however my creative director left and this changed everything! I was absolutely gutted and terrified that I wouldn’t get another design job! I am so glad it happened as now I feel it was the first step that led me exactly where I am supposed to be. Everything happens for a reason.
- While studying in final year I got a design job at Kaizen Brand Evolution. Here I got to continue building my portfolio with branding work. I enjoyed working here, learnt more about brand design and was part of a great team of designers. I worked here for a few months until I was offered another job at my end of year show – I had to make a decision whether to work full time at Kaizen or take the new job offer!
- Getting my job at Marks – I started working at Marks shortly after I graduated. It was always my dream to work for this company as their work has always inspired me. Turns out I made the right decision taking the job and I look forward to my future working here.
What would your advice to students be?
Collaborate – Work with others and support each other. Everyone has their own skills and when a team of talented people work together the outcome can be incredible.
Don’t be embarrassed by any idea – throw it out there even if you think it’s weird! It really is true that no idea is a bad idea. A few times I’ve held ideas back – someone else has come up with the same idea and got praised for it! So I just throw every idea out there, even the ones that seem ridiculous can help spark a great idea in someone elses mind!