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Case Study: Gemma Louise Chambers

I decided to study with the National Design Academy after looking into various interior design courses.  I decided that studying from home, payment options and flexible deadlines were my priority along with the option to take breaks from studying.

As I was renovating my Victorian house and working one full time job plus another part time job I didn’t want to start something I wouldn’t be able to complete.  I wanted to do a creative course that would give me ideas and motivation for my renovation project so started with the Interior Design Diploma.  I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t hesitate to sign up for the Foundation Degree straight after completing it.

I had previously studied accounting on and off but never become fully qualified as the coursework didn’t inspire me and was really tough going, however, the interior design course was the complete opposite. There was no pressure of exams and I was enjoying studying something that really interested me.  I looked forward to the next project and had to tear myself away in the evenings to get some dinner.  I didn’t know where I would take my accounting experience and interior design qualification but that didn’t matter at the time as I was just happy to be expanding my knowledge.

The virtual learning studio is great and the next best thing to a classroom environment.  Better actually, as no-one cares if you message them in your pyjamas.  I was able to extend deadlines to suit me, as other work pressures took over but I managed to complete the Diploma then the Foundation Degree in three years.

I got the job I have now, purely by searching local companies with any element of Interior Design and asking if they needed an accountant.  I eventually contacted a publishing company that produces Interior Design and Architectural trade magazines.  I convinced the MD that I had a unique skill set that could benefit his company and he gave me a chance.  I’ve been here a year now and have just been promoted.  My first task as Business and Finance Manager is to re-launch Interior Design Today into WHSmiths as a consumer magazine.  As I have theoretical knowledge of the interior design industry but no practical experience this project is perfect for me to build on what I know.  I get to read press releases for amazing new products.  Go to exhibitions.  Interview designers. So I’m still learning about the industry and something new amazes me every day.  And I get to be creative and be an accountant.

The NDA qualification definitely opened up this unique opportunity for me.  Anthony’s (NDA’s Director of Studies) presentations are really inspiring if you can get to one, and the workshops are great for learning essential skills but also meeting other students at different stages along the course and helping each other out.  I haven’t ruled out doing the BA but for now my new job is keeping me busy enough.  I would definitely recommend an NDA qualification to anyone wanting a qualification in an artistic/creative field regardless of your work experience or lack of interior design knowledge.

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