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A group of first year undergraduate Interaction Design & Graphic Design students recently participated in an educational, business, and cultural trip to London. The trip was funded by Santander Universities and organised by Employability Advisor, Shauna McGrath and Interaction Design Course Director, Daniel Philpott.

Over the course of five days, students had the chance to visit several leading global organisations in the Creative Industries including Frog Design, Synechron, Jack Renwick, IDEO and Pentagram

During the visits, students connected and networked with these successful organisations, to gain an insight into each business, their global clients and their projects. The employers also took time to share their own career journeys with the students, providing valuable career advice for building their portfolios and standing out in job applications.

Students had the chance to attend an Alumni Networking event at Waxy O’Connor’s Irish Bar, organised by Corporate Engagement Partner, Tania Carlisle from the Development and Alumni Relations Office. The event provided a fantastic opportunity for the students to connect with influential alumni and build their professional networks.

Ulster University Employability Advisor, Shauna McGrath said:

“It was fantastic for Ulster University Interaction Design and Graphic Design students to have the opportunity to travel to London to visit leading organisations in the creative industries. The experience and advice they gained as well as the connections they made throughout the trip will be extremely beneficial to our students and their future careers”

In addition to the business visits and networking event, students also had an incredible opportunity to visit the Design Museum and enjoy some sightseeing in London. For some students, this was their first visit to London and left with a great impression of both the city and the employers they encountered. Remarkably, two talented graphic design students have since secured work placements through connections they made on the trip, thanks to the power of LinkedIn.

Graphic Design student, Sohaila Pourjalali said:

"The Creative Leaders Programme funded by Santander Universities was the best experience of my life. Before this trip I was quite unmotivated as it is hard to visualise your future at such a young age. Having the opportunity to speak with employers I have idolised, and tour design studios was amazing. All the employers on the trip have since kept in contact and I have an opportunity to gain a job from this. I couldn't be more thankful."

Interaction Design student, Peter McAlernon said:

“It was a great opportunity to visit the employers I endeavour to work for one day, and talk to those who work there about how they got to where they are, as well as how they go about their work. It has boosted my confidence hugely and energised me massively to keep learning and improving as opportunities are there. Visiting employers who are world leaders in the field of design, has reinforced the fact I am on the right path for a successful future.”

Interaction Design student, Luiza Stoenescu said:

"The Creative Leader Programme has been an amazing opportunity to gain insight into my career and the creative industry. I feel much more prepared and confident to continue the upcoming years at university. I learned so much and had an amazing time during the programme and met so many incredible people. I made really important connections with people from the creative industries, which I hope to continue contact with for a long time."

Overall, this trip was a huge success and provided the students with a wealth of valuable experiences, insights and networking opportunities in the Creative Industries.