While in my second year of my Criminology and Sociology degree at Leeds Trinity University, I wanted to give myself a new challenge and gain practical experience alongside my studies, so I applied for a paid work placement through the University’s Graduate Outcomes Scheme.

In applying for the role as University Project Officer in the Corporate Communications team, I had to attend an interview with Brett, Alumni Relations Officer, and Sarah, Corporate Communications Manager. They both made me feel very comfortable and relaxed, even though I was very nervous. I told them that I wanted to do this to help build my confidence and to push me outside of my comfort zone as this type of job is something that I had never done before. It had always been something that I have wanted to improve on personally and something I knew would be vital for the future. 

My experience working as a University Project Officer with the Corporate Communications team has helped boost my confidence to new levels and I feel more comfortable speaking with new people. Before I started my placement, it started to feel very real and scary, knowing that I would meet a lot of new people and take part in important University projects. It was a bittersweet feeling because I knew it was going to help me progress personally, and also support my career development.  

The placement not only gave me the opportunity for vital professional work experience, but I developed personally and added new skills to my CV. I also took advantage of a number of online courses including health and safety, GDPR, equality and diversity and unconscious bias. I worked on research projects with the graduation, alumni and press teams at the University, and I wrote a news story that was published on the University website and even in a local newspaper.

As a result of Brett helping me with personal development, it has given me the opportunity to speak to various alumni and other professionals about different career paths that I could potentially see myself in, including the police force. Speaking to people that are high up in different organisations was always something that scared me, but having had more practise and receiving help with how to answer questions I feel more confident now about applying for jobs and going for interviews.

I never thought working from the comfort of my own home, during a pandemic, would allow me to gain so much experience and confidence that I needed to help me later in life. When doing my placement, there was always the option to have support with my University work as well as my placement work. I always felt like I was a part of the team and every member of staff that I worked alongside always helped me with any problems that I had when completing the work tasks.

Completing my placement in the Corporate Communications team has exceeded my expectations and helped me feel more confident when pushing myself out of my comfort zone. It has made me realise that I shouldn’t be worried to take on new challenges that will help me progress to get bigger and better things.

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