Homeware design Intern at Marks & Spencer

Internship (1-4 Months)
Paddington Central London and City
Review Date
£18,000 - £19,999
Design Graphic Design Product Design/Industrial Design


The Role



The Role

1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?

I have really enjoyed this internship for a number of reasons. The structure of the internship balances a set learning structure and some more "typical" intern work with the opportunity to have self-directed learning in any area I wanted to learn about. In order to try and figure out what I want to do as a future career I came into this internship wanting to learn about as many different design areas as possible and my line manager was good in discussing this with me and setting up a plan for my time here which would given me a broad overview of different departments.


2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?

I think working within a smaller team was helpful in allowing me to be integrated and feel valued as part of the team. It meant that I could easily talk to and ask questions to anyone on the team and ask for help if I needed it. Furthermore I worked with smaller departments which matched my skills and previous experience better so I could be more useful.


3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?

I was provided a lot of support from both my line manager and my buddy. This format of having both buddy and a line manager allowed me to have more general meetings with my line manager about how the internship was going and the plan for my time here and also more one-on-one daily guidance from my buddy. Both my line manager and buddy were very friendly and took the time to make sure I was getting on ok throughout.


4. How busy were you on a daily basis?

I found the first week (of 2 months) was a bit slow moving and I didn't have a lot to do, perhaps because they wanted me to get settled and feel comfortable before loading too much work on. However I found I was busier and more occupied once I got my personal project in the second week. This project runs alongside day-to-day work and meant that if I had completed a task and had a lull between jobs I could work on this personal project which spanned the whole 8 weeks.


5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?

I was given a fair amount of responsibility throughout this internship and was assigned tasks which would be actually useful for the department. The 8-week project which I was assigned may not go into manufacture but it is certainly relevant to things the company is looking at designing so it might be taken forward or developed further.


6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

The skills I learnt throughout this internship can be applied to my degree studies and future careers. Some of it was more vocational such as software and design skills but we were also provided a training course throughout the internship to gain career and management skills. There training sessions can be applied to every stage of my future career.

I think the most useful thing which I have taken from this internship is an understanding of which fields and areas I am interested in within design as before this I was not certain which area I would want to go into (i.e innovation, aesthetic design, small products, furniture etc.) Following my final year I now know what careers I will be looking at.


The Organisation

7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?

The general atmosphere in the office is friendly and creative. Communication and discussion between departments is facilitated in the open plan flexible nature of the office. I am however glad that the department I was in was not using hot desks like some other departments as I felt more comfortable and settled having a assigned desk to keep my things and come to in the morning.


8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?

Once I got into the internship the organisation from the design team was fantastic however I think that within HR there was a lack of effective communication and organisation before the internship. I was not put in contact with my line manager previous to the first day and it also took them 3 months to get back to me initially about an interview and then another 2 months to get back to me about being successful.


9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

I felt the company was very good in setting up both a set out development programme for the whole intern cohort and a personal development plan for myself. The personal development plan was centred around what I wanted to learn about whereas the general development scheme was centred around learning general skills in "training" days.

I found the training days very useful so it might be useful to have more of these throughout the 2 month period.


10. What were the perks on your work placement?

  • Flexi Time
  • Subsidised Canteen
  • Company Parties/Events
  • Staff Sales/Staff Shop
  • Working from home

11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?

The future employment prospects within the organisation are limited due to it being quite a small department. Openings only arise when there is a position needed within a design department. From what HR stated it would be case of keeping an eye out for grad scheme openings next year which may or may not fall within your specialty.



12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?

The internship scheme made it so we all had people in a similar situation to socialise with. The whole group of interns were very close and had lunch together and went out in the evenings together. I also had lunch and out of hours social activities with the design team.


13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?

Unfourtunately due to the location of the offices in central London the area was very expensive. The internship was well paid so I was able to afford rent but the cost of living was very high so it is expensive to have a social life. However transport links are really good to the office so many interns were able to save money by commuting from home.


14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?

London in general has a very good nightlife scene however the corporate area the office was situated in does not have much of a nightlife scene, just overpriced restaurants.


15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?

There were plenty of opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work, particular examples were a team boat trip and drinks after work.