Employer: First Capital Cashflow Plc
Date of placement:
23 January 2011 for 12 weeks
After my Degree and Masters I started a PhD at the University of Manchester, however, I soon realised this was not the right path for me, and begin to look for alternatives. I therefore began to look for graduate schemes starting in September of 2011. But in the meantime I wanted to make productive use of my time. A careers advisor recommended ‘Step’ as a great way to gain work experience. I registered my details with ease and before long had an interview with First Capital Cashflow Plc for a twelve week internship. Laura Stratford from ‘Step’ helped me through the whole process, and was always at the end of a phone or computer to answer my queries and keep me updated throughout. Laura gave me some very useful tips and advice and made sure I was paired with an appropriate company, given my qualifications and competencies. When I was offered the internship at First Capital Cashflow Plc I envisaged it simply being a quick three month placement, and something to add to my CV. However, the further I progressed into my placement I soon realised how much experience I was gaining and actually enjoying looking at all the internal elements of a successful SME.
My twelve weeks involved looking at Sales, Marketing, Administration, IT infrastructure and so much more. By week eight I felt like an integral part of the company and not long after I was offered a full time position. My plans and intentions of looking for a graduate scheme with a big company had changed so quickly, and with the offer of an attractive package I accepted the full time position. I’m now in a business development role which involves so much, including Sales, Marketing, Networking and plenty more. I’m learning new skills and picking up great techniques from highly experienced people every day. ‘Step’ were supportive throughout my internship, not just in the early stages. I was assigned a liaison advisor, Catherine Lowe. Catherine took the time to always check everything was running smoothly and if I needed any help.
One day I hope to set up my own business and I’m sure the experience I’m gaining will prove invaluable when the appropriate time comes. Being part of the ‘Step’ scheme has really helped me assess my career aspirations and goals. It’s a unique and highly recommended way to gain top quality experience and potentially full time employment. If I was to give anyone in the graduate job hunt a piece of advice I would say; don’t dismiss SMEs as good job opportunities, you are more likely to gain a broader range of skills and be given more responsibility earlier on. I really think I’ve joined a great company at the right time, just as it’s experiencing very healthy growth and going places. A ‘Step’ internship has proved invaluable for me, and I’m sure it will and has for many more.