The OPCC is a very fast-paced environment as ideas tend to change, this has been a good experience for me to become organised and to better manage my time by prioritising different tasks.
What is your role and main responsibilities?
As a Public Engagement Assistant one of my responsibilities is to read different media platforms on a daily basis and input any mentions of the Police and Crime Commissioner into a spreadsheet. From this data I then create a media monitoring report on a weekly and monthly basis and create graphs in order to look at trends. I also assist with helping to organise, set up and run numerous events. The main area that I oversee is planning visits to the places that our office has funded. I organise and assist during these visits, as well as take photos and get quotes so I can write a press release which is sent out to the media. Other day-to-day tasks include regularly updating our website and social media and editing promotional material such as posters on Photoshop and Publisher.
What skills have you developed on placement?
The main skill that I have gained since starting my placement is confidence, when I first started I was very nervous about going to events alone in case something went wrong. I now have the confidence to organise an event, find out the specific information I need and then run that event smoothly. I also have the confidence to speak to different people from police officers to the public and give them relevant information.
From setting up different visits and assisting with events it has allowed me to develop my organisation skills as I have to make sure that I have the relevant information before going to each event and have to make sure that timings fit into a specific schedule. I also had to be organised when given weekly tasks to prioritise each one and organise myself to ensure my work is done for the specific deadline.
What 3 things have you learnt from your placement?
• I have learnt how to update our website and social media which I feel it a great skill to have for the future. I also know how to schedule and monitor tweets using Tweet Deck and HootSuite
• I have gained experience of using Business Objects to create graphs and look at trends.
• The main part of my placement which I feel has been the most helpful and I have enjoyed has been writing press releases. This has helped me to gain better writing skills and to use professional language which will hopefully help me when writing assignments when I return to university.
Thinking back to your placement search, how did you find it and what are your tips when searching for a role?
I decided late on to complete a placement year and luckily I managed to get one with this well-known organisation. I would say when looking for a placement to look early to get one that is within a field you are interested in and has a thorough job description where you will learn numerous skills.
Would you recommend a placement to other students and if so, why?
I would, without hesitation, recommend any student to complete a placement year. I hope that when finishing my degree it will allow me to stand out from other graduates as I have had the chance to gain full-time work experience for a company that is very reputable. I also have learnt many new skills that I wouldn’t have developed if I hadn’t completed the placement including event organisation, website content management and gaining a lot more confidence in myself. Hopefully these skills will help me when going for interviews in the future as I will have valuable work experience to draw-upon and to back up the skills I have.