Lydia Manieson is currently studying the MSc Fashion Business Creation course at GCU London and is also one of our Marks & Spencer Scholarship holders.
As part of the scholarship, Lydia gets mentored by somebody from M&S and has the opportunity to undertake an internship with them.
Lydia’s business idea focuses on sustainability and social regeneration in rural areas of Ghana, she was assigned a mentor from the Sustainability team (PLAN A) at Marks and Spencer.
Lydia had her first phase of internship in January 2017, which lasted for two weeks at the Marks and Spencer head office in London. During this period, she helped with the organisation of PLAN A’s ten year anniversary celebration dubbed ‘Festival of the Future’.
Lydia said: “This two weeks experience felt like a year-long experience in terms of exposure and what I learnt from the organisation of the festival.
“I did all sorts of administrative work as well as the actual setting up of the space for the festival. It was very engaging and fun.”
Lydia also had the fantastic opportunity to meet some famous faces, said: “The most exciting part of the whole experience is that I got the opportunity to meet new people and influencers who featured in the Festival including Mike Barry, Joanna Lumley and Jonathon Porritt.”
As part of the MSc Fashion Business Creation course, students develop their business ideas with professional support. Lydia’s business idea is a social enterprise in Ghana which is targeted at helping the government’s effort to eradicate youth unemployment and reduce unproductive rural-urban migration among the youth.
Lydia’s aim is to ‘train and create jobs for the youth in rural communities in Ghana whiles supporting these communities through infrastructure development projects’.
Lydia hopes to equip the youth from rural areas with textile and fashion based skills and employ them as her main workforce in production.
A percentage of the proceeds from her business would then go back into developing the rural areas from where these beneficiaries of the training program were sourced.
Lydia will be returning for the second phase of her internship in the summer of 2017.
Lydia said: “I am very thankful to GCU and M&S for believing in me and empowering me to confidently go for it. I am definitely looking forward to the next phase of my internship.”