"I would definitely recommend a placement year to anyone in a position to take one!... I have no doubt that my placement year was key to me securing my graduate role with a top employer as I was able to evidence a range of skills and experience that I developed over the year."
Describe your experience at Surrey in three words:
Exciting, memorable, and rewarding!
Why did you choose to come to Surrey? What appealed to you?
The campus was the main attraction for me when choosing Surrey. It has so many facilities, including loads of different study areas, the sports park, and lots of options to eat and drink. It is situated right next to Guildford town centre and has easy access to London on the train. The best bit is the lake, which is so pretty and a great place to meet friends when the sun is out!
Have you been on a Professional Training placement? If yes, where did you go?
I undertook my professional training year with Network Rail who own and maintain Great Britain’s railway infrastructure. I sat within the North West and Central region and was part of the Central Route Finance team, which covers the line from Wolverhampton into Birmingham and then down into London Marylebone. I moved to Birmingham for the year and had the opportunity to visit different offices and delivery depots across the central route.
What did the work on your placement involve? What were the highlights?
I was in the team which looked after the operating expenditure that keeps the railway running day-to-day, for example, signalling, maintenance and stations. I spent the year managing cost centres which involved preparing budgets, forecasts and periodic reporting.
A highlight of my year was taking part in (and winning!) the annual DICE (Digital Innovation for Collaboration in Engineering) competition which allows new entrants to the industry to work in teams to develop a solution to an industry problem. We spent nine months developing a model to tackle the effect of extreme weather on the tracks and presented our business case to members of the Network Rail executive team in London. We were announced winners and secured funding for the project to be delivered by Network Rail’s Intelligent Infrastructure team.
Would you recommend a Professional Training placement to others? Why?
I would definitely recommend a placement year to anyone in a position to take one! I’ve gained valuable transferable skills and insight into different career options while developing personally and professionally in a work environment. I have no doubt that my placement year was key to me securing my graduate role with a top employer as I was able to evidence a range of skills and experience that I developed over the year. It also gave me the opportunity to move to a new city for a year, experiencing city centre living and the diverse culture of one of the UK’s biggest cities.
Do you know what you want to do when you graduate?
I have been able to secure I graduate role in tax with accounting firm PwC. I am excited to build on the knowledge and experience I have gained in the past four years and plan to use my exemptions from my degree to continue studying towards becoming a chartered accountant.