Saying goodbye to our 2022/23 design interns: A reflection on their year at Peldon Rose

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Having joined us in 2022, it has been almost a year since we first welcomed four Design Interns, Emily, Izzie, Joe and Abi to Peldon Rose from Nottingham Trent University for a 12-month placement during their studies. One year on, we’re excited to hear more about their experiences at Peldon Rose and within the evolving design and build industry.

Immersion into the design world: the learning curve

What was the highlight of your internship?

Emily: My highlight would definitely be working on The Rank Foundation project. It was a proud moment to be involved in the project from start to finish, especially as my drawings of Lord Rank were used throughout the space.

Joe: Working on a large project in the education sector, that allowed me to be part of the journey from putting together the drawing packs to the LTA process. It allowed me to further my basic skills on a really intricate, complex project.

Abi: I think my highlight would be working on a SME project, working to a smaller budget with Ashton Holmes and Jonathan Dawes. It gave me an opportunity to cover a lot of the design process from research, technical design and material design of the project.

Izzie: For me, it would be working on a project from the initial test fits, developing mood imagery through to the completed project. I even got to take part in the final design pitch to the client which was scary but a learning experience.

Why is workplace design so important and what is your favourite work environment?

Emily: Workplace design is more important than ever for encouraging people to return to the office, it needs to offer an exciting environment that brings people together and fosters that sense of culture. I love working in our design studio as it gives me a chance to brainstorm with other designers and see a glimpse of other projects.

Joe: Ideas are always better when developed on collaboratively, workplace design is about creating those spaces that encourage people from multidisciplinary approaches to come together. I like having a range of spaces to work in at Sterling House, a mix of open area spaces to work with colleagues, as well as quieter areas to focus.

Abi: I think it’s important because you need that separation of work and home, a true worklife balance. I think the office needs to be a place that focuses on social interaction and mental wellbeing of people. I work best in a quieter area like a library. I’m not one to chat when I work, but I enjoy breaking away to have those moments to get to know my colleagues.

Izzie: I agree with Emily that workplace design helps to attract people back into the office. But it needs to offer social and collaborative areas to encourage that community feeling. I work best in collaborative areas with a creative buzz as it’s beneficial to hear my colleagues’ ideas and opinions, especially as an intern.

Two girls holding a designed wreath
Man in PPE on construction site with rubble
Girl on construction site dressed in hi-vis

Collaborative adventures: navigating the world of work

What have you discovered about the world of work?

Emily: It’s not as scary as I thought it would be. I’ve discovered that the work environment is more supportive than I thought and it’s nice to know your colleagues on a personal level. It’s been great getting that practical experience managing budgets and client relationships.

Joe: Everyone is approachable and always happy to help – you never feel stuck. Especially in technical design there are people willing to support you that have a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Abi: It has been eye-opening; I didn’t really know what to expect but it was a positive surprise to settle in and integrate so easily with people at Peldon Rose. You spend a lot more time with colleagues than I assumed, it’s important to get to know people outside of their work life and create those connections.

Izzie: I’ve found too that the social aspect of work is more important than I first thought. It’s a bigger part of your day than you would think and it’s important to have that supportive community around you.

Has your internship given you an insight into your future careers in design?

Emily: It has given me a great introduction to the design industry. After university, I would like to branch out and try more things. I’ve enjoyed designing and seeing the impact that social and breakout areas have in an office, which has piqued my interest in restaurant or bar design.

Joe: I feel like office design gives exposure to the wider design industries through our client sectors. I’d like to come back to the design and build industry as I enjoyed the technical side of design and the opportunities to be on site and build relationships with clients and sub-contractors.

Abi: Before my internship I hadn’t thought about office design, but it’s a lot more interesting than my initial impression! I’m not sure what industry I’d like to work in next but possibly staying in commercial design, perhaps trying restaurant design.

Izzie: I know I’d like to stay in design and build. As others have said, my initial impression of office design was that it would be quite functional but it’s more design-led and exciting than I thought.

Two designers, one woman and man choosing materials
Two women at a furniture showroom sitting on sofa

Personal growth: A transformational journey

How has a year in industry prepared you for your final year at university?

Emily: Going back to university it will be good to be able to apply my practical experience to a theoretical approach. I think the hands-on experience managing dynamics with colleagues, clients, deadlines and budgets are invaluable for future study and work.

Joe: I’ve had a chance to really get to grips with the skills we originally learned at university, such as CAD or Adobe software. As Emily said, the chance to put our theoretical knowledge into practice has been a great opportunity.

Abi: I am happy going back to university feeling confident with CAD and knowing more about the sustainability aspect of design. Although we learned about it briefly at university, I think I understand more about the lifecycle of materials now. I have also improved my time management and communication skills which will be important for my final year.

Izzie: I feel a lot more confident in a few ways; I am more proficient with using design software and more comfortable communicating with clients and pitching my ideas. I am excited I can take inspiration from my time at Peldon Rose that I can implement into my university work and beyond.

What will you miss most?

Emily: I’ll miss the people here the most, all of the characters and personalities that make Peldon Rose. Everyone is always happy to help. Social events like our annual Kick Off at the start of the financial year and the Christmas Party are memorable as it’s nice to connect with people and talk about things outside of work.

Joe: I’ll miss the friendly environment. There isn’t a single person you can’t go and have a chat with. Work can be challenging, but the environment and the people make it so much better. My favourite memory was the annual Peldon Rose ski trip, it was a really different experience where I was able to build stronger relationships and interact with people I might not see every day.

Abi: I’ll miss the people and Sterling House; the office is such a social hub that feels homely and welcoming. I think my favourite moment was the Christmas Party as it was my first formal work event. Or weekly Friday drinks playing Jenga with everyone. I think the small moments are the ones you hold onto.

Izzie: As everyone has already said, I’ll miss the social aspect and seeing the friendly faces. One of my favourite memories is at a supplier event where we attended a seminar on colour theory and of course the annual Kick Off event!

What advice would you give to the future design interns?

Emily: My advice would be to get involved as time flies by! Don’t stress about making mistakes, everyone wants to help you learn and grow. It’s fine to be nervous, it shows you care about what you do.

Joe: Put yourself out there and build those better relationships by going one step further in everything you do. Get the most out of the year but enjoy it!

Abi: Without a doubt, make the most of it! Go to all the furniture tours and get involved with as many projects as you can. It’s a time to learn about design and the workplace. It’s not always the hard skills like learning software but also learning the softer skills like communication. Explore all your options and find what you like doing.

Izzie: If I could go back and give myself advice even, I would say to get involved and go to as many events and workshops as possible. Most importantly though I would say don’t be afraid to ask questions, you’re here to learn and everyone wants to help you.

Finally, if you could sum up your year in one word?

Emily: Eye-opening!
Joe: Memorable!
Abi: Stunning!
Izzie: Unforgettable!

Peldon Rose offers design internships to undergraduate students each year, providing the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and develop their skills during their time with us. We thank Emily, Joe, Abi and Izzie for their work here and wish them luck for their future!

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A group of people drinking a beer in London in the summer, smiling for a photograph.
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