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BA (Hons) Interior Design student Camilla found herself a work placement with Village Group Ltd, a design practice based in Rwanda, and discovered that there's truth in the idea of 'learning on the job'.

Sequence of photos showing Camilla Ndahiro with staff at Village Group Ltd; one of her lamp post designs and the Village Group sign

"In order to truly learn, you will have to work. Some go as far as to say that you don’t really learn anything until you begin working. I say, the sooner the better. I had a great experience, was given a reasonable amount of responsibility but, most importantly, I had a voice. My work placement has made me more confident in not only myself but also my work. I would definitely recommend it to any student studying any degree to do a work placement or two before they graduate.

"Doing the placement was advantageous in the sense that I got the opportunity to use what I had learnt in a classroom on real-world projects. Being able to interact with clients taught me how to communicate with a 'non-designer', which in turn has made me more conscious about creating work that is self-explanatory and can be read by anyone.

"I learnt how to take into consideration the client, their requests and work culture to design a customised proposal. I also learnt that the client is not always right, and how to be polite and professional when letting them know.

"First place I looked to was people I knew; I asked around if anyone knew of any good interior design or architect companies. After hearing about Village Group LTD, I got my sister to visit the office in Rwanda and get the founders’ contact details. I emailed him my C.V., cover letter and portfolio, asking if they would be able to create an opening for a work placement over the summer, and I got the job.

"I was impressed by the fact that most of the employees at Village were under the age of 35. It made me more confident in getting a job after graduation, and the atmosphere in the office was so laid back and welcoming, which made it easy to get up in the mornings.

"The work placement helped me see what working as an interior designer is really like: attaining information on how to begin a project, the steps it needs to take during development and watching it until the end gave me a wonderful perspective on what is to come. My intentions were to get experience in the field and that is exactly what I got. I believe having participated in the work placement will be a bonus on my C.V. and has made me more confident in my abilities as a designer."

Find out more about our BA (Hons) Interior Design