"I would absolutely recommend a placement year to anyone that has the opportunity to do one. Not only does the placement year help you learn and grow as a person, but it truly helps you in figuring out what you want to do after university."
Why did you choose to come to Surrey? What appealed to you?
I chose to come to Surrey because I was amazed at how much it promoted and encouraged its placement years at my taster day. As someone with a strong work ethic, my priority before going to university was how employable I would be after my degree, and I was incredibly impressed by the support they offered for their students. It helps that I found the campus beautiful too!
Have you been on a Professional Training placement or Clinical placement? If yes, where did you go?
I spent a year at KidsOut as a Children’s Services Assistant. KidsOut is an amazing charity that is volunteer-led, and primarily supports women and children who have fled domestic violence through two primary services: toy boxes and fun days. However, KidsOut also supports other disadvantaged groups such as families with children who have disabilities, children with terminal illnesses and their siblings – aiming to support the UK’s ‘forgotten children’. The work undertaken here is so important, as it aims to provide children with challenging backgrounds with happy memories as well as things to look forward to in order to boost and promote their mental health.
What did the work on your placement involve? What were the highlights?
As Children’s Services Assistant, I would work directly with refuges and in turn gained a deeper understanding of how charities work – an industry I have always wanted to work in. Working in children’s services meant that I handled the day-to-day enquiries from our service users regarding toy boxes and fun days, as well as the organisation of our projects, and distributing the tickets for said projects.
As KidsOut has a small workforce (between 10-12 members of staff at the time I worked there), we also had to be malleable to work in other areas of the charity, such as fundraising and events. I felt so lucky to be a part of such a lovely and welcoming team who immediately made you feel like you were ‘one of their own’, and truly wanted to help your professional development. I would also like to give special thanks to my manager, Sandra Doherty, for her support.
I think the best memory I have from my time here (although it’s hard to choose) is when we loaded the last toy boxes onto the final shipment at Christmas time. KidsOut, every year, provide every child in refuge with a toy box at Christmas. Our small team of 12 people, over a three-week period, organised and sent 5,745 toy boxes to women and children’s refuges across the UK.
I personally found this a huge achievement, as the results of this quite gruelling work would have made a huge and positive impact on every child that received them. In addition to this massive task, Sandra and I would spend extra hours in the office to send out tickets for fun days for the festive period, including (but not limited to) tickets for the cinema and the panto! I found this, specifically, to be so rewarding as we were lucky enough to receive such positive feedback from the families we supported and tangibly see how we made a positive impact.
If you’ve done a Professional Training placement, would you recommend it to others? Why?
I would absolutely recommend a placement year to anyone that has the opportunity to do one. Not only does the placement year help you learn and grow as a person, but it truly helps you in figuring out what you want to do after university.