My Sustainable Placement

My name’s Gemma and I’m a Business Management and Leadership student here at Leeds Beckett, I want to tell you about my placement as part of the LBU Sustainability Team. It may be a 9-5, but after 5 years behind a bar, it’s welcomed change. I enjoy it because I FINALLY get to use my degree, and a salary for doing it.

Sustainability team social media

Why I Applied

I applied for this because I know I want to work in sustainability, and this was the best way to get experience. Also, students who do placements usually graduate with a 2:1 or a 1st, it was a win-win: better grades, experience and put off graduating for another year.

What My Role Includes

I’m responsible for the social media pages, which is amazing, I get to build on what was done by previous students, whilst putting my own spin on the pages, maybe you saw our Sustainable Christmas Advent? I also give articles to corporate communications who can then spread them university wide, either through the staff newsletter or Beckett List; I had a food waste article sent out in Beckett List in October, meaning EVERY student got my article which is crazy!

Oh, and I write the blogs.

Sustainability team social media

Some exmples of social media

The Projects I Have Taken On

I work with Green Impacts teams – who are very competitive – departments compete to be the most sustainable and complete projects. One teams project was to build hedgehog houses and place them around campus, doing that project was my favourite day so far, it didn’t feel like work.

I’ve started new projects: with bees, graphic students and hedgehogs – no spoilers, you’ll see them all – which is project planning and management experience that I just couldn’t get as an undergraduate, I genuinely get treated like an adult here.

A Hedgehog house at Headingley campus

A headgehog house Somewhere on Headingley campus

How Did the Pandemic Effect this?

Obviously COVID has had an impact on this, I’ve worked the entire thing from home, which was totally different from anything I was used to - shockingly, the hospitality sector did not prepare me for this – but everyone in my team is so welcoming, it’s something that we all learnt together.

The sustainability team on a virtual call

The sustainability team on a virtual call

Why YOU should do this

I love the work I do. Getting this placement is one of the best things that has happened to me – risking sounding like a grown-up – I have gained valuable skills, disciplines, and confidence I just wouldn’t otherwise have. If I could do it again, I absolutely would, and I’m jealous of the next person that gets this position.

You can’t get what you don’t apply for.

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