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Seven weeks in a South of France Chateau; my unique industry placement

An industry placement with us could take a huge range of forms. BA (Hons) Textiles and design student Isobel Smith embarked on a unique opportunity, which allowed her to utilise her skills in a professional work practice and learn from a diverse range of textiles practitioners.

Isobelle1200

Over the duration of 7 weeks Isobel volunteered at the Chateau Dumas in the South of France, assisting with numerous textile and craft workshops.

How did you feel about your first day - did you have to prepare anything beforehand?

I felt a lot of nerves arriving at Chateau Dumas, having never lived in a different country before and not quite knowing what to expect with being away for 7 weeks. Nevertheless I was still extremely excited leading up to the trip. I made contact with a student who had previously volunteered at the Chateau and she explained how amazing the experience was.

Leading up to the trip I stayed in contact with my employer Lizzie, who informed me of what jobs I could undertake at the Chateau and what it would be like living there.

IsobelleFash2What were some of your responsibilities?

Lizzie runs textile and craft workshops June through to September at the Chateau. The workshops are for guests to attend and to enjoy on their trip. My role was to assist on the workshops and to work alongside the guests/artists throughout their stay. In addition to the workshops, I helped with ordering stock, organising studios and accompanying the guests to the local town and markets.

As a textiles student, the experience was invaluable. I spoke with many of the designers and enquired about their careers which gave me a great insight into the industry. I was also able to develop my hospitality skills through talking to the guests, which has massively improved my confidence when speaking to new people.

Do you think it is beneficial for students to do a placement whilst studying?

I think doing a placement whilst studying is massively valuable as you can gain so much knowledge from the experience. If you are unsure about what sector to go in to, a work placement gives you a real insight, and helps to highlight what you enjoy and what you don’t.

IsobelleFash3Isobel’s top tips

My placement has made me think about taking on more experiences as you never know what opportunities could arise.

  • I would definitely recommend doing a placement especially during the summer as you have more free time.
  • Don’t say no to opportunities, even smaller experiences alongside studying 
  • Try and use social media to your advantage, follow any companies that you are interested in as a lot of the time they will post any advertisements about any upcoming opportunities.
  • Keep up to date with any experiences the university or tutors give as this was how I gained the placement at Chateau Dumas

Find out more about our BA (Hons) Textile Design Course and discover what career options are available.