1st March, 2016

1st March 2016

Ashley Wareing

HR and Finance Placement Student
Nottingham Trent University

Placement year

Applying for the role:

The recruitment journey started in quite a unique way for me when applying for the role of HR and Finance Assistant at Clearmark. Throughout my time at University I have been a Student Ambassador and while working previously that year as an open day tour guide, I happened to meet Chris Simpson and his Son whilst giving the group a tour around campus. He explained how he was a Director of a company in Nottingham who had previously hired Marketing placement students.

I was later that year contacted by the University’s Employability Team who explained that someone had called to express to me that they now have a HR placement vacancy, which was in fact Clearmark. I was quite amazed how getting involved in something like being an Ambassador at University can open up opportunities to meet people like it did on this occasion.

What instantly attracted me to Clearmark was the versatility of the role. Situated amongst the Finance team assisting in financial tasks but also dealing with key HR matters for the company was ideal for a student wanting to broaden their knowledge in not only their chosen principle of business but other aspects too, particularly when having no previous experience in a business environment. Having applied to several other companies due to the competitive nature of gaining a placement, it was refreshing to see a job role that was clear the student would be valued as any other full-time employee and would be fully involved and able to delve into key tasks in all areas of HR, rather than being limited to one specific area for the year.

Reflection on experiences:

When initially commencing my placement year at Clearmark in July, it quickly became apparent as to how valuable work-based practical experience in a business environment truly is for undergraduates such as myself. For me, I feel that the theory taught at University is a great foundation of knowledge but it is vital to gain real-life practical experience in a business context and apply the theory you have gained at University to these situations to better your understanding. I think it’s important to fully involve yourself in all opportunities that are presented to you on a year out like this, in order to develop yourself and carry this experience with you into the last year of your degree and future employment, which in itself illustrates how beneficial the placement year is.

Upon reflection, there have been several opportunities that have arisen throughout the year that I feel have greatly developed several graduate attributes and skills which I will carry with me into the future.

Attending the PPMA show and helping out on our exhibition stand within the first couple of months of my placement, was a great opportunity to gain commercial awareness of the industry Clearmark trade within. Personally meeting with customers, potential customers and witnessing competitor stands was a great experience and something I feel developed my business acumen when meeting first-hand other people from the industry.

ACAS Training Course ‘HR Management for Beginners’

In December, I attended an ACAS Training Course for the day. This course covered key HR Management principles and was a hugely valuable experience. Not only was this a chance to broaden my knowledge in very relevant HR matters but it was a chance to meet with other business people and share ideas in order to enhance the learning process. I was also able to ask an ACAS leader any general questions I had. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to attend this course during my placement year and recognise this is not something every employer would be willing to do for a placement student. The content covered throughout this course is not only something that will help me throughout my time left at Clearmark but also areas very relevant to my final year study and future employment.

My overall experience at Clearmark has been one I will definitely cherish and take with me into later life and the final year of my degree. The placement year is an invaluable year of a student’s degree and one I would highly recommend it to other students.

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