Graduate in Focus: Elijah Reid

Guest BloggerFinal Year, Graduates, Graduates in Focus, Guest Blogger

Name: Elijah Reid

Degree: Politics and International Relations

Year of graduation: 2015

Employer: Department for International Trade

Job title: Delivery Manager – Midlands Engine Investment Hub


What does a typical day in your job look like?

Well, it’s a cliché but no two days are the same! Whether my team and I are sat squirrelling away at Baskerville House, hosting a foreign delegation, working across multiple locations in the Midlands or trekking across the globe, the team finds innovative ways to promote all the Midlands has to offer to attract foreign investment.

What has been the highlight of your job so far?

The highlight of my current role has been working and hosting colleagues from across the globe on visits to the Midlands and getting to learn more about what the Midlands has to offer in regard to trade and investment.

What skills have you developed in your role?

In my role I have developed project management, event management and project delivery skills.

How has your current role shaped your career plans?

Having recently moved roles within the Civil Service, my current role has helped shaped my career plans as I now want to take an assignment abroad – a realisation I came to due to my current role.

How did you secure your role?

Originally I applied for the Civil Service Fast Stream for the 2017 intake (following having worked for a year in China as a English Language Assistant for the British Council), I made it to the final round of interviews but did not get accepted onto the scheme. But through that process I was offered a job working in Trade Marketing for the GREAT International Trade Campaign.

Did you do a placement or gain any other work experience (e.g. part-time job or volunteering) before securing your graduate role?

I did a placement as a Marketing Assistant with The Binding Site in Birmingham, this helped me prepare for working life and understand what would be expected of me when I entered into a graduate role. I would advise anyone to take the opportunity to do a Placement Year, it’s a perfect chance to gain real life experience, earn some money and try out careers you may be interested in.

I also worked as a Student Ambassador and Aim Higher Mentor while at Aston University, both of which helped me gain experience that was valuable to applying for roles post-university, gain confidence and earn money while I was studying.

What advice would you offer to final year students or other recent graduates looking for a role?

I would highly recommend the British Council English Assistant scheme as a fantastic way to earn and travel post-graduation, I had an amazing year living in Guangzhou, China while getting to travel across South East Asia. I also would recommend the Civil Service Fast Stream.

General tips would to be searching for graduate schemes as early as possible, as many great schemes close by the end of September/beginning of October.  Be sure to sign up to Prospects, All About Careers, individual companies websites and utilise all that Aston Careers+Placements has to offer.