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Pauline • Communications and External Engagement Assistant
About the placement/internship
Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

I wanted some professional working experience to enhance my CV, improve my employability and job prospects for when I graduate and to take the year and have the opportunity to build on my softer, transferable skills and apply them to the "real working world".

How did you find your placement/internship?

Career Connect

Application process

I saw the advertisement on Careers Connect and sent in my application, I was then invited to a face-to-face panel interview.

Main responsibilities

Although my main role is communications and external engagement, I have been fully flexible and worked in different areas across the professional services team, including learning and teaching, marketing, research support and learning technology. I have a range of responsibilities clustered around marketing, communications, web development, business development and stakeholder and external profile engagement.

Typical day

A typical day would include assisting with members of the Professional Services Staff on projects and work they were currently working on. I worked closely with the Employability Manager in the Department, Amy Woolley, where I took part in strategic planning for student engagement regarding their employability, engaging with employers to ensure that relationships with them remained positive and building on new relationships to look at working together throughout the academic year. I also led in projects such Green Impact that helped improve the Department's dedication to sustainability.

What did you enjoy about the placement/internship?

I enjoyed the variety of things I got involved - including learning and teaching, marketing communications, research, technology, placements and employability, student support.

Challenging aspects

During certain times of the year, the workload got quite overwhelming which isn't surprising at certain points in the University cycle. However it was a particular challenge as several members of staff at the Department I worked in were either moving on or leaving therefore we were short staffed during some critical periods in which I found myself taking responsibility specifically in aspects of learning and teaching and marketing.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

Yes - my course, Biomedical Sciences, was very demanding and required me to manage my time much more effectively to ensure that assessments were handed in on time. My time management skills were easily applied to the workplace and I handled time-constrained situations much more effectively.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

Yes it has definitely! On placement I had the opportunity to network, communicate, engage with externals to the University which built up my confidence in other extra curricular activities I commit to, for instance, I run a coding course for female students at the University. As I have become much more confident over the past year, I attended various coding/tech-related events where I effectively networked with those in industry which actually resulted in me landing two more placement opportunities in the tech industry before I return to my studies. My placement allowed these other opportunities to arise as well as given me an idea of my career choice in the future - which is definitely away from the labs!

Advice to students
Your piece of advice to students

Don't wait until you graduate and finish University to start thinking of improving your employability and job prospects - start early! Get involved, reflect on what you've learnt from your degree AND extra-curricular things you do whether that be societies or part time jobs. It will definitely help you stand out from all the other graduates with the same degree once you graduate.

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Form completed: 31 Jul 2017

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