Placement Ambassador – Davina Blakey
Placement Ambassadors are Stage 3 students who have returned from a placement year. They are happy to offer advice and guidance to stage 2 students looking for a placement.Why did you choose to do a one year commercial placement?
I chose to do a yearlong commercial placement because I believe that a placement is one of the best ways of gaining the skills and life experience necessary for a graduate role after University. The need for experience is apparent on any application; so being able to say that I have successfully completed a year in industry seems so valuable.
Which company did you work for? What was your position?
I worked for Marks & Spencer in the Aberdeen store as a Business Selling Placement Management Trainee, which is their scheme aiming to get you signed off to return as a Commercial Manager or Store Manager after University.
What was the highlight of your placement year?
Towards the end of my placement I completed an attachment to a store in Edinburgh to practice everything I had learnt outside of the comfort of Aberdeen. The experience enabled me to meet a new team, which I felt an instant bond with. I was able to contribute a lot of ideas to the management team, and made a real impact during my time there. I received some really amazing feedback that gave me something to be proud of.
How has the placement experience helped your own development?
The placement year has really helped me grow as a person. My experience has enabled me to improve my self-management, self-awareness, and self-confidence. I have learnt the importance of driving my own development to achieve my goals. The most significant skill that I have developed is my leadership; I have learned how to take ownership and responsibility in leading teams.
What elements of the placement have been most useful in helping you move towards your careers goal? What is your career goal?
My placement has been so useful as it is very universal. I have been involved in everything from people management, to events management, to completing an attachment to the marketing team in Head Office. The placement has allowed me to try a lot of the possible roles available in the company, seeing which are most suited to me. Although my ultimate goal is to be involved in marketing, the placement has enabled me to see that I could also pursue a career in management.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking about doing a commercial placement?
Do it! Even if you find that the job you do on placement is not for you, you have all the skills required to make yourself more employable. There will be some really tough times during your placement, but you will be surprised with what you can accomplish. You will also form a strong network of people who can help you throughout your journey.
If you have any placement related questions, feel free to email her at D.Blakey1@ncl.ac.uk