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IPA 2015: Mentoring Award winner Lydia Freeborn


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Published date
08 December 2015

LCF’s Career Mentoring scheme offers LCF students the chance to gain professional industry insights as well as feedback and advice on their projects and ideas. The voluntary scheme relies on industry mentors transferring their wealth of  knowledge, expertise and experience to students.  In turn it enables students to build confidence in networking and approaching industry, as well as a further understanding of employability skills required for their chosen career path. The time and guidance the mentors give students is invaluable and to show our appreciation we offer a Mentoring Award as part of the Industry Partner Awards 2015.

This year we are pleased to award Lydia Freeborn, junior designer at French Connection, the Mentoring Award. Voted for by staff and  students, LCF alum Lydia is a worthy winner who offers great advice, empathy and inspiration to her mentees. LCF News spoke to Lydia to find out why she mentors and her advice for students.

Lydia Freeborn, Mentor Award winner

Lydia Freeborn, junior designer at French Connection, winner of LCF’s Industry Partner Mentor Award 2015

Having had a fantastic mentoring experience during my own studies at LCF, it was a privilege to be able to offer my time back to the scheme. Mentoring offers a fantastic opportunity to focus on both personal and professional growth as you can openly discuss the potential decisions and challenges that lie ahead in your career. It creates a unique platform to talk freely with someone connected to the industry who is removed from the structure of the students’ course therefore can offer an unbiased and external point of view. For me, this was an invaluable experience and I was excited to have the chance to offer something similar to a current student.

Being a good mentor is primarily about listening and trying to ask thought-provoking questions. Sharing experiences and insights is key as is being a sounding board for thoughts and ideas. I also always highlight the achievements and skills of the mentee.

My advice to students joining the Mentoring Scheme is:

  • be to be open-minded and honest,
  • be proactive in arranging meet-ups
  • ask as many questions as possible and to show enthusiasm!

This helps to establish trust and ensures that you can both make the most out of the relationship.

Lydia also said:

I have had a hugely rewarding mentoring experience and would highly recommend it to students and professionals alike!

Lisa Adami, a BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Development student was mentored by Lydia and here is what she had to say about the experience.

Lydia was a great mentor, she is very understanding and encouraging. As Lydia went through the same university and course as me she totally understood what I’m experiencing now. She gave me great advice on how to prepare for my interviews, on my portfolio, CV and much more.

My mentoring experience meant that I became more confident. Having the opportunity to talk to someone who went through the same education as me and is succeeding in her career was really helpful.

Runners up for the IPA Mentoring Award 2015 were Emily Harrison, senior womenswear designer at Rebecca Taylor and Liam Gleeson, creative director at Hidden Agency.  Thank you and congratulations to Lydia, Emily and Liam, the advice, time and support you offer is invaluable.