Portrait photograph of: Katie Birchall

Katie Birchall

Country Of Origin: United Kingdom

Degree: BA Management and Organisation (Human Resource Management / Industry), 2016

Katie worked in Wolverhampton with Marston’s PLC for her placement year.

I wanted to do a placement year to allow me to develop an understanding of what to expect when I join the workforce post graduation. My placement year gave me the opportunity to see what employers expect, what my strengths and weaknesses were and gain a greater understanding of the workplace. I know that this extra self awareness would help me in the final year of my degree and also give me the opportunity to develop my experiences before I applied for a graduate scheme.

During my placement year, I worked within the People Development team at Marston's PLC. My role as People Development Administrator lasted for 12 months and included using the HR system to plan and arrange our corporate training courses, advertise, track and book the candidates onto the courses, administer the internal Chartered Management Institute programme and Insights courses and programme and advertise and organise the Further Education Programme. In addition, I was given further HR related projects such as developing new administrative processes, inputting weekly data into our Compliments and Complaints tracker, administering  the Area Manager's training records, planning and organising the annual event recognising those who have achieved an academic qualification in that year, as well as supporting the team in other work projects.

My placement has been very enlightening. I have developed my understanding of training needs, customer service and general processes within a company which are all skills you can't learn in the classroom. These new skills have given me the confidence to feel even more optimistic about my passion for HR and progressing even further in a graduate job.

The highlight for working for Marston's was that I had a wonderfully supportive and positive team; this was a fantastic introduction for me into a large business and working in a HR department. As well as supporting me in my role and with my university work, my team supported me through a CMI qualification in Performance Management which not only gave me a greater understanding of an area of HR I wish to progress into, but also upheld and further developed my academic writing skills.

In addition, Marston's was a very friendly company which opened up some great networking opportunities. One of the best days of my placement year was 'Race Day' where all of the Marston's Inn's and Tavern's team enjoyed a day at the races, networking with a mixture of departments during a three course meal and an afternoon at the racecourse.

During my placement year, I felt fully supported by Rory and Rachel their communication was open and I knew they were always there for support if needed. I especially felt that the visit with Rory was useful so that the university were able to see first-hand how we were getting on and the professional maturity that occurs over the course of the year.