Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Go Get Yourself a Sandwich; Runway Success: Gadon Liu, below Right, Who Spent a Year at a Design Studio during His Course at UEL. above, His Final-Year Show

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Go Get Yourself a Sandwich; Runway Success: Gadon Liu, below Right, Who Spent a Year at a Design Studio during His Course at UEL. above, His Final-Year Show

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH RICHARDSON

THE BEST way of proving you can do a job is to show that you've already got experience.

Degree courses that include an extra year of work experience (or language training) sandwiched between two or three years of concentrated study are growing in appeal, particularly as it becomes more important for graduates to differentiate themselves in the eyes of potential employers.

Peter Soan is principal lecturer for the Faculty of Computing Mathematics and Statistics at Kingston University, where you can take many of its undergraduate courses over four years, spending the third year gaining real industry experience.

"These used to be called 'sandwich years' but to reflect the emphasis we place on future employment, we now refer to them as professional placements," he says.

"Professional placements are real, paid jobs with employers who want to develop you and your skills; you might even go back to work for them after graduating.

You'll gain an insight into business and how it works and, as you'll be working alongside professionals of all ages and backgrounds, it will give you extra self-confidence for when you finish your degree and start your career.

And with real experience to add to your CV and talk about at interviews, it will improve your chances of getting the career that you want."

The University of East London (UEL) offers a wide range of undergraduate sandwich degrees in subjects includ- ing applied biology, business studies, civil engineering, computer games technologies, events management, interactive media and sport and exercise science.

Gadon Liu, 26, from Woolwich, has recently completed the final year of his combined honours degree in fashion design and marketing.

The four-year course gave Liu the chance to spend a placement year honing his skills as an assistant at The Collection design studio.

Earlier this month, he successfully exhibited his final-year collection at UEL's Graduate Fashion Week show.

"I'd never really heard about sandwich degrees until I went to a UEL open day," he says. "I was immediately attracted to the idea; it seemed like a fantastic way to learn from successful designers and develop my own skills and creativity.

"At The Collection, I worked on everything from pattern cutting to embroidery to printing.

All my skills improved massively, along with my confidence as a designer. There's an obvious difference in quality between my final collection and my earlier work and that's largely down to my experiences during the placement.

"Showing my final collection at Graduate Fashion Week has been an amazing end to a very intense four years.

It's great that I can now start my career in design with the extra confidence that a year in the industry gave me. …

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