Step recently spoke to Charlotte Webb who undertook an internship at the British Coatings Federation, along with her supervisor, marketing manager Alison Brown.
Q: Charlotte, what were your career aspirations and interests before and during University?
My career aspirations developed from a young age watching my father at work in the car industry. However, while at school I was unsure what my career goal was, so following in my father’s footsteps I took business studies as one of my A levels and thoroughly enjoyed it. When it came to University I was not totally convinced it was for me. I had a large cloud over me to decide whether experience or in-depth knowledge would be better for me. I decided that I wasn’t ready for the job world and I would really like to study business studies in more detail but without the economics side of things. Therefore when talking to a career advisor, they said marketing would be a good degree for me.
To battle the experience side of things, I took a few summer placements whilst studying that helped to develop my knowledge and enabled me to better understand how business and marketing come together. And after all that, university was the best 3 years of my life, and drove my passion for marketing to where I am today. My degree is the proudest moment of my life to date and I cannot wait to further it in my profession.
Q: how did you hear about Step?
I found Step whilst looking up ‘graduate marketing jobs’ in the Google search engine. It was just what I had been looking for – a company that specialises in new graduates. The staff could not have been more helpful and lovely.
I also really liked their easy to use website, where you could simply create your CV and click to apply for jobs. Because of this, I have recommended it to many of my friends
Q: Alison – what were the specific benefits to your business from this placement?
Charlotte had knowledge of social media that others in the business had not previously thought of, and was able to use this as part of her marketing work. And we were keen to bring some fresher ideas to the business. She had new ideas regarding marketing and also a ‘young outlook’.
Q: Tell us what you actually did while at BCF
During my placement I worked as a Marketing Assistant and was given the opportunity to shadow the marketing manager and CEO.
– Social networking
– Website maintenance
– Redesigning their quarterly newsletter
– Working on their technical bulletin
– Bringing PR in-house
– Creating and implementing a marketing campaign
A massive high for me was when Tom the CEO asked me to shadow him for the day in London, which was very exciting and nerve racking. I met him by Westminster Abbey and got to follow him to a government meeting at the Department of Business Innovation and Skills and see him try and lobby on behalf of one of our members, an MP at the Houses of Parliament. This was a truly exciting experience for me that I will never forget.
Q: Alison – What do you think the key skills an employer expects from a graduate or student on placement?
My expectations were pretty straight forward. I expected that the successful candidate would be able to complete the role efficiently to the standards set out in their initial application. I also expected proficiency in a particular software package, again as stated in their application. I expected the candidate to fit in with the role’s requirements, to have a good personality and to have good written skills.
Q: Charlotte, why do think this placement worked for you and the employer? And what advice would you give someone on placement?
I think the placement worked so well because the employer knew what it was like to be a graduate and wanted to give me such a broad variety of things to do and helped me as much as possible.
Advice I would give is to be as positive as possible and want to learn a variety and broad amount of skills. Most importantly, to ask questions and want to do more.
Q: Alison – what was it about Charlotte and her work that you particularly liked?
I was incredibly impressed with Charlotte’s work ethic and the fact that she was prepared to go over and beyond what was required of her in her role. She was passionate about the role and was excellent at taking feedback. We chose to take Charlotte on in a permanent role, partly because of the commute that she made daily but also because of her commitment to the company. She has been a fantastic addition to our company.
Q: Charlotte, what role are you now in and what is the best bit?
I am now working alongside the Marketing Manager as Marketing Executive for the BCF – and I think that may be the best bit! I love my job title!
In all seriousness, it is fantastic and humbling to be in the position – I am in less than a year after leaving university and I have to thank Step and BCF to thank for that. The best bit is that I am furthering what I went to university for and doing what I enjoy every day. I can’t wait to know what is round the corner – every day I am doing new and exciting challenges.