Jasmine, a BA (Hons) Film Studies and Creative Writing student, spent her placement year working at the University of Portsmouth as the Promotions Assistant in the Faculty of Creative & Cultural Industries.
Jasmine tells us about her role, what worries she had about her placement and what she’s gained from her placement experience.
Where do you work and and what do they do?
I work for the University of Portsmouth Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI). The Faculty has many responsibilities including supporting their students and staff plus presenting opportunities for students, staff, alumni and the public. The CCI Faculty is constantly developing and growing in what it can offer the community and those involved in it such as modern facilities, events and opportunities for staff and students to demonstrate their skills and passions. I work for the Promotions team within the CCI Faculty.
Have you had the opportunity to work with different departments?
Many of our events overlap or may be of interest to students and staff from different departments, so I have had the chance to work with many people in different departments when promoting and organising these events. I also work closely with the Finance team and the four Schools within our Faculty on a daily basis.
What is your role? What were your main duties, tasks and responsibilities?
I promote events and opportunities relevant to staff and students via our Creative Space blog, fortnightly newsletter and social media pages which I also manage. I assist in organising events such as inaugural lectures, our end of year Graduate Show and other lectures, seminars and celebrations. I have been able to work briefly on my web design skills, assisting in shaping our Graduate Show 2016 website. I take regular minutes at various meetings.
Are you treated like an employee?
Yes, I am respected and treated as any other employee in the office, usually forgetting myself that I am a placement student.
How was your placement related to your university degree?
I write and edit for the Creative Space blog daily, developing my skills in writing and editing. This links directly to the Creative Writing side of my course in BA (Hons) Film Studies and Creative Writing.
What are the benefits of being on a placement?
Being on a placement has greatly developed my skills in time management, organisation and matured my way of thinking and work ethic. This is will help me in my final year of University when dealing with multiple assessments and deadlines but also in my future career. I would also add that my motivation to search for jobs has increased. Working with experienced professionals has shown me that time goes very quickly and it’s better start planning/applying earlier on than later. Having a year away from my studies has also given me the time needed to think about my dissertation, allowing me to take my time to decide what it is I would like to do for my final year project.
What have you got out of being on a placement?
I have recently applied for a part time job which I would not have been able to apply for had I not completed a placement. I will also work as an Events Assistant for my Faculty. Had I not taken this placement and demonstrated my hard work ethic, this job may not have been given to me.
What have you most enjoyed? What was your greatest success or achievement?
The most enjoyable part of my placement has been seeing myself grow into a more confident and experienced person.
I have gained enough courage to apply for things I originally thought I wasn’t good enough for and found myself being able to complete tasks I never would have thought possible such as presenting myself in front of 200+ people to talk about my experience as a placement student. For six weeks my Manager was out of office and in that time I represented the department, managing and overseeing it until my Managers return. This was a massive confidence boost where I realised I am capable of working under pressure, making big decisions and taking responsibility for them. I would say that those six weeks were my greatest success as I took on full responsibility for the department and fulfilled my tasks my Manager’s expectations.
What have you least enjoyed?
Without sounding childish, the one thing I haven’t enjoyed is the early morning starts but like many things in life, I have accepted that this is something I will just have to deal with. Apart from that, I cannot think of anything I did not enjoy on my placement.
What concerns did you have before going on placement?
My biggest concern was that those who picked me for the role would regret their decision, worried that I wouldn’t be able to ‘keep up’ and fulfil the needs of the job.
How did they work out?
After my first review with my Manager, my concerns regarding if I was suited to the job or not dissolved. I received positive feedback reflecting my already growing confidence and comfort in myself and my new environment. From then on, my aim was to continue to grow and do things I wouldn’t normally do, lessening any concerns more and more until they were all gone.
What advice would you give to someone concerned about doing a placement?
The main piece of advice I would share would be:
“if you don’t try, you don’t get”.
If you are nervous or worried about doing a placement think to yourself “what could I lose?” If you apply and don’t get any responses, at least you tried and can go into final year without any “what if?” questions. If you do get a placement, whether you enjoy it or not, you will get some kind of experience which could influence your future. In my opinion, you gain so much more by trying than you do by doing nothing, even if you’re not successful, at least you did something.
What new skills have you developed?
I have developed the ability to curate events and exhibitions. I have learnt how to use WordPress, Eventbrite and Mail Chimp. I am better and more capable of conversing with large groups of people and strangers, my writing and editing skills have strongly developed and my ability to plan, organise and think ahead. I am more innovate, responsible and flexible as well as less indecisive. I feel myself becoming more of a leader than a follower which I have always been in the past.
Have you applied anything you learned at university?
I have used the majority of the skills I learnt at University within my placement. Through multiple assessment deadlines in first and second year, I developed my ability to plan, organise and delegate time. I use these skills on a constant basis, developing them even more. All my writing skills learnt from University have also been practised on my placement. I write regularly for the Creative Space blog which, without the experience of my course, I feel would be harder to do and worse quality.
What training have you done?
I have completed Google training, IT training and Risk Assessment training. I am now able to gain the full potential of Google and all its packages through my training which has been very useful when organising meetings with large quantities of people and sharing spreadsheets, images, text, etc with colleagues. I know that this will continue to be useful in the future, both at University and in future careers. I had never completed or thought about risk assessments before my training and now I am qualified and able to complete these assessments thoroughly.
What are your plans for your final year?
In my final year I will be the Deputy Editor of the Galleon Newspaper, I also hope to have a part time job to help support my last year in Portsmouth. I have yet to properly join a society at University so I aim to join the Surfing Society as a new experience and a bit of fun. I am also attempting to get a start on my dissertation before the final year begins. I want to focus and work really hard to gain the best possible mark I can and experience the most from my last year as a university student.
What are your plans for after your degree?
I aim to apply for graduate jobs from the summer onwards so hopefully I will come out of university with a career. If this is not the case, I am also thinking about completing a Masters in Creative Writing or studying to become a teacher.
Has the placement helped you with your career decisions?
My placement has definitely opened my mind to new and different career possibilities. I still have the dream of becoming an Editor (whether that be for non-fiction publishing houses or newspaper companies, I’m not sure yet) but I am now also considering the idea of teaching at either secondary school or college. I’ve developed this new idea from watching others teach and realising the reward of it.
What advice would you give to students who aren’t sure whether to do a placement or not?
For anyone who is indecisive about doing a placement or not I would suggest setting up a meeting with Creative Careers (as I did) and discussing possible ideas with them. They will help the beginning of the thinking process and suggest numerous placement and work websites so you can see what’s ‘out there’. I would then say, if you can find some placements that you like the look of, apply for them. It gets you practising writing covering letters and shaping your CV. If you don’t get any responses at least you tried and you can go into third year without any doubts. If you do get accepted somewhere, you will either know by then if you want to do a placement or not. If you do, great because you’ve got one, if you don’t there’s nothing wrong with saying “no”.
What advice would you give to your fellow students in year 1 and year 2 regarding their placement search?
I would suggest using all the services provided by the University. Visit Purple Door and the Creative Careers for a chat. Also, join numerous work websites such as ‘Indeed’ and ‘Target Jobs’. CCI have a great Creative Careers Moodle site which advertises all relevant businesses offering placements and the numerous roles being offered. Use this to hopefully find a variety of placements you like the look of.
Find out more about students’ placement experiences.