Alice is a third year English Language Studies student at Northumbria. Here, she discusses her placement year, why she took it, her daily roles, and the skills she’s developed. Alice expresses her gratitude for the opportunity, claiming that it has strengthened her employability and driven her future ambitions. Alice also wholeheartedly encourages other students to consider a placement during their university journey.
What was my placement?
My placement was within the Global Marketing and Business Department of Northumbria University, where I was part of the Undergraduate Marketing Department in the Content Team. Across my first year, I sought different experience opportunities and, in my second year, after a lengthy application process, was fortunately awarded the role.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and government regulations, my entire placement was based at home therefore the University provided me with equipment to create an at-home office.
Why I did a placement year?
As a Humanities student, there’s a wide range of different career paths that I could choose to pursue after my studies. Because of this, I thought a placement year would be a vital opportunity for me to experience an industry, while still under the support of the University.
After gaining lots of marketing and content experience through my own blog, I decided to take a taste of what marketing was like in a new industry. Ultimately, the aim of my placement was to help me decide if this was the industry for me and perhaps further drive my aspirations.
Overall, I certainly believe that the placement has given me a clearer direction. Not only have I developed transferable skills which will be extremely valuable for further employment, I have also started to realise my strengths and weaknesses. For example, my main strength is design. I’ve now realised how much I enjoy working with the Adobe suites, and how this is a skill that comes quite naturally to me.
What were my daily roles?
- I create all sorts of types of content. This includes images, films, gifs, animations, and more. The content can be used across multiple platforms too. For example, the live content being streamed at Virtual Events, the recordings, the copy, the images, and the promotional social content, will most likely fall under my responsibility.
- Creating content, especially my own innovations, has to be my favourite role. There is something so incredibly satisfying about creating a film or seeing my content go to print and land on people’s doors, which ultimately may influence a young person’s university decision.
- The majority of undergraduate course pages on the Northumbria website have been edited by me. In fact, some pages were even built and designed by me. Again, the sense of accomplishment that comes with this is incredibly fulfilling and helps me develop a great technical understanding of web-building and digital software.
- Despite my English background and years of writing for a blog, writing copy for webpages, articles, social media, and ads is not usually my favourite task, but falls within my remit. My own examples of writing have been very casual and, at the start of my placement, I didn’t have much experience with adopting a corporate tone-of-voice or adhering to such a precious reputation. This has developed throughout my time here and, while I much prefer editing the corresponding creative assets, I now have a greater competency with writing copy.
- While others may not consider my office job in marketing very ‘customer facing’, it is actually quite the opposite. Within the undergraduate team, we receive hundreds of emails to our mailbox, handfuls of social media messages, and negotiations with external stakeholders. Acquiring customer service skills, a corporate tone, office etiquette, and developing an understanding of diverse topics is an integral element within my daily activity.
How the skills from my degree were used?
As shown above, my daily roles play a significant role in the growth of my employability skills. However, these skills have only grown on the grounds laid by my humanities degree. This includes:
- Through essays, communications, and a module in grammar, I already had a strong ability to write coherent and accurate text.
- Being exposed to literary texts and creative discourse has always inspired my own creativity. Using and manipulating language to generate the desired effect.
- During my studies, I’ve been encouraged to critically evaluate. Applying this to my own work others’ work, and team efficiency is vital to successful work.
Overall, I’d encourage every student to apply for a placement year. It’s an incredibly valuable chance to develop your skills while still being supported by the academic staff. I’m extremely grateful for my opportunity and believe I will continue to look back fondly over the coming years.