Jessica F.

Regional Placements Officer
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Jessica F.
English and Related Literature
Victorian Literature and Culture
Taught Postgraduate
United Kingdom

My employment

Regional Placements Officer
University of York
United Kingdom
Large business (250+ employees)

More about Jessica

Mature student
Commuter Student

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A day in the life of a Regional Placements Officer in the United Kingdom

As a York local I have always been passionate about supporting this City and its local businesses in general.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

I work for Careers and Systems, at the University of York.

What do you do?

I run the Student Internship Bureau, a business focused programme which offers University of York students and graduates the opportunity to gain valuable, paid work experience.

I work closely with and run events for local businesses of all sizes to discuss problems they're encountering, and how we might be able to assist. If they choose to use an intern then I write the job description, manage the advertising and shortlisting process, and oversee contracting. I then stay in touch with both the host and intern throughout the internship.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

A few different factors led me into this role. As a York local I have always been passionate about supporting this City and its local businesses in general. What led me to work specifically for the University was a mixture of previous work experience and pragmatism: having come to University from the NHS I could tell that the University staff were by and large happy, and the environment didn't feel at all stressful compared to what I was used to. This, and the fact that I lived five minutes from campus made me very keen to work here!

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

When I finished my MA I was so sure I was going to go on to do a PhD I had already secured a supervisor, and was looking into funding. I ultimately decided against this for family reasons, and started looking for exactly the kind of role I secured, so I feel very lucky!

Describe your most memorable day at work

My most memorable day at work is the one I am most proud of. When I was just eight weeks into my role I ran my first Internship launch events: one in York and one in Harrogate, which were attended by sixty businesses across the two venues. I had planned the events; chosen and booked the venues and the food; created the event invitation; chosen student and business speakers; and written all the event comms, having never done any of that before. After the events I received such positive feedback from my colleagues, and the businesses who attended, and the summer campaign launched very succesfully. I couldn't quite believe I had done it!

What’s your work environment and culture like?

My work environment and culture is great! I have the option to work hybrid, and I tend to choose to spend four days per week in the office. People tend to dress smart casual: when I started I dressed more on the smart end, but I now enjoy dressing slightly more casually. The department has three principles which everyone is expected to abide by, and I agree wholeheartedly with all of them, which means I find the culture very positive and easy to work within. People are friendly, professional and really happy to help when different teams need support.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

One thing I really enjoyed about University was the opportunity to try out different areas of work alongside my studies. I worked for YuCall, the Open Day team, Access and Outreach, Events, Marketing, and my department. This helped me learn more about what kind of work I enjoyed, and the working style I liked: whilst I enjoyed fundraising itself, I found the evening shift pattern very challenging so I knew I ultimately wanted a predominantly 9-5 role. I also discovered that I enjoyed events because of the natural opportunity to reflect and improve once the event is delivered, and so I sought work which involved events. Most of all I noticed that across all the roles I performed I really enjoyed working with people.

In addition to this I did a year abroad in Sweden during my undergraduate degree, and I attended a summer school and was President of the Printing Society. Whilst balancing all of these commitments alongside my studies was ocassionally challenging, and I definitely enjoyed some experiences more than others, I am glad I did so much. It really benefitted me in my graduate level interviews, and I could evidence a much wider range of skills from a huge variety of roles and work environments.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Do as many extra curriculur activities as you can sensibly manage. This will allow you to learn about what kind of work you enjoy, as well as the working pattern and ethos you want to engage with long term. Try to ensure you are gaining as wide a range of work experience as possible, and take advantage of the opportunities to gain graduate level work whilst you study (for example through placement years and internships). If you are struggling, reach out as the staff are always happy to help!

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

Working in higher education, working in careers, transitioning from study to work as a mature student.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Jessica’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Jessica a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Jessica to be your mentor.

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