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Cameron - My Year on Placement

Cameron Mudie Student Life

As a business student, a placement year was always high on my list of priorities when starting my studies at Northumbria. The advantages such as greater job prospects, professional networking opportunities and skills development are just a few of the benefits that can be gained over the course of the year. 

I carried out my placement year working for North East based fashion retailer Barbour, operating as their Global Digital Marketing Intern from July 2016 – July 2017. The position was first advertised on the university’s careers webpage, the initial process was straightforward with a CV and cover letter application. 

I applied in December and heard back from Barbour in the first few weeks of January, inviting me to an assessment day. The day consisted of a group task, written task and an individual interview. The process was a great learning experience and was extremely competitive. The next day I was offered the position, which I accepted straight away, it gave me encouragement heading into the 2nd semester as I looked to achieve the best possible module marks.

The placement began in July 2016, which was a great time to be joining the company as with all fashion businesses this is around the time that the summer season of clothing is drawing to a close and the winter ranges are appearing onto the website and making their way into stores. 

Hailing from the North East, Barbour is one of the most recognisable brands in the region. I was under no illusion that this placement would bring out the best in me and produce challenges that would improve my skills on a daily basis – this was one of the key determents into why I accepted the role.

The location of Barbour provided the main advantage for me when applying. London was the initial thought due to the sheer number of opportunities; however, the dream position was to secure a role in the North East – enabling me still to live in Newcastle Upon Tyne. 

With Barbour being one of the biggest fashion brands in the UK, it was my vision to secure a placement with them, especially due to my fondness for the North East of England. Other opportunities in the Digital Marketing industry were few and far between outside of London, securing this placement, was a real motivational boost.

Working within the Digital Marketing department, I liaised with my team on a daily basis, helping in a variety of different roles when called upon. Outside of this, my main responsibilities in the team consisted of the daily blog writing on the website, these are campaign driven blog articles, which enable content to pushed on the relevant social media channels. 

Within my role, I worked on the campaign landing pages of the website, along with helping produce the content for the social media channels, which included Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr. I helped lead the on-going #BarbourPeople campaign, where most weeks I travelled across the UK, spotting the best Barbour styles in a variety of locations and events. I led the #BarbourPeople store tour which drove sales and communications between the retail and digital teams, by offering a complimentary monogramming service to Barbour customers.

Below I’ve listed four handy tips to help you secure a work placement…

  1. Be sure to apply early… as soon as you see the job advert spend time to work on your application and submit it. 
  2. It is imperative that you fully appreciate the company you are applying for, the best way I find to understand this, is gaining an insight into the organisation’s culture this way you can tailor your application approach. 
  3. Thirdly, it is essential that you understand the job description, immerse yourself in what is expected and the skills you will need for the role, being prepared is vital.
  4. Having the right experience can become difficult while still studying but it is down to you to best other applicants and seek out work experience. I managed to secure some within my sector over the summer months which has been great to talk about during interviews.

I hope this article has helped you understand a little bit more about the benefits of securing a work placement and how it can positively impact your future career prospects.

Good luck!

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