Work experience: Meet Emily Bewes
This month we had the pleasure of having Nottingham University student, Emily Bewes, complete her work experience with us.
Emily is currently completing her undergraduate degree in History of Art, and she wanted to find out more about what it is like to work in interior design.
We sat down with Emily to discuss her experience, what her favourite activity was and if she sees a future in interior design.
How did you hear about COEL and how did you get the work experience at COEL?
I’ve been aware of COEL for a while as I’ve been seeing COEL’s branding around Cambridge. When I saw online that COEL have an apprenticeship programme, I decided to get in touch and apply for work experience.
What made you want to get work experience in interior design and what attracted you to securing work experience at COEL?
I’ve always been interested in interior design, particularly since studying History of Art, and so wanted to find out as much as I could about it in the workplace.
I know that COEL work with a diverse range of clients, ranging from office space for corporates to laboratories and commercial retail space such as the work they have done for The Cambridge Building Society.
I thought it was a great opportunity to get a wide variety of experience and not just residential interiors or corporate offices.
You spent a week with the COEL team, what did you learn in that time? Did you find it hard at first, what activity/job role responsibility do you most enjoy?
I learnt so much about the interior design process which I didn’t appreciate before. The team were so welcoming and inclusive that I didn’t find it hard – just really interesting.
I enjoyed the site visits and meeting the various clients and people involved in projects the most.
What advice would you give to someone your age who was thinking about going into Interior Design and contemplating work experience?
I would say it’s definitely worth it, even if you discover it’s not the right industry for you. It’s such a great experience and so interesting to learn about the different materials and the process involved in creating such incredible spaces.
Emily’s schedule included
✅ Site visits
✅ Office work
✅ Individual project
✅ Her own flat lay
What it’s like to be part of the COEL team
How have you found working with a team?
I’ve loved working with a team – it’s a real buzz.
It was fun seeing ideas form and be taken forward and the way that challenges are worked through together. I would say there was also a good balance of teamwork and independent work, as I was given my own project to work on but also went on visits with the team.
How did you find meeting clients and having conversations with them?
It was really interesting meeting various clients and especially listening to their different needs. I really enjoyed it, in particular, when a project such as Agile Analog is revisited a year on and the client is really happy with the space.
Reflecting on the experience
What did you find most challenging and what did you find yourself most confident in doing?
I found the technical aspects such as using CAD and Photoshop challenging as I’d never used them before, but I also loved learning more about how they work.
I was most confident in working on my personal project as throughout the week through site visits, I was learning new things that I could incorporate into it.
What has been your favourite thing about your work experience week?
I’ve loved meeting all the people involved and everyone at COEL has been so welcoming and happy to share their knowledge and experience with me.
If you were to plan the work experience week for another student interested in learning more about Interior Design, are there elements of the schedule you would change/adapt or add in?
I honestly don’t think I would change anything, although if the particular person had an interest in another department, such as Finance, I would maybe suggest making it broader, so they experience other departments.
If you could sum up the work experience week in three words, what would they be?
Engaging, eye-opening and varied
What is your favourite thing to do outside of work?
I enjoy cooking and going to musicals with friends to relax and I love playing tennis in the summer and skiing in winter!
What personal ambition would you like to fulfil?
I’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand and go skydiving, perhaps I could combine the two!