Graphic design student Saskia Godley

Competition whizz kid and ace shop window designer, Saskia Godley, has plans to set the world of retail alight when she completes her course in graphic design this summer. Saskia, 18 from Stoney Stanton, is looking for a job role that will enable her to show off her visual merchandising skills and continue to follow her dream to represent Team UK in the EuroSkills and WorldSkills competitions in Austria in 2020 and Shanghai in 2021.

Already a successful competitor in her specialism, Saskia narrowly missed out on a place to represent the UK at WorldSkills at Kazan in Russia later this year after designing window displays based on an ‘artist’ theme using a selection of products from fashion brand H&M and furniture retailer IKEA.

Saskia has been honing her visual merchandising skills over the last year and has been supported extensively by the College to improve her ability to compete at an international level. She is now hoping to be taken on by a retail company and has set her sights on working with brands such as Topshop, Next plc, Marks and Spencer, or John Lewis & Partners.

Asked why she is not planning to go to university, Saskia said, “I started out by studying A Levels in a range of subjects including IT and graphics, and after the first year, I felt that the graphic design route was just right for me, so I switched to a college course. I went along to a college open event after a friend mentioned what was available at the creative arts campus in Hinckley. The facilities here are amazing and the tutors are knowledgeable and supportive. In visual merchandising, I need to know to work with physical materials including wood and paint and the college technician here has really helped with that. Once I have taken the brief and researched the brands, I start with a pencil sketch and develop my shop window design until it’s ready for the build stage.”

Undeterred by the recent downturn in the retail sector, Saskia is determined to make her contribution to the success of the high street and looks forward to putting her stamp on the nation’s shop windows. She said, “I hope to work for a major retailer at first to really learn my craft, and then maybe set up as self-employed freelancer in future, working across a wide range of brands. It is really important to me that I continue to learn, and I would love to find a company that could support me in my training for future WorldSkills competitions. I have been lucky to be inspired with a career that provides so many potential opportunities and I can’t wait to get started.”

Graphic design tutor Dean Wood said, “Saskia has been a model student and is highly driven and focused. She has developed a real talent for visual merchandising and has been determined to show off her skills in a competitive environment. I have no doubt that Saskia will continue with her skills development and we wish her all the best for future WorldSkills competitions.”

For the next few weeks, Saskia will be focusing on her final major college project for which she will create a mock shop window on campus. She is forecast to achieve Distinction grades and looks set for a stellar career.