Hugh Baird degree student beats 9,000 applicants to secure Next role

Hugh Baird College graduate Kristy Ford has landed a double success after securing a first on her BA (hons) degree course and winning a job at the head office of retail giant Next.

The 20-year-old from Lancaster has been a star of the Bootle-based college's Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design Higher Education course for some time.

Earlier this year college principal Yana Williams revealed she had been crowned the Judges Choice in the third year degree show after pitching her design proposal to both academic and industry experts.

By then however Kristy was already planning her future. When she won the award she and her course tutors had already started working to prepare her to take on 9,000 applicants from across the UK competing for graduate job’s within Next. The applicants were competing for trainee roles within fashion and interior buying.

“Kristy has shown real flair in a class full of talent over the past three years,” said Ms Williams. “Monitoring and predicting trends is a very difficult thing to get right.

“To be consistently successful and to secure such a sought after job a matter of weeks after the course has ended is extraordinary. We are so proud to have been able to help Kristy. Hugh Baird has a strong record of getting our learners and students into employment and Kristy is more evidence of that. We work hard will all our learners to help them understand what employers expect and how they can best position themselves to secure a job they really want.”

With the advice of her college tutors, Kristy planned thoroughly for the lengthy interview process.

“It started in January when my application was accepted,” said Kristy. “I then had to take timed verbal reasoning and numeracy tests. After that I had to do video responses to set questions using mood boards. A 20 minute phone interview came next where I had to demonstrate my knowledge of the latest and forthcoming trends before I was invited with seven other candidates to an assessment centre.”

Two days after the assessment centre Kristy was told she has successfully gained a position as a trainee interior buyer. She credited the support of Hugh Baird College for helping her rise to the challenge.

“When I applied for the role I sat down with my lecturers and they prepared me for what I would face in the interview process. They have worked in the industry before becoming lecturers so they know exactly what companies are looking for. Without Hugh Baird College I would never have been able to achieve this. The Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design course is so diverse. We covered fashion, retail, interiors, architecture, photography and that allowed students to follow the path that most suited them."


The degree class of 2013 at Hugh Baird College included two other graduates who received firsts. Marc Bailey, who is a full-time computer-aided design tutor on the course, applied design skills to create a travel brand. Joining the first class graduates this year was Sharon Hay, who despite working full time alongside the course was able to devise a campaign to launch a re-branding of a major high street retailer.

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