Working part-time: Roena Robinson

Guest BloggerFinal Year, First Year, Part-Time Jobs & Volunteering, Postgraduate, Second Year, Work Experience

Full name: Roena Robinson

Degree title: BSc International Business and Management

Year of graduation: 2020

Organisation name: Cleone Foods

Job title: Sales and Marketing Administrator

What does a typical day in your part-time job look like?

Get into work by 8am, turn telephones on day service so all calls are now directed to our main switchboard. Respond to queries from supply chain, customers and stakeholders via email and telephone calls. Manage and update our social media platforms with any relevant posts or promotion information for the public. Create and run reports and schedule them as requested, then analyse and present findings to relevant departments.  Assist with office admin duties, and door sales when necessary. I work 20 hours per week across two and a half days.

Has coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown affected your role at all?

As we are a food company supplying Jamaican patties to major retailers and supermarkets – such as Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, Coop, Iceland etc. – we are considered essential workers and thus were allowed to go to work if our roles could not be done at home. I didn’t have the software at home to fully complete my job, so I’ve been travelling to work throughout the lockdown still. Even though this was what I did in normal times, it is very different. Now the buses are mostly empty, the schedule is very different and I had to adapt to get to work on time. At the office, we now have different seating arrangements, we have to wear masks and gloves and our factory staff along with us the office staff are temperature checked every day, and sent home if our temperature is out of spec.

What has been the highlight of your job so far?

My fondest memory has to be how we’ve assisted a lot of people during the pandemic. We are a business who place high value on giving back, to the point where our founder and MD, Wade Lyn received a CBE for services to industry in HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Birthday Honours 2013.

However, on this occasion I was personally involved in the giving back process. I had learnt of a young lady in the nearby community who had lost her mom and then uncle to the virus within the space of five days. Her story touched me because I lost my father and brother within the space of a day and I understood how confused she must have been feeling. Not only that, but she actually lost her mom on Mother’s Day, which makes it much worse. I reached out to her from our social media account and asked if we could deliver a care package just with some of our products to her. She was delighted and agreed that we could deliver the products. I packed a huge delivery bag with all of our flavours and then printed a condolence message and had everyone from the office to sign it and sent them with one of our drivers. After she got the gift, she came back to express how grateful she was, that we as a company was so thoughtful to not only send goodies but also add that personal touch.

What skills have you developed?

Reporting skills, project management, website development, social media marketing, Management skills, networking and communication skills.

Why did you decide to get a part-time job?

It was a means of integrating from a small island mentality to a British one, by diving firsthand into the deep end and learning on the go, the new lifestyle and ways of the society I was now in. I also wanted the experience and the money I received weekly was a lovely touch!

How do you juggle working and studying?

It’s all about balance and finding a job that can fit around your timetable and not the other way around. From the start, I was very transparent with my employer about where my university work came, and that was first. Since university was my first priority, I ensured that this was communicated in case I suddenly had a group meeting and I had to jet off to university on a day I did not have classes. Luckily my employer and managers understood this and were very flexible with how I covered my 20 hours per week.

How have the skills and experience you’ve gained from your part-time job helped you in other areas of your life?

My skills that I developed from my part-time job definitely helped when I was on the hunt for a placement. It was through a network connection that I was able to secure a placement at the organisation as at the time they weren’t even looking for a placement student! Nevertheless, I was given the opportunity and I completed my placement as a Business Support Trainee Manager and utilised and developed skills that I had garnered at my part-time job.

What advice would you give to other students thinking about or looking for a part-time job?

Definitely go for it – not only does it allow you to get experience which is amazing on your CV, it also allows you to network with people you wouldn’t meet on a normal day. Not to mention the colleagues you meet, who might even become some of your greatest friends!

What are your plans for the future?

I will be doing my Master’s in Business and Management at Aston University.