Guest blogger Written by

This is a guest blog by current student Bettina Dorffer studying BA (Hons) Politics.

I was lucky enough to secure a long placement with the Ministry of Education in Denmark. Something which certainly was not secured after my first application. Applying for a placement is time consuming, I faced several rejections but I did not give up. My advice for other students would be to do the same and to take to heart the advice that I received: apply for as many placements as possible, because you never know what’s going to happen. I started looking for a placement in December 2017 and secured it in July 2018. It came about when I took a chance and applied for a placement with the International office inside the Ministry of Education in Denmark but somehow my application was seen by another department within the Ministry (STUK – Styrelsen for Undervisning og Kvalitet, Department for Teaching and Quality) and they called me in for an interview. Here I came to work with competent co-workers in a pleasant and a good atmosphere. Being here in the political sector is without a doubt my way into the sector and my first step toward my dream job – working on the international scene for nature and animal rights, somewhere like the UN.

Working here has been a great experience, and I am proud to be involved with getting to create a process for user involvement that will be used even after I’m gone. It’s been great being part of something that works to create a better school system in my country. My most significant moment has been when I created and is still managing the student network within the office. We are 4-6 students working here, so with the student network we meet up once a week to talk work assignments, to share work knowledge but also to introduce new students to the workplace. I wrote a guide that presents the steps necessary to most effectively welcome a new student; give them a tour of the workplace, introduce them to our work and the channels we use, the responsibilities of the assigned mentor etc. It has never been done within the ministry before aside from the fact that we have a student network for the whole ministry, where we meet up a couple of times a year.

Other jobs included helping to manage different projects or tests being developed or implemented at different schools. I am also project manager for two projects; Knowledge about digital disturbances and Knowledge about feedback in written Danish. Both projects seek to take theories and create ready-to-work-with strategies or tools so the education will be based on academic theories.

Being on placement I have learned that I more about my personal skills as well as my strengths in academia and what I need to work on.

The conversation with my Placement Development Adviser helped to create a better plan for the future for me i.e. other jobs and a plan for the next step toward my future career. My placement has shown me that it is within the political sector that I need to be to make the change I wish to make in the world.

For students applying for or starting placement, I will say this: your placement does not expect you to know it all, they know you are a student, and they are willing to help and guide you.

Finally I would like to say what an amazing opportunity it is to be on placement. I advise everyone to take a placement, whether it be for a short time or longer. It gives you a chance to be ‘out in the real world’, to apply your skills to actual work and specific tasks (not just another assignment or exam), and to settle your mind on a more strategic career plan. I would like to thank the Placement Development Advisers for encouraging the students to apply and secure a placement – it will look amazing on your CV, your diploma and give you a great working experience.

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