A North East student who achieved top marks in her degree has designs on the fashion industry after securing a job before graduating from university.
Kate Balbach graduated this week from her Fashion Product and Promotion course at the University of Sunderland, and is already working as a designer with AMA Group Ltd, a Country Durham based manufacturer providing clothes for Tesco’s F&F range.
The 23-year-old from Sunderland, who received First Class Honours, was put forward for the role by her academic tutor, after the company advertised for someone interested in jerseys, which Kate had produced for her final collection.
She said: “I went for the interview on the Friday, found out I got the job on the Monday, and started on the Tuesday. It’s been great, it is my dream job.
“I have become a lot more confident and independent during my study. I remember when I was younger I went for a college interview and took my mam because I was so scared to go by myself. It’s amazing how far I’ve come.
“My dream was always to become a fashion designer, now it’s not a dream anymore I get to have it as my career.”
Kate was always determined to stay in the North East, but as her confidence grows she can see new possibilities ahead of her, and is grateful that the course prepared her so well for working in the fashion industry, including her now regular trips to London as part of her job.
She added: “The course was challenging and we looked at all the different areas of fashion. My tutors were always supportive and pushed us to become better.
“It is crazy how fast paced the industry is. In my job I can be asked to do pages and pages of design in a day, and I would never have been able to do it without the help of my tutors pushing me throughout University.
“I chose Sunderland because this is where I’m from and I’ve never wanted to leave my home town. I thought I would never be able to live in London because I’m such a home girl, but I really enjoy the experience so would never cross off moving there as a possibility. Who knows what will happen next!”
Kate received her First Class Honours degree at the annual summer graduation ceremonies this week at the Stadium of Light, where thousands of students received their degrees from Chancellor Steve Cram.
Words: Elliot McGrath