My summer internship with Whitchurch Silk Mill

The following blog post was submitted by 2nd year BA Fashion and Textile Design student, Sywia Orynek.

I first offered to volunteer at Whitchurch Silk Mill during my first year of studies, but then decided to embark on their 6-week summer internship instead. I was especially interested in the opportunity to come up with and produce my own project during the internship, as my future goal is to start my own business, designing textiles.

The internship has benefited me a lot: I have had the opportunity to expand my knowledge of different kinds of looms, including the old Victorian ones that the Mill uses; read more about weaving and textile design from the books that are available for staff at the Mill; and most importantly, my time at the Mill has further solidified my career aspirations.

Sylwia on placement

Me sat at the loom.

Having spent time with and assisting a freelance textile designer during my placement, I have seen first-hand what is involved in running your own textile business. I now know that, next year, I want to do another internship, this time in a larger textile company, where I can learn more about the commercial aspects of textile design.

I’m excited to hear that the Faculty of Business and Law now has its dedicated Placement Office, who are there to help students with finding high-quality placement and internship opportunities.



The (difficult) first post…

The first blog post is always the most problematic: who will read it?! What should we write about?! How will we measure success? How long should it be?!

Answering the first of these questions is the most important, and for us, it’s quite easy: we’re writing this blog for current and future students interested in placement and internship opportunities, and employers of all sizes looking for ways to engage and collaborate with a diverse and intelligent student body.

The second question might not come quite so easily, so let’s introduce ourselves. The Placements Office was formed early in 2014 and since then we’ve been enjoying setting up shop, meeting a huge network of students, employers, careers practitioners, and colleagues across the University who are eager to get involved in placements, internships, and other work-based learning. You can read more about each of us here. We’re really looking forward to welcoming students back to campus in a few weeks’ time, and are delighted that 100% of our first cohort of BSc Marketing students were successful in finding a placement – well done all!

This blog will be a place to share our thoughts and experiences on work-based learning, and also a place for students to reflect on their own experiences. We welcome enquiries from anyone, whether you are a student, employer, or any other related body, who would like to submit a guest post – just get in touch!

In terms of measuring success, we’ll be keeping an eye on page views and the like, and of course welcome your comments at the bottom of posts. Our ultimate measure, though, will be our success in engaging more students and more employers in taking part in work-based learning.

How long should it be? We think this should do!

So please browse our new website, discover more about placements and their value, and let us know what you think!

We look forward to working with you,


Riikka, Rob, and Vicki

The Placements Team