The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

The University of Kent Work Experience Bursary was a valuable tool for me as it allowed me to attend my work experience at two different sites across London, based in Dagenham and Liverpool Street. The placement itself was extremely useful as it gave me a valuable first hand insight into the structure and working culture of a corporate business. Before the placement I had very little, if any, experience in this kind of working environment and due to the fact that I am usually required to work over the summer due to personal circumstance. This bursary provided me with the financial support to complete the full 2 week term of the placement and an additional training day on Wednesday 12th of July as well as giving me the opportunity to pursue another placement at the end of the summer.

Attending the placement gave me an invaluable insight into the working world, allowing me to network with various different staff members at all different levels of the company. These conversations improved both my confidence and knowledge of the firm as well as enabling to gain an understanding of the various pathways that exist into corporate business and all the different professions it has to offer. Most importantly, the placement provided me with the opportunity to develop strong relationships with those who are able to offer me graduate placements. I was able to demonstrate my strong work ethic and commitment to potentially pursuing a career with the firm after university. Maintaining the connections with these individuals is something that would have simply been impossible without the bursary, as I would not have been able to afford to attend in person. Ultimately, the bursary enabled me to begin trailblazing my own pathway to a graduate career in corporate business.

In my first week I spent a significant amount of time within the finance department mainly shadowing the CFO as well as the head of department. In this time I moved between the numerous sub departments of finance, where I ultimately found myself working closely with the financial accounting and control team, assisting them in the creation of the monthly financial reports. Working within this team was a particular highlight of my week due to the fact that my reason for undertaking the placement was learn about this area and gain an understanding of the day-to-day work schedule. However, my personal career goals how now slightly changed since this and I am now looking at other career paths, but I am keeping it open to possibility because I acknowledge that this experience might be specific to this firm and the culture and diversity of work may be different elsewhere.

In the second week I moved into the PMO office to work with the project managers, business analysts and project analysts. This part of the placement took place in both the Dagenham and the Liverpool Street sites. In my time in the departments I was given a walk through of the day-to-day workloads, sat in on meetings with clients and team member and listened in on internal and external conference calls. I was also given my own project by the head of the department in which I had to communicate with PM’s from sites across the UK to obtain information so I could complete different tasks. The highlight of this week was that I was able to travel into the Liverpool Street office and gain an insight into a different working culture, though I was only there for 2 days I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Two weeks after completing the initial placement I was invited back to take part in a training day for PMO new starters, which took place in the London branch. These training exercises helping give me a detailed overview of the systems and practices that Paragon and other firms use in the delivery of projects, internally and externally.

Thank you to those who have facilitated the bursary scheme and allowed me to gain such a useful experience in corporate business. I am extremely grateful for the knowledge that I have gained as a result of the scheme.

– Joel Drake

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