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- 15/06/2022.SEKE - University of Portsmouth ..All Rights Reserved - Helen Yates- T: +44 (0)7790805960.Local copyright law applies to all print & online usage. Fees charged will comply with standard space rates and usage for that country, region or state.

3 min read

After already making a jump from foster care to living independently at university, the thought of having to do that all again for a placement was pretty scary.

Moving to a new city, 150 miles away from my university and my friends was nerve-wracking. But it was also exciting, and helped me grow more than I thought I could. I know other students who may have been in care, might also worry about taking up a placement, so I wanted to share my experiences and why I think it’s totally worth it.

Who do you work for?

I am a Sales Support Analyst and Marketing Associate for Uniper Technologies Ltd as part of my placement year for my BA (Hons) Marketing degree. Uniper is an international energy company and one of the world’s largest power producers. Uniper’s aim is decarbonisation by 2035.

How did you find your role?

I found my role through the University Placement Portal. I made 15 applications and got interviewed twice by Disney, Wilberforce Chambers and Wasserman. I later got interviewed by Uniper and secured my role 3 weeks later in June.

What have you learnt so far?

Working in Sales was brand new to me, especially within the energy industry. Within the first three months of my placement, I was given responsibility for:

  • Achieving sales worth £76,000 for our engineering open courses
  • Developing a hybrid meeting protocol as part of a ‘New Normal’ project
  • Conducting marketing campaigns
  • Managing multiple 6-figure accounts 

During my tenure I was targeted with achieving an inflation based cost price increase of 5%. I took the opportunity to put into practise my learnings and through careful negotiations, I achieved a 5.6% increase on the cost price as well as unlocking additional revenue that took the total turnover increase to 12%. By the end of my placement, I managed and closed an account worth over £800,000.

Were you worried about relocating?

Previously transitioning from foster care to independent living, and then moving again to a new city 150 miles away from my friends and university was a challenging yet exciting period in my journey. Having to do that all over again allowed me to reach areas outside of my comfort zone that I didn’t think were achievable.

Relocating, finding an apartment, settling into a new area, making new friends were all a part of my placement experience. The support from my PA, university and my new managers at Uniper, made this transition smooth and I have developed more within 12 months, both personally and professionally, than I could've expected.

What advice would you give to other students considering a placement?

I would highly recommend doing a placement year to anyone. This year has so far been the best part of my degree. I have learnt a lot of skills in the process which in the long term, would be useful for any job. Whilst working in a new industry, I did not know what to expect but I soon realised that you can grow even in the most unexpected environments. Every part of my placement journey was great, from relocating to a new city to having a tour within one of the biggest power plants in the UK.