Name: Helen Rogers
Degree and university: (BA) Hons Marketing Management at Newcastle Business School, part of Northumbria University.
Work experience: I worked for HJ Heinz as a Marketing Assistant in the Infant Feeding Department
Reasons for doing work experience. I thought it would make me more employable. There are so many students that are eager for jobs when they graduate, so I wanted to make sure I had the experience behind me to stand out above the rest. I chose to work with HJ Heinz because they are a well-known brand, and through my research I knew they treat their staff with huge respect. Once I was there they provided me with loads of support and advice which I was very grateful for.
Tasks carried out during work experience I launched the new Heinz Chocolate Biscotti into the baby food market within six months by managing my own budget and deciding on the design of the product, which was a big responsibility. Walking into a supermarket and seeing a product on the shelves because of your hard work is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences. Throughout my placement I also ran the online communications.
Impact on career progression I was offered a graduate job at HJ Heinz shortly after completing my placement which was fantastic news. My experience clearly stood out on my CV, which was one of the reasons why I took the work placement.
What were the highlights of what you did and were there any downsides?Being in London was definitely a highlight because it was very different to where I’m from in Durham. Being in the middle of everything was brilliant because there’s always something happening in London, and I am pleased to have experienced that.
The money was definitely a factor because everything is so expensive in London. Also, as I was effectively working in full-time employment, I could no longer live like a student. I initially found it really hard getting up at nine o’clock every morning after getting up whenever I wanted to during university, but this is something that I’m going to have to get used to.
What did you gain from the experience personally? The contacts I made have been really helpful in my final year at university, and the experience from my placement at HJ Heinz has been character building. I am definitely a lot more focused, dedicated, and clearly more knowledgeable.
What qualities do you need to make a success of work experience? You need confidence, as you have to put yourself out there and step up to projects to get the best out of your placement. Make sure you get involved as much as possible.
What advice would you give people wanting to do work experience? Make sure you research what you want to do so that you are not wasting your time and the employer’s time. The best advice I can give is to get out there and do it, don’t leave it until it’s too late. If it wasn’t for my placement I would not have achieved half as much, and I have gained so much from it.