How I bagged my job: Former Textile Design student Katie Fairfull now works in the Automotive Industry

We meet Glasgow Clyde College alumnus Katie Fairfull as she shares her story about making it in the textile industry…

Why did you choose to come to Glasgow Clyde College?
I came straight from school to do a portfolio prep course; I initially thought I wanted to go to art school, but after the portfolio course I realised that I wanted to try out either fashion design or fashion textiles. I loved my textiles course at College and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in design. The lecturers are so experienced and skilled and they have lots of contacts and ideas about how you could move into the industry.

Have you always been interested in Textile Design?
I’ve always been fascinated by design in general, at school I enjoyed art and I knew I wanted to go into something creative. As I progressed in my course I became more and more interested in textile design and when I graduated from Glasgow Clyde College I knew I wanted to continue studying in this field.

Photography by Angus Forbes

So what happened after you graduated from Glasgow Clyde College?
Glasgow Clyde College has such great links with universities that I wanted to take advantage of this. I was successful in my application to Herriot Watt University and managed to get directly into 3rd year of the 4 year degree course.

At university you were very successful; tell us more about this…
I was awarded an all-expenses paid, two-week work placement with Bute Fabrics. This was a great experience and it made me excited and motivated to find more work placements.

I realise how valuable the placement really was and I think contributed to me winning the Society of Dyer’s Colourist award in my third year. Shortly after I attended the Internship Exhibition and was approached by Lovat Mill Hawick, they really liked my work and offered me an interview for an internship but it didn’t really fit with what I was looking to move into.

However, during the interview they mentioned that my design might be best suited to a company called Transcal, who designed textiles for automotives. I chanced my arm and sent them an email and ended up being offered a full-time paid Summer internship. I became Transcal’s youngest design team member and first ever intern.

What happened next after you graduated?
The day after graduating I was contacted by my former boss at Transcal, wondering if I’d be interested in returning as their Summer intern.
I was delighted to accept the position as a Colour and Materials Designer, specialising in automotive. I am now only one year after graduating and truly feel like part of a team and it is in a job that didn’t even exist to apply for.

What advice would you give future graduates?
If I can offer any advice as a recent graduate to a future graduate, it would be the good old saying, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’, and I would note how important it is to never underestimate yourself…if you ever want a job (or experience) with a certain company, why not just ask them?