Wendy Maltman, Creative Director at the Malting House Design Studio in Dundee, has long been passionate about creating opportunities for young people, and in particular, female design students. This summer, she has put her words into action and been delighted with the results. 

As she explains, ‘My passion is to support women in the creative sector; to empower them to establish their own careers and encourage them to build resilience to overcome the challenges that many women face throughout life. Whilst there are a great number females training as designers, many drop out of their creative careers, failing to progress and reach their potential in senior roles and that’s something I’d like to address.’

Having set the successful graphic design business firmly on a growth trajectory this year, Wendy decided that Summer 2018 was the right time to take on an intern to add to her existing team of three. An award-winning graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design herself, it was to her alma mater that she turned first, looking for a bright and creative student to join her in the Malting House studio, in the heart of Dundee’s cultural quarter. The excellent portfolio of Iona Sorbie, a 3rd year student in her twenties, caught Wendy’s attention and Iona joined the company at the end of May for a three-month paid internship.

Iona worked on a number of key ‘live’ projects over the summer including page layout work for an NHS magazine with a print run of 70,000 copies, and promotional materials for the Association of Scottish Businesswomen, including print design and motion graphics. Wendy was impressed with Iona’s hard work and the way she picked up new skills easily, such as using design software Adobe Spark and After Effects.

Overall, Wendy found the experience to be positive in several ways: ‘From a business point of view, having Iona working on client projects allowed me more time to focus on other key areas of my business such as finance and marketing which are vital for our continued success. Also, I was really impressed with Iona’s work ethic and employability – it’s great to have that blend of ages and shared skills in our studio.’

For Iona too, the internship proved positive and provided lots of learning opportunities. ‘I met lots of different clients and got an insight into the world of business. I learned about the importance of planning at the start of a project rather than rushing in and also the need to review my work regularly, particularly before presenting to a client.’

Having had such a positive experience with Iona’s internship, and with a marketing strategy set to boost business, Wendy has decided to add a Junior Designer position to the team on a permanent basis and welcomed recent graduate, Bryony Ogilvie, to the role in August.

Originally from Edinburgh, Bryony was keen to make her home in Dundee after studying at art college there since 2014 and was delighted to accept the offer to work in the thriving business. Although she has only been at the studio for a matter of weeks, Wendy has already been impressed with the young designer’s approach to work. ‘I knew Bryony had glowing references from her tutors at college, but the reality of a fast-paced commercial environment can test the brightest young minds. However, since Bryony’s arrival she has shown great adaptability, all-round creative thinking and has gelled with the existing team’.

Reflecting on her recent experiences of recruiting young people, Wendy says, ‘While my goal is to build a studio that will employ and support women of all ages, I am delighted to have provided opportunities for exceptional young women like Iona and Bryony at key stages in their careers. They bring so much to the workplace and provide a fresh, new perspective to our work which in turn helps us to develop unique and memorable solutions for our clients.’