Placements: Are they worth it?

Happy 2018 guys!

I have good feelings about this year and just like my placement year I want to take every opportunity that comes at me. I want to make this year the best one yet.

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As a part of this blog I really want to give you all insight into my life and hope that my experiences can offer great advice to you.

In this portion of my blog I thought it would be great to give you guys out there some tips and information that I have experienced from doing placements, so you can see if they are right for you. If you get offered something this year I hope this post can let you have a proper think of what is best for you.

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I have done 3 placements so far in my lifetime, 1 in Secondary, 1 in College & 1 at University. They have all individually been really great and effective in helping my discover what I want to do in my career.

My 2nd Placement was at Great Rail Journeys during College. I was recommended this placement by one of my college tutor’s and I am forever grateful to her as I have stuck with Great Rail for many years now. It gave a glimpse into how a Tour Operator creates, sells & manages tours that are sold to the public. I dotted around each department in my college placement and loved every minute of it.

For some people that placement at college would not have been the most exciting, but for me it struck a chord of what my future could hold in the travel industry. I have since then been very lucky that in my 1st year of University I was offered a job in their Contact Centre department and worked there for 2 years throughout the 2nd half of my 1st year & 2nd year of Uni.

Then my most recent placement was during my ‘3rd’ year at University. My course offered the chance to take a year’s placement as part of the ‘sandwich’ programme. I knew from the start of studying Tourism Management at Sheffield Hallam that I would do a placement. I have also been very lucky to have been working already for a major Tour Operator and knew that I would love to have a glimpse into the Product Department.

I took it upon myself to contact my HR Manager and query if I could do a year’s placement in the Product Team and I was lucky to get my placement secured in that department very early on into my 2nd year at Uni. Quite a lot of my colleagues were struggling to find a placement for a long-time but luckily the majority did also secure their placements.

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The reason I want to aim this advice towards the University placement is that it’s an optional one, you can either go straight into your final year or take a year’s placement.

I want to offer you students advice because let’s face it we are facing a large amount of debt for simply choosing to further our education, that’s crazy right?

We also face that insufferable you need experience to get the job, but to get the experience you need that job…it’s an endless very irritating cycle and that is one major reason why if we are offered an opportunity to seek a placement to get valuable experience we should take it.

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My feelings: 

I felt slightly discouraged about my placement whilst I was still at university. I was hearing everyone around me going abroad or going down to London and there I was going back home. I felt like I had taken the easy route and that I’d be losing out on these amazing experiences being somewhere completely out of my comfort zone.

I look back on the feelings I had back then and it is completely understandable why I felt that way. However no placements that were being offered appealed to me in the way that being able to work hands-on in a Product/Contracting team did. I also decided that if I am going to do a large portion of travelling I can do that when I graduate, there is nothing stopping me.

Do not feel discouraged if you are going to be back home for the year, it is a great time to save up money & really focus on your placement. It also meant that as I was already familiar with the local area & the company I worked for I got settled in very quickly. I loved every minute of my placement and yes it was hard work but I have learned so much.

What did I do? 

I spent my year doing multiple projects including creating tour planning documents, creating contracts, organising familiarisation trips & negotiating rates. I worked in a wonderful team of people who made me feel right at home and I struggled to come to terms with the fact that it was only a year’s placement.

My mentor was amazing and each individual taught me a lot about what it means to work in the travel industry. I know I wouldn’t have learned the hardships and positives without being in a product team. I definitely had some down times where I felt I had so much work to do but then I had the positives where we worked well as a team and had so many laughs. I got to attend a few different events including: Hotel Indigo Exhibition, Visit Scotland Expo & our annual Supplier Event.

I wrote a post about my experience at the: The Visit Scotland Expo so go and check that out.


I can firmly say that I would be more than happy to become a Product Manager. I did experience negative as this placement year occurred on very interesting year for the economy with Brexit negotiations & all of the terror attacks. I did get to see the positives on how the team build relationships with the suppliers and the great feeling that they have when their tours sell out!

I also discovered that I would like to grow my German as a language in this job can be pretty essential & will make me better at my job being able to offer a fluent language.

You will learn so much about yourself and your placement is a year for you to grow as a person before coming back and smashing through your final year. Being able to apply what you have learnt to your coursework, it’s amazing to see how much my placement has helped me through this final year.

The change i’ve noticed the most is my confidence and ability to ask questions. I used to always be terrified of sounding stupid but now I know that if it’s going to make my work easier then just ask it. I also feel more grown up and a more of an expert in that field of work.

I am very excited to see what this year brings for my career in travel and a lot of my excitement stems from that placement year.

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I am going to leave you with some little bits of advice if you’re a student either doubting your placement or still searching:

  • There’s no rush…keep your eyes peeled and hunt for something that suits you trust me you will find something.
  • Don’t listen to what other people say, if you feel happy with your placement that’s the most important thing.
  • If you’re going back home, that is not a bad thing appreciate being back home and save your money!
  • Be honest with yourself and if you’re feeling bad about your placement tell your tutor/advisor.
  • Take every opportunity it gives you even if the task sounds boring its the real working world.
  • Keep in contact with everyone you meet, you won’t regret it.

I hope you find this post helpful and if you do need any advice feel free to leave me a comment of even contact me on Instagram and Twitter @bookitblogger.

Let me know what you think and if there are any posts you’d like me to do this year.

Thank you for reading,

Rhianna

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