Daisy Whittaker, Interior Design graduate shares her story

My name is Daisy Whittaker, I am 23 years old, I studied Interior Design at University Centre South Essex from 2016 - 2019 and this is my story.

I studied 3D Design at South Essex College and was awarded a Distinction* and from this went on to study on the BA Hons Interior Design degree and graduated with a 1st Class Honours Degree. 

Since completing the course I went on to a junior designer role for Kelly Hoppen Interiors. I did this for a year before being made redundant during the pandemic.  I have since gone on to set up my own interior design company and have completed projects across the south and east of England.

My job involves a whole array of tasks.  As a business owner I not only design for clients, liaise with them and present to them, I also market my business, deal with finances and fellow business owners.

I chose to study here because the course was accredited by University of the Arts London which is a prestigious design school. I was also familiar with the lecturer (having been taught by her briefly on my college degree) and was confident in the level of skill I would be learning from her. 

From a practical view it is more cost effective than going to university in London (UAL) as the fees are less being outside of the capital and also travel & accommodation is cheaper whilst still gaining the same degree, knowledge and experience.

It helped me prepare for the workplace because we did a lot of work experience which was invaluable. This helped me forge strong connections and industry links as well as gaining real life experience. 

The software that we used is exactly the same as that in industry which is great. The suppliers that we met with and furniture brands are also the same so having some of that knowledge proved really valuable in interviews. My degree has also prepared me with general knowledge about the running of the industry, day-to-day life in the workplace, presentation skills, knowledge on suppliers, how to deal with clients and how to market yourself.

Setting up my own company and organically gaining over six projects in my first six months has been fantastic and in the future, I would like to have jobs booked in up to a year in advance as well as having more overseas projects.  

People are always really impressed that you have studied to a higher degree especially having been awarded a 1st Class honours degree. The experience and knowledge I gained were excellent and I would not be able to run my business without them.

Hearing my name being called at graduation and everyone applauding my 1st class degree was certainly one of the highlights of my university journey. My time at the college and the university centre helped me to grow my confidence and speak in front of others which is an essential tool for running my business.