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Jenny Monroe talks to Emily Hall who works at Ikea

EMILY Hall, 27, from Hillsborough works in the communication and interior design section of Ikea Belfast. The Swedish company, which pioneered flat-pack design furniture, is now the world's largest furniture retailer and has recently launched a new approach to kitchens.

The local girl studied interior design at the University of Ulster and has been working for the home furnishings company for a year and a half. She is currently starring in a major new TV commercial on Channel 4. Emily was chosen from thousands of applicants to be one of 'The Ikea Kitchen Squad' tasked with making over kitchens throughout the UK.

The 'guerrilla style' prime time advertisements feature homes in need of a new kitchen and Emily, with her fellow Kitchen Squad team members, are tasked with planning, designing and fitting a new Ikea kitchen which is recorded along with the homeowners' reactions.

I start work at 7am so I need to leave home at 6.30am and this means a 6 o'clock start. I'm getting used to the early mornings. I have worked with Ikea kitchens for over a year but recently. I moved into the communications and interior design sector. I do miss working with the kitchens but I do still get to design so I am very pleased.

The bulk of my work is done in the first three hours of the day. There is always plenty to do. I could be changing displays, fixings and fittings and helping redesign layouts. A big move could take two weeks to plan. Planning is vital, we couldn't implement designs without it. There is a break for breakfast at 10am and then I get stuck back in.

I am often found working on a computer, changing layouts on a special programme. All the changes to layouts have to be done this way. I enjoy this aspect of my job.

Regularly I am involved with team briefs and the people in charge of the different sections will explain what is going on and what is happening in store. Team work is a big part of my job.

In the afternoons I concentrate on smaller jobs. I am usually found positioning props and putting them back in their correct place. Lunch is at 1pm and after that I could be in the office taking up curtains, and sorting out soft furnishings. I could also be involved with more planning work. My day just flies by so quickly. I normally finish at 3.30pm and then head home.

I have always been impressed by Ikea and am delighted to have the opportunity to work for them. So far, my time with the company has been a fun, worthwhile experience and hugely rewarding.

Being a member of the Kitchen Squad and featuring in the new advert for the company has been an exciting and totally different experience. It has also been quite emotional seeing the reaction of the homeowners to their brand new kitchen - there have been tears of joy all round and I suppose it was all about giving the homeowners a kitchen that would make a positive difference to their everyday lives.

My sister is an actress so the standing joke with my family now is that I made it on TV before she did.

There are opportunities to go to different stores to help with planning and you really could travel the world working for this company.

My job is so much fun. I am getting the chance to do things I never thought I would do. It really is lovely working for a company that is so good to its staff and has such amazing home furnishings and, of course, fabulous kitchens.

Ulster Star