Designing the future: Insights from this year's outgoing interns

A year ago, we had the pleasure of welcoming four talented design interns to Peldon Rose. Over the past 12 months, Ella Dodd, Isla Grelak, Rukshana Begum, and Lota Njelita have not only immersed themselves in the world of design but also built strong relationships within our team and with our clients. Their fresh perspectives and creative ideas have been invaluable, contributing to some of our most exciting projects. As they prepare to embark on the next stage of their careers, we want to reflect on their journey and celebrate their achievements. Here's a look back at their remarkable year with us.

Ella and Isla, how has a year in industry prepared you for your final year at university?

Ella: Above all, the internship has made me more confident in myself. When you’re in a university hall, what you learn is so conceptual, so going out into the industry means you have to learn how things are made, how features are built and the process behind it. My experiences pitching to clients gave me confidence in my personal design style, too.

Isla: In so many ways! The main thing I’ve developed is my technological skills with software like Photoshop. Now having been in the thick of it, getting to know the process has helped me to understand the ‘why’ behind the design, and given me a perspective on design in general that I didn’t have before.

Rukshana, you’ve accepted a permanent role at Peldon Rose. What are you looking forward to in the next 12 months?

Rukshana: I’m looking forward to growing further into my role and gaining more knowledge. Every day I’m becoming more self-assured in my role as a Graduate Technical Designer and am taking on more of my own projects.

What project during your internship are you most proud of, and why?

E: I’m most proud of our work with one of our charity clients. It was the first project I was brought onto, and was an extra special project because it’s for people who do excellent work for a great cause. It was my first experience pitching and we won it. It was terrifying, but so rewarding!

I: We worked with a lifestyle retail client to create a future-forward workplace. I actively contributed to the design of the beauty bar and custom third floor. The project led to another opportunity in Leeds, and when a colleague left, I took over the meetings and was completely immersed, feeling like an integral part of the team. My opinions were valued, and I was empowered to make decisions due to my strong involvement in the project.

R: One of my first SME projects was an American insurance software firm, based out of California but with offices worldwide. I was lucky enough to be the lead designer for the first time. I was making the decisions and the team around me were asking me what to do! It was fast-paced, but I loved every moment.

Lota: My first project was Utility Warehouse - I saw the project through from submission to completion, and it was rewarding to see my contributions come to life in the physical space. The client put trust in me as the point of contact, and was so happy with the final result. I did a lot of learning on the job and it’s the project that helped build my confidence as a designer the most.

How has your internship prepared you for your future careers?

E: Peldon Rose is a great company to kick off your career. I learned so much in such a short period of time, and get to see a lot more of the process than I would have in a traditional setting. It shows you how to be fast paced, and you’re given a lot of responsibility right off the bat!

I: The experience you gain before even securing a role is invaluable and being able to say I’ve spent a year at a reputable company like Peldon Rose is going to help massively with future opportunities. Gaining real-world practical experience before I graduate is priceless.

R: Coming into the industry, you’re really starting afresh. It’s a brand new experience where you’re consistently learning and collaborating, learning about both design-led and technical concepts – and there’s still a lot more for me to learn!

L: I've learned a lot about the many components that go into designing space. Costs, schedules and documentation are all things you don't learn in university, but that have made me skilled in process management that is translatable to future roles and will help me to progress as a designer.

What was the most surprising thing you learned about workplace design while working here?

E: I didn’t realise that people wanted or had cool offices! It’s not something you’re aware of heading into the real world, and it was motivating to see businesses investing in their people.

I: I came to Peldon Rose with no expectations, but it certainly surprised me and changed my perceptions of office design; The office can be homely, inviting and comfortable. The proof is in the spaces we create. Look at where we’re sat right now!

R: When you don’t have experience, you often think about desks when you think about offices. I learned about so many companies who do exciting things and see the value and potential of a destination workspace.

L: I hadn't ever worked in a nice or carefully designed office before, so didn't know how much of a priority wellbeing and agile working could be in the designing of offices. It was refreshing to design and experience spaces that aren't just white rooms with desks.

What is one comment or piece of advice from a mentor or colleague that had a significant impact on you?

E: In the lead up to our departure, I was talking our COO, Alan, who emphasised the value that each cohort of interns brings to the team and leaves after they’re gone. He said that the ultimate goal is to ensure every intern leaves the experience standing a little bit taller.

