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Here at the University of Chester, we’re big on getting you connected throughout your degree: making career connections, building your network of contacts and gaining real-world experience. One of the ways you can do this is through our innovative Work Based Learning module – a five week placement in your second year.

The module also includes assignments designed to encourage reflection and critical thinking around your experiences, your employability, and the next steps you need to take towards a career in the sector you want to work in.

With the support of our dedicated Work Based Learning (WBL) team, our students have secured placements with thousands of providers across the UK, and many of them go on to gain employment in these organisations. We caught up with Sport and Exercise Science student Kate, fresh off the back of her placement this summer.

What organisation did you work with, and in what role?

"I worked for Myo-band, a company that develops and manufactures food supplements, nutritional products and protein snacks. The company was actually set up by a former student of the University of Chester, so it was inspiring to see where my degree could potentially take me.

My role was to research and evaluate online nutritional/supplement products and advertising, and to produce content for Myo-band. I wrote two scientific articles which are now published on the Myo-band website. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, I was working from home, working virtually alongside the rest of the team."

How did you organise the placement?

"I found this opportunity with Myo-band via the 'placement board' on the WBL intranet page. I submitted my CV and covering letter to my University placement coordinator, who then asked if I'd be willing to do an interview. After I was shortlisted, I had an interview with the placement supervisor at Myo-band and wrote a short blog to show him my approach to writing."

How did you find the experience and how do you think it’s benefitted you?

"Physiology is my favourite course module and a potential career path that I wanted to explore. This placement opportunity gave me a little taster of the nutrition industry, which helps to further narrow down my career path. I have to say I found the process very daunting at first and felt quite anxious, but at the end of the five weeks I felt more confident in my abilities. I thoroughly enjoyed learning and experiencing new things."

"The placement experience has already proven to greatly benefit my future employment, as I was offered a job as Marketing Associate! I now create content for the Myo-band social media accounts as well as their website. I also scientifically answer any questions which Myo-band customers ask on the social pages."

What advice do you have for anyone undertaking a placement in the future?

"Before I applied to placement, I assumed I would be working alongside someone. However, as this placement was virtual, I had my own role and was treated just like an employee. If I could give a future WBL student a piece of advice, it would be that it's okay not to know what you are doing sometimes. Placement is a brand new experience for all students, so no one expects perfection. I feel as though I placed too much pressure on myself in the beginning of my placement, but once I relaxed it was much easier to produce quality content. Most importantly, manage your time and plan, plan, plan! I would suggest completing all other University assignments before placement begins to avoid an overload of work. Set deadlines and goals for yourself, even if no one tells you to."

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