The Big Question May 2018

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We asked all the Ians and Alisons whether they could offer our 30 under 30 class of 2018 any career advice by telling us one thing they would have done differently?

Alison Monteith, Monteith Scott
I was fortunate when I graduated – there weren’t as many Interior Design courses as there are today, so there were fewer competing for any position. With the teaching I have done over the last 15 years, I have been disappointed that some graduates have been so reluctant to relocate. Chase that job! You are one of many – nothing is yours by right. I should have travelled further than London when I had the chance!


Ian Drummond, Indoor Garden Design
I started out as a technician at Indoor Garden Design 25 years ago. I would have given myself an easier time and realised that confidence grows over time and comes with knowledge and experience. I have always been quite shy and sometimes was unsure of myself. I should never have doubted myself. I was working in an industry that I loved, in a company that was the best and I was good at my job. My best advice – believe in yourself!

Alison Kitchingman

Alison Kitchingman, Milliken
While I worked flat-out during my 20’s, I found it hard to think too far into the future. I’d advise my younger self to be a bit shrewder and consider (the rather mundane, but nonetheless essential) pension-planning and saving sooner. Millennials have it harder than perhaps any other generation when it comes to money matters, but when you’re in your 20’s your energy and dedication is at its height – so try to capitalise on this.


Ian Matthews, rg+p
I would’ve packed my bags, picked a place at random, booked a ticket and gone! With no commitments and life’s big adventure ahead, I’d have spent a couple of years working in design studios around the world, absorbing everything; inspired by other cities and cultures. After returning, I’d set up a studio with likeminded people – it’s so important to find colleagues and clients that are equally passionate.


Alison Grant, HLW
As designers, we have big ideas. We seek to push our creativity to the limit and to invent ever more exciting and innovative spaces but sometimes we overwhelm our clients. If we took the time to listen to what it is that clients need for their business and culture to thrive and apply our talent to that rather than the other way around, then we can truly provide the best service.


Ian Woollison, 8Build
Apart from drinking less, sleeping more and maintaining contact with everyone, I would encourage the class of 2018 to always try to be the best of the best…being from a financial background, it took me slightly longer to build up my construction knowledge – the more time you spend on a construction site to see the works being built the better is the best advice I could give anyone – knowledge is key!