March 1, 2018, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham

My light bulb moment

This week Postgraduate Placements Nottingham (PPN) hears from Oliver Durner about his placements experiences.

Postgraduate Placements Nottingham (PPN) is the best kept secret at the University of Nottingham for postgraduates and I feel fortunate to have done two placements through the programme. You get paid to do really cool stuff which fits around your study and gain experience to support your career aspirations.

My first placement was with the membership rewards business Lioncard. The company had identified that there were problems with the production and accessibility of their rewards card, so I was tasked with doing a redesign. The work I did has made the card much more appealing to customers and when I saw my design on sale, in the Ugly Bread Bakery in Nottingham, I felt a real sense of achievement.

During my placement at Lioncard I got used to earning an income alongside my studies and so when the placement finished I took a job as a sales assistant. One day, as a customer was making a complaint about the minutiae of customer service, I had a light bulb moment, I should go back to PPN and look for another placement opportunity! The skills I’d gained through my PPN placement were far beyond anything I could get serving in a shop!

My next placement with People of the Streets was amazing. The social media project I worked on over several months culminated in a launch event for an exhibition to showcase artists who have a lived experience of homelessness. All the work that I’d done secured a BBC East Midlands news team to come to the exhibition and cover the launch in their news bulletin. It was so rewarding to see my work make such a difference.

“PPN has completely changed my career direction.”

This time last year I thought I would pursue a fairly traditional writing career but now I’m really passionate about marketing and using my writing skills in the field. I wouldn’t have believed this a year ago! PPN hasn’t simply helped to refine my career aspirations though but has also given me the chance to develop my business network through my placement hosts and amongst local entrepreneurs. Having this wider network has led from one exciting opportunity to the next. I’ve been surprised with the level of trust and responsibility I have been given in my placements, and inspired to be able to make a real difference through the work with People of the Streets. The skills that PPN placements have given me are ones that my MA in History was not going to be able to provide, so they have complemented each other really well.

All postgrads should consider doing a placement and I feel University of Nottingham students are really lucky to have such an offer available to them. My advice to fellow postgraduates would be not to leave looking for placements too long, I wish I had started looking at placement opportunities sooner as it’s tougher to find the time the closer you get to your dissertation deadline. It has to be said though that PPN placement hosts tend to be very flexible and, as such, when I really needed to focus on my studies I was able to.

If you’re a student interested in doing a postgraduate placement visit our webpage for more information, or check out current opportunities at the Placements Portal.

Posted in Placements