10 Tips for a Successful Interior Design Work Placement

Posted by Interaction on 01/06/2016

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Securing a work placement at an interior design company is one thing, but how can you ensure it is a real success

Each year, Interaction offers two or three Interior Design students, from the University of South Wales, a year’s work placement. For twelve months these students will receive hands-on experience of working in the commercial design industry and a chance to increase their design skills.

“The amount I have learnt during this year and the experience I’m gaining is going to be invaluable, not only for completing my course but for securing work in the future”, explains Courtney Rees, one of our 2015/2016 students. 

However, the success of a work placement often depends upon the approach the student takes during the year. 

“Those who have demonstrated a commitment to learning seem to have got the most out of their year here,” explains Dan Francis, our studio manager, “If they have a desire to develop their knowledge and are willing to get stuck-in they usually do really well.” 

So what key strategies could you foster to ensure you demonstrate commitment and gain the most out of this invaluable experience? We asked our team to share their top tips: 

1. Enthusiasm 

Your skills are important but your enthusiasm to learn and be a part of the team is just as important.  Embrace new challenges, show an interest in the projects and be eager to take on any tasks offered.

2. Listen

Whether it’s listening to what people are telling you, or absorbing the general office chat between colleagues about different projects. Soak up the knowledge and really listen to instructions.

3. Ask questions

Never be afraid to ask. We are a company that encourages questions and if someone doesn’t know the answer we will find someone who does for you.  Do not sit at your computer worried or confused - just ask.

Office interior design blog | 10 Tips for a Successful Interior Design Work Placement

4. Make notes

Grab a notebook and scribble down anything that might be useful. Jot down handy computer shortcuts, the location of key documents, important deadlines and details about a task you’ve been given. This reduces the need to repeatedly ask the same questions and helps to keep you organised.

5. Become part of the team

Help as much as you can and offer suggestions if you have any. When the team has a project deadline see if you can contribute.  Whatever way you can get involved – big or small - show you want to help, even if it means staying beyond 5.30pm. 

6. Get feedback

Be open to receiving constructive feedback throughout your work placement.  Asking your manager for advice on where you could improve and then acting on that advice shows you have a desire to progress and learn. 

Office interior design blog | 10 Tips for a Successful Interior Design Work Placement

7. Gain knowledge

Designing amazing spaces isn’t just about choosing colours, picking furniture or incorporating the latest design trend, it’s also about managing budgets, meeting deadlines and adhering to building regulations. Learn from project managers, site managers, accounts and designers about these areas of the business. This will help you achieve a more rounded knowledge of office design.

8. Read up on building regulations

Building regulations aren’t known for being exciting. Certainly, reading the approved building regulation, document M, could be a wonderful cure for insomnia but building regulations are VITAL to the work we do.  Becoming familiar with key features would be very useful.

9. Immerse yourself in the industry

This is your opportunity to get fully engrossed in the Interior Design world. Discover the plethora of cool and funky furniture manufacturers and suppliers, visit their showrooms or talk to the account managers about their latest designs. Go to trade shows, read industry magazines and websites.

Office interior design blog | 10 Tips for a Successful Interior Design Work Placement

10. Be inspired

Take any opportunity to learn from the designers around you and other designers in the industry.  Study their portfolio of work and see if you can discover what inspired them.  Get those creative juices flowing and take your imagination on an inspired journey. After all, you are the future of interior design. 

Are you thinking of doing a work placement as part of your Interior Design degree? Is this a useful list? Perhaps you are a graduate who completed a placement – is there anything we missed? Do you have any helpful advice you could add?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.