Getting your first foot through the door, returning to work after unemployment or having children can at first seem a daunting prospect – but help is at hand.
Non-profit organisation Work Avenue has assisted thousands of clients in finding long-term employment, as well as helped fledgling companies get off the ground, since it was founded 11 years ago.
With a notable reputation as the community’s leading employment and business charity, Work Avenue provides opportunities for everyone, at any life stage, in any situation, to become financially independent and to support themselves and their families.
Following university, 21-year-old Birmingham City graduate Daniella Freeman found Work Avenue invaluable in helping her pursue a fashion career.
Name: Daniella Freeman
Role: Buyers Admin
Assistant at Ted Baker
Tell us about your educational background
I studied at St Helen’s School for Girls and moved to The Royal Masonic School for Girls in the sixth form. This enabled me to study the subjects
I had always wanted to do, including photography and textile design. I became deputy head girl at RMS, building my confidence and enabling me to raise money by organising events for the school’s chosen charity. After attaining A*, A and A at A-level, I received an unconditional offer at Birmingham City University to study Textile Design with Retail Management.
I graduated with a high 2:1 and obtained the Industry Research Award. I experienced two years of education in design including weaving, knitting, printing and specialising in embroidery. I then went on to study fashion business in my third year, looking at fashion buying techniques, fashion marketing and writing my dissertation on: “Is there public demand for modest clothing on the UK High Street?”
Did you attend a Work Avenue event? If so, which one?
I attended a Work Avenue event in April 2017 after a day of lectures at university. I decided to go along as I believe that networking is the main way to secure a job. I spoke to someone from Google and some marketing companies and managed to slot in a meeting with the Ted Baker recruitment/ resourcing team, who were a delight to talk to and encouraged me to apply for Ted’s Extraordinary Diploma. While I always had an interest in the Ted Baker fashion brand, I was not aware this type of scheme existed. Further research into this scheme enabled me to fully understand what it was about and persuaded me to apply.
Before attending this event, what had you done to secure employment?
I knew I was interested in the fashion industry but the graduate placement schemes on offer were not so appealing to me. I also found I did not have enough time to focus on getting my degree at the same time as doing online tests, so knew it would be best to complete my degree before I made a serious attempt to apply for my first full-time job. I applied for some Jewish charitable positions, but in doing so it became more and more evident that my passion was for fashion.
How did this event help your career development?
The event proved to me that there are many different ways of securing employment. It is important to use every avenue possible and not simply (if you are a graduate) apply for graduate schemes. The event reinforced my views that networking, showing determination, perseverance and a willingness to work from the bottom upwards are as important as the nature of your qualifications. In particular, this event introduced me to Ted Baker’s graduate placement scheme which I was not aware of, and by following through with an application for this, I was able to secure a different full-time job with Ted Baker.
How did Work Avenue help/guide you after the event?
I have been fortunate that my initial contact with Work Avenue immediately led to my first job and so I have not yet needed further guidance. However, I would like to go to some more events to continue developing further necessary skills for the work place.
For more details about how Work Avenue can help you, visit theworkavenue.org.uk