placement year

I Failed Graphic Design

It’s close to that scary time in a Placement Year – my first ever appraisal. I have my appraisal tomorrow with the big bad boss (who actually isn’t big or bad and is probably reading this… Hi Caroline!) and it’s got me thinking about what I’ve been up to in the past six months.

I have to fill in a “Student Self-Assessment” beforehand ready to take into the meeting so I have been writing a list of things I’ve done so far. The majority of things on the list are design tasks, which cover anything from leaflets to reports. It’s been interesting to work on such a variety of projects and give me experience working with different documents. Usually we get most things created by designers who will then print them too, but a few tasks I’ve actually created from start to finish in house and have been able to send them onto printing companies for the final stage. This essentially is cutting out the designers fee altogether – which in my opinion are all overpriced in the first place.

Tip: if you’re a student with basic Photoshop and Illustrator skills then create a graphic design company, I bet you’ll be better than half of the ‘designers’ out there already and you’ll rake in the money. Rant over.

To name a few I’ve designed a new complaints leaflet which was originally created by professional graphic designers. I designed the Junior Newsletter which gets sent out once a year to approximately 7,000 junior members of the credit union. I’m currently working on the credit union’s annual report which holds facts and figures of the past year and predictions for the future.

Who would have thought that I, the girl who scraped a D in AS Level Graphic Design (and had to drop it) am designing things for the biggest Police credit union in the UK?

Another thing this appraisal has got me thinking about is what I want to do in the future. Obviously the design side of things I enjoy a lot, but also the media planning side of things. Deciding what adverts are being sent where and what e-newsletters/ads we’re going to send to who and when. Another thing I really enjoy is being able to go out and be the face of the company – kind of like PR – as you get to meet some really interesting people and you can portray your company/service however you wish.

Working for a smaller company with fewer employees allows you to learn about so many different things, so anyone reading this blog who’s looking for a placement year don’t just aim to work for a company because you’ve heard of their name. At the end of the day you’re going to be a small cog in a large wheel and not experience as much as you possibly could elsewhere. I’ve been lucky to learn many things about what I DO want to do in the future.

Does my Placement Year have to end?

After quite a few busy months settling into my Placement Year I’m back blogging! So far I’ve completed nearly 5 months as a Marketing Assistant at No1 CopperPot Credit Union and guess what…I love it!!!

So, what’s my job like? No1 CopperPot is a credit union exclusively for the Police. Not only has it taught me about the financial world but it’s let me take a peak into the world of the Police too. My job is to spread the word of the credit union to Police Officers and deal with the promotional material/gifts we give away, create the adverts, develop/work on the website, travel to different Police events/dinners/conferences and be the face of No1 CopperPot…and I’m sure there’s more than that but you get the picture! I don’t work on my own though, I have a partner in crime…Helene! Helene and I make up the marketing team since we said bye to the last placement student Hass, who has now gone back to Uni to finish his degree.

20140919_191354The past 4 and a half months have already flew by and already taught me so much. My confidence has grew and grew, especially when it comes to meeting new people, presenting and well, just communicating in general. Already in just over four months I have travelled all around England to places such as Lincolnshire, Hampshire, Crewe, Suffolk, Harrogate, Leeds, and even up to Glasgow in Scotland! One of the most amazing nights so far has to be the Charity Dinner I went to in Harrogate to raise money for COPS UK charity. Dolled up to the nines with my fella looking dapper as ever we danced the night away after a lovely 4 course meal and stayed in a gorgeous hotel, it makes me wonder how that can be considered work?!

 

Here’s a snap from Suffolk…

20140811_201838

Working for the Police has given me such an insight into such a unpublicised world. Ok… it may be publicised in the news every now and again when an Officer makes a mistake but when do we see an unbiased view of what the Police do for society or how hard there job actually is? That’s it. We don’t. Going to Police conferences and hearing them speak has made me have so much more respect for Police Officers and less respect for the media.

Police: 1 – Media: 0

For anyone who may be contemplating the possibility of doing a placement year in the future I hope this blog persuades you to go for it. You learn real skills that Uni doesn’t teach you. You learn how to deal with real people in the world of business (not just chat to hungover students), and you learn how a business runs, and you find your part in that business. A Placement Year also looks so good on your CV, being able to prove you have the skills necessary to get a job is worth so much more than just saying you have a degree and assuming that makes you qualified. Plus…you get paid, if that can’t tempt you to do a placement year then I don’t know what will!

Anyway it won’t be so long before my next post, I’ll make sure of that! Laters…

Onwards and Upwards

After spending my 2nd year at Uni trying to make sure I pass the year whilst trying to sort out my plans for the following year, everything has now fallen into place. Trying to balance uni deadlines and job applications/interviews/assessments isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it is necessary if you wish to succeed. Any student who has ever tried to get a placement year will probably be able to understand how frustrating the whole process can be. Application, hope, rejection, application, hope, rejection – it’s a vicious cycle really.

Anyhow, my 2nd year is officially over and the placement hunt has been completed – I have bagged a placement year (and a good one at that)!

Image

After waiting weeks without hearing any news, 3 job interviews/assessments came up in the same week. Unfortunately this was the same week as my final exam. The three days before my exam were each lined up with different interviews – not the best timing really. However, as it is now the week after my exam, I am now free from uni for approximately 14 months, and I have a job to look forward too in three weeks time at a credit union! So my future plan is looking like: 1 year marketing placement, complete final year, graduate, get myself a full time graduate job. It’s all coming together quite nicely.

And people think my generation is lazy?!? Think again!

So now I have a new job that’s not so far away I obviously have a long to-do list: buy a fabulous new work wardrobe, invest in some killer work heels, make sure my handbag game is strong and celebrate with Woo-Woo cocktails till I start? It’s a hard life, isn’t it?

How Important is Picking Your Placement Year?

Manchester City

As a second year University student I’m about to make, yet another, big decision which will affect my future career. As I’ve chosen to do a sandwich year before I graduate – otherwise known as a year in industry – my second year is all about getting the placement. Most placement opportunities are based around the idea that you take your placement with them, learn the basics in that year, then come back to them when you graduate as your full-time career. But what if I’m not 100% sure what I want my full time job to be when I graduate?

As I’m studying Advertising & Brand Management and I am an intern at a digital marketing agency, I have a lot of different possible routes I could go down and all are very different careers. My options are so spread out it’s difficult to decide what’s right for me – especially in the areas where I haven’t have much real life experience in. So far all the huge blue chip companies are advertising their placement opportunities and almost ALL are in London. Great city but no thanks, not for me, I’d rather stay in Manchester! So all these available opportunities don’t apply to me, and I’ll have to wait till after Christmas to start seeing the Manchester based placement opportunities. Thankfully Manchester is full of great agencies and companies and is growing in becoming a major city for business.

Hopefully a placement opportunity comes up giving me experience in all different areas to give me a better idea about what area I can see myself working in, and is based in Manchester. If anyone has any tips or experiences on getting a placement year, all comments are welcome! I don’t really like the pressure of potentially picking my future job in the next few months, but I suppose nothing is set in stone. Things are still subject to change. Come on Manchester, let’s hope you offer the perfect placement…

(image from personalcareermanagement.com)