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Tell us about your placement:

I secured my placement through Work Based Learning (WBL). I found the job advertised under the approved placements and I was quick to apply. The WBL staff helped me to make final changes to my cover letter and CV before it was sent off to the company. I was then invited in for an interview with Bibby HydroMap and I was successful. The most enjoyable aspect of my placement has been working on an actual job. I was able to put my skills into practical application and have visible results at the end of it. This was also the most challenging because I knew that the work I was doing would go out to a client. I had to make sure the data was accurate and correct, and that it was presented in line with the company’s professional standards.

What skills have you developed whilst on placement?

I was able to significantly improve my geomatic skills. Studying a geomatics module gave me basic knowledge about what spatial data is and some basic ArcGIS skills. This was beneficial when I started my placement as I could continue to build my knowledge. Since starting my placement, I have a deeper understanding of how spatial data is processed and used in a real-world setting. I have used several spatial software such as ArcGIS and CAD on a regular basis. I have learnt how to navigate around these, and I got to practice, which have developed my technical skills.

How has your placement prepared you for your future career?

I researched several jobs at the start of second year to get an idea of what companies ‘desired’ and expect from an applicant. This made me realize that I will need to get qualifications or experience in various geospatial software. This placement has been perfect as I have been introduced to relevant software and gained experience using it. It has also been great to work in a professional environment. From sitting an interview to working, it sets your expectations of what working life can be like after graduation.

What have you learnt about yourself during placement?

I picked the right course: it will support my future career. I do enjoy geomatics and working with data, however I would also like the opportunity to potentially collect the data that I have been processing.

What were your expectations before starting your placement?

Matt (my supervisor) and I communicated our expectations of each other from the start. Fortunately, we both had similar expectations. Obviously, I wanted to learn and use different software and adopt the company’s way of work. The placement covered my expectations. In fact, Matt caught me by surprise when he said that I will have the opportunity to work on a job. All my expectations have been met and more!

What advice would you give to students embarking on Work Based Learning?

I only have two pieces of advice. Firstly, take it seriously. The WBL staff will do the most to get you a placement so you need to match their efforts, especially if you want a decent placement. Otherwise, pick a different module option. Secondly, use Careers and Employability. They can help you write a CV, cover letter and run practice interviews. This will help your WBL application and more. WBL is THE best opportunity within the University. It allows you to experience the real world. If you like the placement, you get a sense of direction for a career after graduation.

How would you sum up your placement experience?

I couldn’t have got this experience sitting in a classroom. It has been fulfilling and educational.