Students spend year working overseas as part of Erasmus+ programme for world famous surf and snow brand

Six students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are picking up fresh experiences by the day at one of the world’s most famous surf and snow fashion brands after taking up an overseas placement with O’Neill.

ONEILL photo

Bailey,  Clarisse, Grace, Megan, Emma and Georgia at O'Neill, Netherlands

Megan Cleary, Emma McNaughton, Georgia Blunsom, Bailey Villiers, Grace Leviers and Clarisse Jison are based at the O’Neill European HQ in Warmond, close to Amsterdam, as part of their studies.

The girls, who are spending around a year in the Netherlands, say they are having the time of their lives working with a brand whose founder, Jack O’Neill, opened the first ever surf shop, in San Francisco in 1952, and a year later revolutionised water sports by inventing the first wetsuit.

They have also recommended all students take up the opportunities offered to them by DMU to work overseas.

All six students were able to participate in this fantastic opportunity as part of the Erasmus+ programme, which offers financial support for students to spend up to a year working or studying in Europe, helping them gain valuable international experience, increase cultural awareness and enhance their employability. DMU students interested in studying or working in Europe as part of their degree can find more information on the DMU Erasmus+ webpages.  

Grace, from Desford, Leicestershire, who is studying Fashion Buying with Marketing at DMU along with Megan, from Birmingham, said: “Do it! It is by far the best thing I have ever done. I have become more of an adult as I was really thrown in the deep end sorting rent, bank accounts, travel and contracts.

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“You get to experience a different country with new found friends and it opens up opportunities you would never have thought you would face.”

Megan added: “It is a great experience and you will make memories and meet people that you will never forget. You will also become so much more independent and confident in yourself. Definitely go for it.”

The students also recognise that their placements will be invaluable when it comes to completing their degree and finding work.

Georgia, from Wellingborough, who is studying Fashion Buying with Design, said: “I have learned a lot about the different departments in the wholesale fashion industry. It’s helped me with my knowledge for the final year at DMU and where I see myself after I graduate.”

Emma, from Brighton, who is studying Contour Fashion, added: “The best part of working with O’Neill has been the opportunity to experience life in the Netherlands while developing my skills within an industry that I want to work in. It’s been such a valuable and incredible experience that I genuinely feel I could move abroad again for work if there was an opportunity.”

Clarisse, from Luton, who is studying Fashion Buying with Design, said: “Being thrown into a completely new environment was a challenge that I was excited to take on. I chose O’Neill as I am interested in sports performance wear and this seemed a good place to start to gain experience in it.”

Bailey, from Coventry, added: “O’Neill is a great company for anybody wanting to learn in an open environment. It is a fairly small team so you feel comfortable enough to be able to ask people from other departments’ questions about their role and how they got to be where they are. You can really learn a lot from the people here. I feel they have taught me a lot about the industry.”

The students will be returning to DMU later this year to continue with their studies.

Posted on Friday 23rd February 2018

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