"I feel the work that I did on my placement would have a real impact on the world and was so varied that I looked forward to coming to work every day."
What’s one food dish or snack you couldn’t live without at university?
I couldn’t live without Hillside restaurant’s unlimited pizza toppings! Considering the quality and price there is not a better choice on campus or in town, especially after a lecture.
What do you like about your course and why?
I love the people on my course. I think the politics (and international relations) modules are filled with passionate, considered and open-minded people, they contribute to a discursive and curious environment that is great for building relationships and political interests.
What did the work on your placement involve? What were the highlights?
I worked in the Civil Service, the UK's central government departments, for my placement. I went in with a passion for politics (and not much else). My university modules prepared me for professional work, especially on public policy; however, the communication skills I developed at university were just as important as any technical skill.
I love the freedom I was given for the generation of policy ideas for transport, aiming to make local public transport connectivity closer to the standards of London. I held several meetings with think tanks working on real-life solutions for property growth, planning reform ideas and improving transport links. As a result, I proposed ideas aiming to create regions of sustainable growth in ‘high-potential cities’ such as Birmingham and Manchester. I led meetings with members of the department and external experts in transport and planning, where we would brainstorm on how to link my proposals to other government initiatives.
The best part of my internship was seeing my proposals on new taxation and housing plans being part of the government's policy recommendations to Liz Truss in 2022 and resulting in the design of new Investment zones in the UK.
I feel the work that I did on my placement would have a real impact on the world and was so varied that I looked forward to coming to work every day.
Would you recommend a Professional Training placement to others? Why?
I would recommend a Professional Training placement to anyone. I feel you are given room to grow and learn as there is an understanding that your placement is essentially a transition period. A Professional Training placement is more than just training for a job. My professional training year had a big impact on me as a person, it clarified the type of environment(s) I would like to work in, It helped me better relate to other people and think about things from a different perspective, and it helps me manage my time and priorities better, which is something I struggled with at points.
Having a designated mentor or line manager, similar to my personal tutor at university, was especially important. My mentor helped me get to know my colleagues, the area and the building. We would meet for at least 10 minutes at the start of each day. I valued this time and opportunity as I truly felt no pressure in discussing my personal goals and how I could work on projects I was interested in during my placement and past university through working in the Civil Service.