After an exhausting nine months of interviews, applications and assessments centres…. I finally got that call that I would be moving to the big city (London) in a month’s time. With a mixture of panic and excitement I started to get ready - this was my dream come true. This was my last shot at finding a placement as most of the applications had closed and all my friends were already packing their bags to embark on their own 12-month adventures.
I would be spending my own 12-month Placement at Powder Byrne, A luxury travel company in the heart of Putney. It’s about a 17 minute train from the centre of London. My first initial thought was ‘How am I going to survive a year by myself?’. Thankfully my best friend offered to put me up in his house at a very cheap rental price, so I saved money and the stress of finding a place to live. However, it did mean I had a very long commute to work.
My role at Powder Byrne was as the Marketing Intern, which worked in line perfectly with my degree in Marketing & Advertising Management here at Leeds Beckett. I would be joining the already existing Marketing department of 5 people, assisting in all aspects, including: social media, email marketing, digital campaigns, client services and all admin duties which came with the role. In comparison to University, the role was fairly demanding with long days and a fair amount of responsibility within the company. I was able to take things learned from my studies and apply it to my role at Powder Byrne, bringing fresh ideas to the team.
One of my main duties was running the company’s social media channels, with detailed and vibrant content from different countries and ski resorts. My main interest at university was social media marketing. This allowed me to bring new and creative ideas to their company’s platforms, which were soon noticed by the company’s directors. Events were often run for the company’s gap year ski programme which I was able to partake in, travelling to some great schools such as Eaton and Cheltenham College and chatting to the students about working in Switzerland as ski guides.
The best aspect of my placement year was the chance to go work / ski in Switzerland. On two occasions I was asked to fly out to Zurich with a team of other employees to work alongside our full resort staff in the beautiful Swiss Alps. This was an amazing opportunity as I have never visited a ski resort, and this was a chance to see all the work done in the office implemented and put into practice. The whole experience was nerve wracking as I had never skied and never had any personal contact with our clients and their families.
On both occasions, my main role was as a ‘Kids Club Assistant’ looking after the clients’ children as they spent the day out on the slope with our ski guides. At first, I was a little scared as I had never had the responsibility of looking after other people’s children and especially high paying clients. But after a few days I got the hang of it and started to really enjoy the whole experience.
My next big test was getting on the skis for the very first time. With no lessons or training I braved the mountain and managed not to fall on my back the whole time I was there. On the second trip to Switzerland, my confidence grew and was soon skiing red runs with the rest of my friends working for Powder Byrne. The whole experience in resort was amazing and really made my placement special, creating bonds with great friends and learning an extremely hard sport.
Doing a placement year at Powder Byrne was one of the best decisions I ever made. I learnt how to be independent, made amazing connections and bonds with friends and colleagues and most importantly, gained vital experience within the marketing world. Taking time out from university to gather extra experience made me appreciate the hard work involved with working full time, and it’s not as easy as people think. I went back to Leeds Beckett with a wealth of knowledge and experience, making my final year less stressful and having a better mindset.
I would recommend applying for placements at university if you have the chance, due to the enjoyment and knowledge you will gain from it. Any experience is a positive and will make you much more employable in the future. Don’t be afraid to takes risks because 9/10 they will pay off in the long run. If your ever worried about moving somewhere new or not sure if you’ll enjoy a year out of uni then speak to a friend who has done one or better yet, visit the careers and Placement team at the University as they have so much knowledge and they helped put my mind at ease when I first applied.