I’m so sad that i’ve been AWOL for the past few weeks, it just all got a bit much! However, I have now finished my personal training course and am qualified, which means I have my weekends back!
Although I am now personal training part time, my full time career aspiration is still to be a fashion buyer, and as I approach the end of my years placement at Debenhams, I thought it apt to reflect on my experience in the industry I’ve always aspired to be a part of!
As part of my degree at London College of Fashion, I had the option to undertake a years placement in industry. Like many other fashion students, I automatically looked straight to companies such as ASOS, which captivate my interest, and my wallet. However, I also applied to Debenhams and was lucky enough to be offered a position as a Trainee Assistant Buyer on Women’s Accessories.
I’d always wanted to work in buying but other than a short term internship at Accessorize, I hadn’t had much luck. For those of you who are also students juggling working and studying to support yourselves, I’m sure you feel my pain in how hard it can be to get your foot in the door of corporate head offices! Nowadays even internship’s require experience within the field you are applying for, so where do you start?
I can honestly say that this placement has been the best thing I have ever done for my career so far and I would 100% recommend it to any student.. if you have the option, take it! Student work placements are a great way to gain that much needed experience by fully living and breathing the role for a whole year. At Debenhams, I haven’t been treated like an intern, but have been immersed into the industry and have had the same role and responsibilities as permanent staff. For example, I have been the trainee assistant buyer on watches and jewellery, which has meant I am wholly responsible for TAB responsibilites on this area, rather than being an extra helping hand to an already existing employee.
I’ve been able to take part or observe all elements of the buying cycle and have loved helping to build ranges and facilitating their progress from development stage into complete products in store. You really start to feel a sense of ownership watching styles hit down in stores which you had a part in.
Debenhams has been great for me in terms of my personal development also as they offer a wealth of behavioural courses which develop the skills needed to succeed in fashion or really in any business environment. It has taught me that although academic and creative skills are indeed important, it is how you present yourself and how you are perceived which can make or break your successes, especially in an industry as competitive as this.
The company culture at Debenhams is great, it is not overly corporate and the people are all so friendly and sociable, so you get to fully integrate into the community. The one downside of a placement year is that, if you’re anything like me, having to leave and go back to Uni after finally doing a job you love, can be quite depressing!
Working in fashion is definitely intense and you have to be willing to work hard and just bounce back from the difficult days. More importantly though, you have to be passionate about what you do, as this will make all the admin and running around involved in entry level positions worth it.
What are your opinions/ experiences with internships?