I: A former colleague told me to be confident in everything that you’re saying. The client trusts you. Don’t be shy, back yourself and act like you know.

R: My colleague, David, once said to me, “Nothing’s ever perfect. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and don’t be too hard on yourself.”

L: Colm, my mentor, gave me feedback and encouragement on a particular strength I hadn’t noticed in myself. There’s nothing more motivating than to have an experienced senior designer recognise and praise your ability, and take an impassioned interest in your development.

What inspired you the most throughout your internship?

E: Throughout the year, I’ve worked with a whole host of designers, each with their own ways of working, different approaches and unique perspectives. It’s been eye-opening to see such a variety of design styles and personalities together in the same design studio.

I: So many things! Going on site has been the most inspiring; Seeing completed projects and watching our work (my work!) come to life. As well, working with Georgia and the other senior designers, seeing how talented they are and how far they’ve come, assures me that I can be that good one day. It’s super inspiring.

R: The first PC I went to was Hampshire Trust Bank. I’d seen it being built, and was stunned at how quickly we can turn around a project of that scale and detail.

L: I stayed inspired by keeping up with all forms of design discipline; Online, in magazines and journals, or things I see when I'm out and about. Talking and collaborating with other designers and getting to see how they work, what makes them tick and how they approach and fulfil the goals and visions of our clients.

How did the culture at Peldon Rose enhance your internship experience?

E: This was a hugely important aspect of our experience. The opportunity to socialise with people outside of my team was invaluable. These events both in outside of work are pivotal to forging new connections and creating bonds outside of mutual projects.

I: Massively. When I talk about the culture to my friends and family, they’re stunned. It’s one of the biggest things I’m going to miss. There’s always something to look forward to, and to be able to socialise away from our work makes the experience that much more special.

R: Everyone is so friendly here. As an intern, you’re not sure what to expect coming into a new workplace. I met so many people in the first couple of weeks who made the effort to be kind, helpful and inquisitive. I settled in very quickly.

L: It’s nice to go to work and know that you have friends and colleagues around you to have fun with. As a team we work incredibly hard, but we also have a culture that brings us opportunities to socialise, rest, have fun and experience new things.

The image features a young designer eating an ice cream in a furniture show room

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at the start of your internship?

E: I’d tell myself to ask for help all the time. No question is a stupid question, and everyone wants to help you to reach your full potential. Immerse yourself and do as much as you can.

I: You’re going to make mistakes. You’re on a learning journey, you’re human. Give yourself a bit of grace and know that mistakes are part of the path to success.

R: You’re more capable than you think! Believe in your abilities.

L: There’s no need to be worried. It's going to be lots of fun and you'll learn so much!

What was the most fun or memorable moment you experienced during your internship?

E: Paddy’s Day was so fun. We had a ball pit, a ‘Pour Your Own Pint’ Guinness tap and Irish dancers. Everyone got into it and we had lots of fun!

I: I loved the Christmas Party, it was so special. The beautiful invitations, the magnificent venue, being welcomed in with a drink. I remember putting my dress on and thinking, ‘How am I a student and getting to experience this opportunity?’ It was so special.

R: I loved Taco Night! We had a freshly made taco station, and a Mariachi band. I had fun getting to know everyone in a relaxed setting after work.

L: The annual Ski Trip. It was my first time skiing and it was a meaningful opportunity the do something that I may have otherwise had to wait longer to experience.

Ella, Isla and Lota, what will you miss most about working at Peldon Rose?

E: I’ll definitely miss the people; my team, Isla, Lota and Rukshana and everyone at Peldon Rose. I’ll also miss the structure of having a team and working with people that support routine.

I: Firstly, the people. Over the last year, I’ve created relationships with so many people. Every day is filled with happy vibes, and my colleagues put a huge smile on my face. I’ve also enjoyed seeing my own personal progression and development, always learning and soaking everything up. Being in the industry is the best way to learn, and boy, have I learned a lot.

L: More than anything else, I’ll miss the people. I’ve met people at Peldon that I’ll stay in touch with for a long time to come.

If you could sum up the last 12 months in one word, what would it be?

E: Unforgettable
I: Lasting
R: Beginning
L: Fulfilling

Detail shot of brown terazzo worktop with brown leather seating

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