Written by Guest blogger
Almost a year ago to the day of writing this, I applied for a role at Magenta Associates PR, in Brighton. Now, I am six months into one of the best decisions I have made in my life.
I always knew I would be interested in doing a placement and on my particular course (BA Media Production), we have the option to undertake a month-long placement, or an entire year out for a ‘sandwich’ year. I was in two minds initially, attempting to weigh up the pros and cons; that was, until I spoke to my cousin, who had completed a placement year at BMW Group. She is now several years into her role as senior brand manager at KitKat. She told me, “I wouldn’t have my job now without doing a placement year, and that’s a fact.” From that moment on, I knew what to do! So, from November 2016 onwards I began the lengthy and somewhat challenging process of trying to find a year-long undergraduate placement.
I attended several CV and cover letter workshops which are hosted by BU to help people develop, tweak, or even totally start-fresh with their CVs. Then, I started using BU’s ‘MyCareerHub’ – and was able to find several different placement opportunities. I went to a few interviews, assessment centres, did some phone interviews (which were all fantastic learning experiences) and then came upon Magenta, in mid-January 2017. MyCareerHub was a fantastic tool to use, as you could list specifically what you’re searching for, where, and for how long. I wouldn’t have found my current role without it, so I cannot recommend enough that BU students make the most of the tools out there!
Now, six months into placement, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I am currently commuting to and working in beautiful Kemp Town, Brighton. My team are incredible to work with; we are a small PR agency (currently a team of 11) that works hard for the success of our clients, ourselves, and the company as a whole. We are like a little family, no-one is ever too busy to help each other, and I am supported every single day along my development and progression as their first ever year-long placement student. I have been given some fantastic opportunities, such as speaking at a Rolls Royce Motorcars network event, attending an industry event and champagne dinner, and now helping to manage the company’s internal PR and charity partner, to name but a few things.
The support from BU is truly phenomenal for students on placement. Each student has a dedicated placement coordinator, who is available via email if you ever have any issues. On top of this, throughout the year you have a face-to-face visit to discuss your progress, and a phone call further in. This was so useful to me personally, as I bonded very quickly with my coordinator, and we discussed my successes, any challenges and how the role was going overall. She also made an effort to speak with my employers directly.
New to this year, is the role of the ‘student placement representative’. The Bournemouth University Students’ Union is a very effective and supportive body of staff and students alike who thrive to make the student experience the best it can possibly be. Previous placement students have said that they could do with more support while on their year out. So, BU acted on this immediately, and from this year on – have appointed student placement reps (myself being one of two for the Faculty of Media and Communications) to provide that extra support. With the help of the BU placement staff, myself and the other FMC placement rep, we decided to host a networking drinks session for all London (and surrounding areas) students to meet new faces, see familiar friends, and discuss how we’re all getting on. Again, a first for BU, the event was hosted at a Warner Bros. site in central London and saw nearly 50 students come together to network and share their experiences.
I cannot imagine my life without having the placement experience to my name. Already, I have so much more to talk about, stories to tell, contacts to keep in touch with, and experiences to live by. I’m getting experience of managing accounts, working in a team, feeling the pressure of a fast-paced industry, and my writing has been published in national newspapers. I wouldn’t change a thing about my placement, and I have Bournemouth University to thank for giving me the necessary support (and then some!) to get me to where I am now.
By Ollie Tunmore
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