Studying Psychology here at Aston, Sophie Derham is currently on placement as a Research Assistant at YouthSight in Shoreditch, London. Find out more about what she’s been getting up to…
I have developed project management skills mainly, as I have created and adhered to timelines for lots of different projects, which also means that my time management skills have improved. I have also gained communication skills as a key part of my job is to talk with a range of different people: fellow colleagues, clients and participants in research.
What has been the highlight of your placement so far?
So far, I have been on placement for seven months. The highlight for me has been sitting on a panel at an event and speaking about what it is like to be a young person. Other highlights include attending conferences and speaking to potential clients. I enjoy this side of the job the most.
How did you secure your placement?
I found the position on Aston Futures. I applied by sending my CV and a short cover letter to the Managing Director of the company, Ben Marks. He then invited me for an interview, and I was offered the job a couple of weeks later! The Careers+Placements team helped me with practice interview questions and sent me some tips on how to structure my answers and make me stand out from other candidates.
Has doing a placement helped or changed your plans for the future?
Being on a placement year is a great experience and has really helped me think about what I want to do in the future. Prior to starting my placement, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as a career. I was not looking for a placement in any particular sector as I wanted to keep my options open and hopefully find something that really appealed to me.
I do think I would like to stay in the market research sector as I believe I’m quite talented at my job! I want to develop my skills and hopefully I can become a successful market researcher after graduating.
What advice would you give to other students thinking about doing a placement?
If you are planning on doing a placement, I would advise you to start applying as early as you can – at the beginning of second year or even earlier! Placements and internships are a great way to gain experience that will be vital for applying for graduate jobs. A placement is also great as it can help you decide what you would like to do (or definitely not do) after you graduate!
What tips would you give to other students to help them make the most out of their placement?
When on placement, it is important to enjoy yourself and make sure that you take every opportunity that you see. If there are opportunities for extra training, or even just to learn a new skill by completing a task, do it.