Tell me about your job…
I am the founder of designing futures, which is a consultancy offering strategy coaching to businesses, individuals and young people; in some cases the coaching turns into live projects afterwards to support the aims of the person or entity I am working with.
How did you come to be involved with the design industry?
My education was in textile design, but I did not practice design after graduating from university. But around 10 years ago I set up a social enterprise called OUT OF THE DARK, which was based on teaching young people dying furniture crafts as a means to encourage them away from a life of crime. This enterprise was how I got back into the design and interiors industry, through selling the furniture we designed and finished at shows and London interiors and lifestyle shops.
What would be your top advice to young people pursuing a career in the design and crafts industries?
I would suggest they do lots and lots of work experience and internships from when they even start their foundation course! This will allow them to understand the industry, see where they want to be, and develop a network to help them get a job when they graduate.
In your line of work, is there a significant gender gap, why do you think this might be the case?
I work mostly with males, it seems more men go into construction and commercial interiors; there are quite a lot of schemes to try and change this, but I think there is still a long way to go. I think the industry is more hands on, and due to this traditionally being a more male tendency to work, there have always been more males entering into the industry.
How do you think employers could make themselves more appealing to young women, particularly for workshop-based jobs?
I believe they could aim to take on more female interns to help balance the workforce, but that might end up being positive discrimination so it is tricky. I think firstly colleges and universities need to encourage more females to apply so there are more females wanting to join the sector.