An industry work placement is a great opportunity to put the skills you develop on your course into practice in a real-life fashion environment.
We caught up with BA (Hons) Fashion Design student Josephine Goh about working overseas with major high street retailer H&M during the second year of her course.
Name: Josephine Goh
Course: BA (Hons) Fashion Design
Where did you do your placement and for how long?
I completed a 3 month paid placement at H&M’s Head Office in Stockholm, Sweden, as a Menswear Design Assistant. I wanted to work for a high street brand and experience working abroad so this internship was perfect for me.
How did you feel on your first day and what did you do to prepare?
I was very nervous (as anyone would be) because I was in a new country and did not know anyone, so it was very nerve-wracking. I made sure I was on time on my first day and brought everything they had asked me to in order to enrol me into the placement programme. I received training straight away on my first day of work and they went through everything step-by-step.
What responsibilities did you have and what experience did it give you?
I learnt how to assist the Head Designer and Buyers to create new products and critically analyse the products we received from the suppliers before they were sold online and in store. I also worked independently and efficiently to prepare for meetings and presentations under strict deadlines. I have a keen eye for detail and made sure everything I did was as accurate as possible, especially on programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I felt my CAD skills improved dramatically and I became more confident in myself.
How important do you think it is for students to do a placement while studying for a degree?
I think it is extremely important for students to undertake a placement because it will teach you valuable real world skills that cannot be picked up in lectures alone. Plus many companies now look at what experience you have had before taking you on. They are more likely to choose you compared to someone who hasn’t got any experience, so a placement gives you an advantage.
What was the highlight of your placement?
Definitely meeting other interns from around the world and working with people from different backgrounds. Also work events and team building every week, such as having picnics on a boat.
Did your experience with H&M give you a better idea of what you’d like to do once you graduate?
My placement definitely gave me a better idea of what I would like to do once I graduate. I was unsure what industry I wanted to work in but after working at H&M, a high street company is where I want to work. As well as that it gave me ideas for my graduate collection.
What top tips would you give to other students who are thinking of undertaking a placement?
Do your research! At the interviews they will want to know how well you know the company or brand so make sure you research thoroughly. If you're thinking of doing a placement abroad, be careful when looking at suitable accommodation and make sure you apply for an International Student Identity Card!