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Building the Perfect Career


Emily Cross (nee Ireland), ADID, graduated from CAT’s Interior Design program in 2017 and has been working ever since!

Tell us a little bit about your time at CAT.

I’ve always enjoyed school, but going to school for something you’re passionate about makes it even better. It was incredible to be taught by industry professionals who have real-life experience with what they’re teaching you. I was able to learn one on one from the best.

What was your first job post-graduation and how did you find it?

I was lucky enough to be hired by the firm I did my second work experience session with, Materia Interior Design. The real-world skills I learned from Heather and Maria set me up beautifully for my future.

Tell us a little bit about your career progression since then.

After about a year at Materia I got a little homesick missing the Island. So, I applied to my dream firm on Vancouver Island, and I’ve been here for over two years.

Tell us a little bit about the firm where you now work. (or if you are freelance, what projects are you currently working on?)

I work for Bidgood + Co. Interiors in Victoria BC. We’re a design/build firm, merged with Strong Construction Group, and we do everything from custom home new builds to heritage house renovations, from tech offices to quirky locally owned cafes. There’s never a dull day around here, and every day is so different.

What does a typical day look like for you?

They’re quite different, but most of my days consist of creating construction documents, and 3D renderings. I also help with project administration, which involves creating change orders and site instructions for our construction team on site.

What is your favorite thing about working in the Interior Design field?

I love that I found a career that can mix my OCD mind with my love of creativity.

What was the most important thing/s that you learned from your time at CAT?

The art of presenting. Before coming to CAT I had never presented anything to an audience in my life, but with the help of my amazing instructor, Jennifer Yeo, I gained the confidence to present my designs without feeling like I wanted to run away. And as a designer, you’ll be presenting for the rest of your career.

What advice would you give to students looking to get into the same career?

Don’t be afraid to experiment. This is the time where you figure out your personal style and how you can incorporate that into projects while still delivering a design that speaks to the client. It’s also the only time you’ll be able to design something without having to consider a budget, enjoy it!

Emily Cross