#MondayMaterials Episode 4 – Amy Nicholson
Meet the Department 20th July 2015
This week the #MondayMaterials series takes a bit of a departure.
So far, we’ve been meeting with the School’s researchers, learning about their current projects and how they got to where they are today.
This week, and just a few days after the School of Materials graduation ceremony, we meet up with Amy Nicholson – someone who is currently at a much earlier stage of her career. In fact, Amy was one of our graduating students last Wednesday afternoon!
I first met Amy at the DFB degree show where she told us all about her Fair and Thrifty business project. I was impressed by the work she’d put together with her colleagues, and it was great for me to hear a student’s perspective on life in the school for the very first time.
I thought she’d be the perfect person to talk to find out more about life as a Materials undergraduate:
Hi Amy. Can you tell us what course you’ve just graduated from? And what was the best thing about your degree?
I studied Fashion Textile Retailing with Industrial Experience – which included a placement year in my 3rd year(Ed: this is and old course title, to find similar courses head to the Materials website) . I also did optional modules in clothing, which meant that I did a little bit more manufacture and a bit more design.
The best part was probably in the final year when we get to do an optional module – the business project.
You spend your final year setting up a business completely from scratch, completely your own idea.
You pick your fellow business directors so it’s completely autonomous – loads of support from the University, but really you direct your own learning and it’s all something you can really show off at interviews and stuff like that.
How did the School of Materials help you get through your four years of study?
Well, going back to my third year again, my placement year, they were very supportive of finding you placements and contacts in the industry. That was really positive.
And it was the same in final year – they’re really encouraging of providing you with help from the Careers Service and having that point of contact.
They really help you with your progression through university life.
And what about the facilities? What did you use as part of your course?
Yeah, so the facilities are very good. We’ve got the sewing labs which were particularly important for the pathway that I chose to do.
You’ve got industrial machines of all different sorts and sizes. So, you can create your own garments on those and then there’s the – goodness there’s all sorts – there’s the dye labs, knitting, weaving labs, Mac suites, laser cutters, 3D printers.
You can pretty much take advantage of all those facilities. If you’ve got a special interest in one of those areas, all you have to do is contact the relevant person and get involved with that.
So yeah, it’s really impressive.
What was your best memory from your time here at Manchester?
Goodness – that’s not an easy one. My best memory?
I think it’s kind of just campus life – the buildings are beautiful – and just having your own time to explore a bit. Just feeling part of a really established institution.
There’s lots of buzz going on and loads of really exciting new things going on around the city. I think that is what I’ll really take away.
If you could go back to the beginning of your degree now, is there anything you’d do differently?
I would probably take a year out abroad.
I did my placement year, but there was also an option to go abroad in third year and see some other countries and see what their teaching style is like. See their facilities and do a bit of a comparison in that respect.
I know people who went to Hong Kong and Sweden and it just sounded like a really enriching year. So I would probably say, yeah, choose that.
Sounds like good advice to me. Do you have any other tips for next year’s Manchester freshers?
I’d say try to avoid the freshers’ clubs and try and find something a bit more interesting to do!
There’s loads of stuff to explore – like, arts wise and loads of different free gigs and stuff like that to get into.
On that note, can you tell us a bit about your interests outside of study? What did you like to do in your free time while you were here?
Wherever possible, I tried to use my long summer holidays to go travelling.
After my first year I went to Majorca and worked there for 3 months. After second year I worked down in London. And after 3rd year I went to Central America.
It’s a great opportunity to use a couple of months and forget about uni – to just explore some different parts of the world. Some new languages, new cultures.
Yeah, so that’s mostly how I liked to spend my time off.
And now for a nice easy one to end on. What’s next for you? What do you have planned?
So I’m hoping to work for some kind of trend-forecasting agency that works with brands and makes recommendations on marketing policies and what products they should be going after.
So really keeping an eye on what’s going on in the market and what are the new and up-coming trends, and then feeding that information back to brands they work with, in a sort of consultancy role.
That’s what I’m hoping to do!
Well best of luck with that, Amy! Sounds exciting. And thank you for the interview – it’s great to get the inside scoop from one of our students.
And while we’re here, I’d like to congratulate all the Materials graduates. I just about remember my own ceremony and it was a great feeling.
That’s it for episode 4 – thanks again for reading and be sure to come back in two weeks time.