Where do you start when you finish a course? Armed with all the information and skills you need to start a new career, yet no contacts or experience in your chosen field, it can be a daunting time for students to make that all important transition from classroom to career.

After completing her Fashion Buying and Merchandising course with Portobello Institute, fashion student Sara Morton made a brave choice to move away from Dublin, making London her new home.  Setting about her job search, she researched and registered with as many fashion recruitment agencies as possible.  Initially Sara secured work in retail but her heart was set on working in a buying office, and when at first she got no response from job applications she put it down to her lack of experience within a buying department.

A few weeks later Sara received a phone call from Office Shoes asking her to come for an interview, which clearly she jumped at the.  “The first interview went really well.  I was asked lots of questions about myself and my interest to work with Office and Offspring” says Sara.  “I was nervous and at the time I felt my lack of experience would really inhibit me, but I kept calm and composed and answered each question confidently”.

A few days later Sara got a call for a second interview.  This time Office requested that she prepare a SWOT Analysis on the brand, along with a presentation on what key trends and looks they could introduce for the coming season.  This is where Sara’s knowledge from her course really stood to her and started to transpire into real life. “I studied my class notes for days which really helped me map out the ground work for what I needed to produce. The studying, prep, over analyzing and the stress were all worth it in the end as I was offered the job” say Sara.

Sara is now a part of the Ladies Footwear Buying Department with Office Shoes and is quickly learning the ropes of Footwear Buying for a large fashion retailer.  “I am only working with Office a few months but I am really enjoying it.  I am working on the Ladies MTO Boots and Mids department. It is really tough I won’t lie as I am still adjusting to the pace and really learning the trade. I know it’s going to take a few more months until I find my pace but I and really excited about the role and learning more. I really love the process of footwear going from the design stages to final sample and being involved at every step in between”

“I know I would not be where I am today without doing the course in Portobello. It really set me on the right path for getting a foot on my Fashion Buying cuying career ladder.  On a weekly basis I use most of topics we touched on in class.  I recently presented a mini range of Last minute trend ideas for to all my seniors in Buying and Design, something I would have been quiet nervous about before I took the course.  I simply just threw myself back to our role play we carried out in class and all the tips my tutor Annmarie gave me on public speaking.  I never thought I’d get to this stage. But it really is possible with hard work and determination”.

If you think you have the drive and determination to become as fashion buyer then have a look at our full and part-time Fashion Buying and Merchandising courses here.