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What you can learn about yourself on your placement

Posted by. Brett Arnall
Posted on 01 June 2018

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​​​​"I wouldn't have the transferable skills I can rely on every day had I not done the course at Leeds Trinity and benefited from two industry placements. My experiences here as a student demonstrate how I've used these experiences to widen my own options, which puts me in a great position to help others."

​2013 forensic psychology graduate Niall Mackenzie learnt very valuable lessons from the two placements he was able to take advantage of during his time as a student. Now employed as Graduate Recruitment Officer at Leeds Trinity, Niall is using his experiences to help students searching for their first job.

In his first year as a student he went on placement at the Bradford Youth Development partnership and his second year placement took him to DISC (Developing Initiatives Supporting Communities). He revelled in these people-focused environments, supporting people struggling in education, those with substance abuse problems as well as people undertaking new training courses to support their career aspirations. Both placements really helped Niall to channel these skills, which he uses on a day-to-day basis to support and advise current Leeds Trinity students.

We recently caught up with Niall to ask him more about what stood out about Leeds Trinity, his student experience and how he ended up back on campus, as a member of staff.

What made you choose Leeds Trinity?

I was interested in Leeds Trinity as I wanted to remain local and Trinity was one of only five universities in the country at the time to offer Forensic Psychology.  I was totally sold after attending an open day, so much so, that after experiencing the friendly and warm community and small class sizes, I just knew it was the place for me. I was even more certain after lecturer Paul Smith delivered his talk about the course.

How would you sum up your student experience?

From day one I really enjoyed my time here and knew I'd made the right choice after the open day. The small class sizes really suited me and I loved the relationships I developed not only with my classmates but also with lecturers. Despite being local I lived in Norwich accommodation block during the first year so I really got the whole student experience.

The course was really interesting and I certainly learned a lot but I think the overall feeling I have after graduating centred around what I learned about myself during my time here and just how important and vital the placements Leeds Trinity offer can be. I wouldn't have the transferable skills I can rely on every day had I not done the course and benefited from two industry placements. My experiences here as a student demonstrate how I've used these experiences to widen my own options, which puts me in a great position to help others.

How did things come full circle with you returning to work on campus?

When I completed my course in 2013 I was a Recruitment Consultant at Corecom. I enjoyed three and a half years working there but towards the end I wanted to focus more on helping people rather than how much commission I was making. Then, in 2016, I found out about the role at Leeds Trinity and knew straight away from my experiences on placement that this was the role that I'd been really holding out for. I started my role as Graduate Recruitment Officer in October 2016.

What are the most rewarding parts of your role?

At Leeds Trinity my role revolves around supporting final year students with their employability. I support them by looking at their CVs, helping them best prepare for interviews, building their confidence and delivering the best career advice I can to see them succeed. I get the greatest satisfaction from being able to help a student that first turns up upset or confused and transforming this into a positive scenario where they leave with ten new options. Seeing someone get a job after you've supported them not only leaves them in a better place but also gives me an incredible lift.

What three words would you use to describe Leeds Trinity University?

Community, fun and rewarding.