Whilst studying my last module at university, I started to apply for jobs for the summer and with no success and a few misleading job descriptions, I decided to bite the bullet and apply for work experience.
I emailed companies upon companies that specialised in event design and production and emailed my CV to all of them. Just when I thought I had no success, I had an email from the head of recruitment – Bettina Bastow – from an event design and production company, Event Concept and Veevers Carter. (Event Concept was the event production and Veevers Carter supplied the floral designs for events – they are sister companies that work in the same warehouse.)
Firstly, she asked to see my portfolio and then my availability for work experience and it all started from there. They agreed they would pay for my travel expenses but not my lunch expenses, and I was to start on the 2nd June and work there for 6 weeks.
My first week at Event Concept and Veevers Carter was hectic – I have never worked in an environment like it! It was completely different from a university environment and I was literally thrown in the deep end but I was capable and learnt quickly. This first week allowed me to speak with real clients and suppliers, which was a real eye-opener for me, and isn’t something that can be taught at university.
The following week allowed me to spend time in the Veevers Carter warehouse and I was allowed to participate with the construction of a 12x18ft union jack made only from flowers. They then allowed me go and watch the setup and to make touch-ups to the flag, and although I’ve never worked with flowers before, I surprised myself with how at ease I was with them! My mentor even commented on this, which was a huge compliment. I then participated in an event at a museum which was very exciting because I got to see how fast the Event Concept team worked, as we only had 45 minutes setup time before the guests arrived. I loved every minute of it!
Although I was interested in stage design and production because of my university course, work experience at Veevers Carter was an eye-opener for me. I never thought floral design would be an interest of mine but I started researching about different types of flowers and the floral mechanics behind it. I even started investigating and developing my own ideas at home and asking the other senior designers how they got into floral design. This is where I started developing a strong interest in becoming a floral designer. I think this is what caught the attention of my mentor, Tabitha (the Senior Production Designer), because I was always looking at their portfolio – both staging and production as well as their floral designs – as well as investigating and gathering my own inspiration for moodboards.
By the fourth week, I loved every minute of it. Due to my graduation I asked if I could defer my last 2 weeks of work experience till a later date and that’s when I was offered a position as a Floral Design Assistant.
The B-KEW bursary helped me hugely because I had no income coming in, and it enabled me to gain experience within my chosen career sector. I am really grateful for the support University Of Kent have given me.
– Amber Worrall, BA Creative Events: Design and Production