A determination to learn the footwear industry ropes has paid off for a University of Northampton graduate, who has landed a coveted role with retail giant Marks & Spencer.
Tiffany Ruff combined her studies on the Footwear degree course with a raft of internships, work experience and paid roles in the fashion industry – and within a year of graduating, she accepted a job at M&S’s London headquarters as a graduate assistant footwear technologist.
“Sometimes I still cannot believe I have such an amazing job, with such a huge company,” said Tiffany.
“But, it shows that if you put in the extra effort to learn how the industry works when you’re still at University, your CV is going to stand out.
“Together with what I learnt on the course, I felt I was totally prepared for working in the real world when I graduated.
“My tutor, Chris Hill, also opened my eyes to how many different types of roles there are in footwear, as I was, like most people, thinking just about designing roles when I went to uni. But the technology side of things is massive – it’s fascinating to me, and so I feel I have the perfect job with M&S.”
Tiffany’s graduate role covers a variety of aspects of the footwear process, including researching sustainable materials and coming up with innovative ways to make a certain shoe design fit comfortably. She also gets to liaise with buyers and designers – something the self-confessed people person loves to do.
“I’m so lucky to work with such a nice group of people with so much knowledge, it’s the perfect learning environment for me,” said Tiffany, who comes from Chesham, Buckinghamshire.
“My graduate role lasts for 18 months, and I am learning as much as I can. The company has invested so much time in training me, I’m settled here and hope to have a bright future with M&S.
“We have a new CEO with some ambitious plans – such as making M&S a zero-waste business and ensuring all our key raw materials come from sustainable sources. It’s an exciting time to be here.”
Find out more about the University’s Footwear degree on the course page.