Katie Crowle, consultant, CVUK
Firstly, some sort of fashion courses will hold you in good stead to get a foot in the door. London has some of the best and renowned courses in the world.
Once you have secured a role it is so important to learn as much as you can from whomever you can. Try to find a mentor in the industry. They will be your confidant throughout your career. Ensure your portfolio is clean and crisp and immaculately presented. Where possible ensure it is tailored to the role you are applying for.
To be a designer for the UK high street, employers will look to ensure you have a creative flair, combined with a commercial eye. They will want you to build your Illustrator skills to a super-fast level, as being reactive and responsive to worldwide trends is paramount.
Expect a lot of travel, a lot of time in airports and in transit. You will attend inspiration trips and in some cases factory visits. Visits to factories can be long, tedious, and at times gruelling, but as a designer it gives you complete ownership of your product, and at times is the most exciting part of your role.
As far as salary expectations are concerned, to start off in the industry you should expect anything starting from £15,000. Once you become an actual designer expect £25,000+ and then at senior level the sky is the the limit.