Meet our 2021/22 interns: The next generation of talent

Josephine de Klerk, People & Talent Manager Design, Education, Culture

After a brief hiatus, we are very excited to see our annual design internship programme return for 2021/22. Since 2016, Peldon Rose has welcomed students from Nottingham Trent University, who are renowned for their design school. This year-long placement offers undergraduates valuable experience in the world of work and insight into the industry of design and build. Importantly, working alongside individual mentors, we’re nurturing the talents of the innovators who will shape the future of commercial interior design.

This year, we’re pleased to have Ellie Hughes, Sophie Fowler and Neve Rutter on board who joined us at the start of July. One month into their placement, we caught up with the trio to hear what they’ve learned so far, and why they’re thankful to start their placement physically working alongside our thinkers and makers in our offices at Sterling House.

Let’s start with your first few weeks at Peldon Rose, how has it been?

Sophie: We’ve already had the chance to visit several finished projects. It’s really exciting to see what is possible to achieve as in university all assignments are theoretical. Now, we can see how design comes to life in reality.

Ellie: It’s also made me realise how many people are involved at every stage of a project. We’ve been thrown into the project process, which makes you understand how important it is for people to work together collaboratively.

Neve: I’ve really enjoyed being in an office environment. It’s a fun atmosphere and everyone is really friendly. Even when we’re working on important projects, you can sit alongside someone and get to know them as a person, too.

What do you think of Peldon Rose’s offices at Sterling House?

Neve: It’s got everything you need to inspire creativity, but also to get the job done. My favourite place is the kitchen and teapoint, it’s very sociable.

Sophie: As soon as you walk in, it’s a comfortable environment and very welcoming. I love the design library and can’t wait to use the space more and more.

Ellie: We’ve already seen how the design library can be used for lunch and learn sessions, to set out mood boards and also to host client meetings. There’s plenty of camaraderie, energy and despite not being too corporate, it’s a motivational space that makes you want to get stuck into work.

How have you enjoyed physically coming into the workplace when we’ve spent so much time at home?
Ellie: Last year at university, most of our teaching took place virtually. You’d have to send endless emails to tutors if you had questions or try to teach yourself on YouTube. Now, I can ask a question instantly to someone sitting next door and learn by listening and watching how they work.

Neve: You get to know people much more quickly. Not only from a work perspective, but I’ve been able to go running with people after work and get involved in yoga to get to know people from other teams. As most of our tuition took place online last year, it was much harder to make friends, especially because I moved home for a few months.

Sophie: I had to isolate at home during my second week at Peldon Rose and I was desperate to come back into the office! I tuned into a few meetings from home, but otherwise it was difficult to understand how I could get involved.

What have you discovered about the world of work?

Neve: Moving to London is a whole culture and lifestyle change. At university I lived close to campus and could cycle everywhere in five minutes or so. Peldon Rose has sites across the whole of London and beyond, so it’s going to be exciting to explore the city through work.

Ellie: At university when you’re working from home it’s easy to get distracted or lose track of time. Here it’s fast-paced and even though the days are longer, they pass really quickly.

Sophie: I like having routine and structure to the day. I like working around other people, so it’s nice to come into the office and surround yourself with like-minded people. It’s also great to have an individual mentor in the design team, I’m looking forward to learning how to pitch a project.

What type of environment do you like working in?

Sophie: When I need to focus, I like working with people around me so there’s some background noise. If I need to, I’ll pop some music in one ear to stop myself from getting distracted.

Neve: I’m a planner. I like giving myself enough time to get things done properly, because I’m not great at working under pressure, so working in a quiet space is a good way to keep calm and focus.

Ellie: I produce my best ideas under pressure, and I like the intensity of working to a hard deadline. Sterling House has different pockets of energy that cater for the ways each of us like to work, which will be helpful over the next year.

What do you like most about design?

Neve: Design can really make a difference to someone’s life. The space you’re in can either enhance or detract from your happiness and experience inside the space. From a workplace perspective, it can change your levels of productivity, and completely reshape the culture within a company.

Sophie: I love balancing creative freedom with real world challenges. At university, we work with unrestricted possibility, but now we’re considering design alongside budget constraints or logistical restrictions. It’s exciting to work out how to overcome these challenges and find innovative solutions.

Ellie: Starting with a blank canvas is hard, but it also forces you to look for inspiration. Whether it’s on Pinterest, or Instagram or in design magazines like Dezeen, you take what exists already and try to find new ways to design. Technology is also constantly changing, and we have to learn how to use the latest software and design tools.

Finally, if you could sum up your first month in one word, what would you say to friends or family?

Neve: Insightful

Sophie: Informative

Ellie: Fun!

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