This week is an exciting time for many KLC students as it’s graduation week! I have no idea when I will graduate as it’s taking ages to get each module completed, still, it was encouraging to see that some people have got there when I visited the graduate exhibition this week.
I’m fascinated by this map in the Open Learning room as there’s a dot for each of the countries people are currently studying the course in. There are so many, all over the world, some even appear to be in the sea the islands are so small! I can’t imagine how stressful sending work in must be for them…
There’s a great buzz from the excited students, showing off their boards and talking to friends and potential employers. I got some great ideas for mounting, sketch books and the curtain, fabric and History of Styles notebooks from looking at their work.
The open learning tutors were on hand to answer any questions and I enjoyed getting the opportunity to chat about the work on display and to discuss the History of Styles notebook as I’m a little stuck on that at the moment!
I’m particularly impressed and inspired by the work done by the winner of the open learning student of the year, Kate Lovejoy and the runner up Claire Thomas. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet Kate on the day, but she agreed to share her experiences over email, lovely lady that she is :)
Where were you when you got the news you were student of the year?
At home on my own, in front of the computer! I did a little squeal when I put the phone down- then rang my husband and my mum!
Why did you do the course?
I had already trained in Film and TV production design and worked in that field for a while. After having children, I knew I wanted to find a career that I could be a little bit more in control of my hours. Even though the skills I had were quite similar to those needed for interior design, I felt I needed to build a new folio and gain confidence for my new direction.
The Open Learning course at KLC seemed to tick a lot of boxes for me:
-Study around my commitments to my children.
-Not as expensive as a full or part time course.
-Gain a recognised qualification for the industry.
How long did it take you to complete? Did you have any other commitments during this time?
The course took me 3 years to complete. Initially I thought I would get it done in 18 months but I quickly realised that I would not necessarily get the most out of it by speeding through it.
Instead I offered my services to any friends who were doing extension projects or needed some interior design help to gain some ‘real’ experience.
On the back of that I decided that it would be beneficial to get my website together.
This all added time to the course length but I still think it was the right thing to do.
However I would say that the final 2 projects are a huge amount of work to get through, so I did make the decision to concentrate solely on them for a final push!
I am extremely fortunate that my husband and I were not reliant on a wage from me! So as long as the kids were looked after and an evening meal was on the table, I could run my own time!
What was the hardest part of the course?
I think the hardest part is the fact you work in isolation. The ‘exposure’ you get to the latest things happening in the industry are only what you go out and look for.
Having studied design courses before, nothing can beat the buzz of being in a college environment for learning, discovering and keeping you on your toes!
I tried to keep in contact with college by punctuating my work with the one or two day courses- I’m not sure how much I got out of them but even if you just pick up a name here or a technique there, it’s probably worth it!
and which did you enjoy the most?
I enjoyed going in to my local John Lewis and ordering samples of beautiful fabrics and pretending I was really going to order them!!!
How did you stay motivated?
I didn’t really have a problem with motivation. I genuinely enjoyed most aspects of the course.
Where did you get your samples from as a student?
John Lewis as I mentioned above but also direct from some Internet sites.
I found Chelsea Harbour a bit of an intimidating place although I’m sure it wouldn’t be if you just walk in and look around!!
How would you describe your personal style?
Bold and colourful!
What are your plans now the course is all done?
I have been doing a part time internship for a designer who happens to be a former KLC student and when that finishes I hope I may be able to do some freelance work for her in the future.
Finally, do you have any tips for other students like me, still struggling through?
I’ve covered a few already. I think that trying to keep in contact with KLC is important (although I appreciate this can only really happen if you are near to London).
Just keep chipping away. Each project completed is a step closer to that Diploma certificate…and that can open doors for your new career!!
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Kate and congratulations on your new career!
I’m really pleased I went to the exhibition, it was an inspirational evening and I’m all fired up to get on with the next module. I thoroughly recommend next years to anyone working their way through the course or thinking of enrolling.
Congratulations to all the students that have graduated this year, especially Claire and Kate on your awards, you are an inspiration to the rest of us!