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National Careers Week 2021

This week marks the 10th anniversary of National Careers Week (NCW). Taking place from 1st-6th March, NCW is a celebration of careers guidance and free resources in education across the UK.

National Careers Week’s aim is to provide a focus for careers guidance activity at an important stage in the academic calendar, to help support young people leaving education and ensure students get an important insight into the future of work and further learning.

In honour of NCW, we sat down with our Project Worker, Kitty John, who is currently on her placement year from Aston University, to talk about her role and the benefits of spending time in employment:

What is your role at Antser?

I work within the company as a Project Worker. I am currently on my placement year from Aston University, so I am unfortunately only working here until the summer. I am a member of the Project Management Team, where I work alongside a team of people organising projects. I also work closely with the Marketing Team. A typical day for me is helping create collateral for the Marketing Team, this includes creating brochures, email campaigns and rebranding of documents. As well as this, I work alongside the Antser Learning Team to help with the new Virtual Reality suite of courses we’ve created.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The most enjoyable aspect of my job is that every day is different. The Marketing Team is very busy and we are always creating and developing ideas, which means there are lots of different tasks to do! Working in both the Marketing and Learning teams gives me the opportunity to communicate with many different people in various roles within the company, which I really enjoy.

How did you find out about this opportunity?

I heard about the opportunity through a friend of mine, she mentioned that there was a vacancy.

What are the benefits of doing a placement year?

There are many benefits of doing a placement year. Firstly it allows you to improve and expand the knowledge you have learnt in your university course so far. Personally, I found that the lectures teach you what you need to know but you don’t truly learn until you put the theory into practice. I have found this a really eye-opening experience and it has given me inspiration as to what modules I’d like to specialise in, in my final year at Aston. This placement year will clearly improve my academic performance in my final year.

The biggest benefit of doing a placement year is that it increases your employability once you graduate. Most students will graduate with little or no work experience relevant to their degree, so having a years’ proper work experience will increase my chances of finding a graduate job suitable to me.

If anyone is contemplating doing a placement year, I would 100% recommend it!
What advice would you give to others looking to undertake a placement year?

Persevere! I found the process of finding a placement job very difficult. The majority of my interviews were cancelled due to COVID and I started getting lots of emails from companies saying they were no longer going ahead with placement jobs as they had to make cuts to their businesses. It was a difficult and long process – however it was definitely worth it.

When you get an interview, do lots of preparation. Find out about the role, the company, their missions, etc. In an interview it is likely companies will ask you three types of questions: situational, competency-based and behavioural questions.

I found it very useful to create notes for my interviews; I Googled a variety of questions they were likely to ask and wrote answers for each one. Although I didn’t have the notes with me in the interviews, by creating them and reading through them over and over again it meant that I had a rough idea of what I wanted to talk about.

What made you choose Antser for your placement year?

After doing lots of research on the company I found the work that Antser do is incredibly interesting and empowering. In particular I thought that using Virtual Reality technology to improve the lives of young people and their families was inspiring.

Do you think more needs to be done to promote careers within schools/colleges/universities?

I’m lucky to attend a university that encourages placement years, it is one of the main reasons I decided to attend Aston university. My university did everything they could to help me find a placement job and they helped me prepare for my interviews. I am aware that not all universities operate like this, and I would encourage all universities to give their students the opportunity to do a placement year.