Why did you apply for the STEP Programme?
Before starting my placement at the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA), I had some doubts about my future career. I was not sure how I would be able to implement the skills I have developed, whilst studying Modern Languages and Translation at university, in a role other than translation. So, I applied for a placement with the STEP Programme with the hope of giving me some clarity in career prospects and how I could utilise my undergraduate skills in an office environment. I found my placement to be an enjoyable, yet challenging opportunity that enabled me to utilise my skills and university degree in the workplace; helping me to build my social and communication skills required for future life and employment.
Where did you complete your placement and what was the project about?
I completed my 8-week STEP placement in the Ecosystem Policy Team at DEFA. I was set the challenge of improving administration for a number of projects all under the work of UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man. I have been fortunate enough to work on prestigious projects all working towards a sustainable future on the Isle of Man. I was also lucky enough to be awarded the Best Presentation Runner-up prize at this year’s STEP Final.
What are the benefits of the STEP Programme for students?
I think that STEP placements are very beneficial for a student’s future career. My experience has highlighted my strength in communication-based projects and confirmed which areas I wish to pursue further. The whole experience helped me build my organisational, social and communication skills, due to regular team and stakeholder meetings, whilst also contributing to my CV. I also improved my time management and flexibility in the work place. I was also able to use areas of my language skills during this placement, working with projects under the work of UNESCO Biosphere which opened new opportunities for me as a language student.
Finally, I have been able to improve my presentation skills which will benefit me immensely moving into my final year. Prior to this placement, I had never worked in role heavily dedicated to environmental work. This placement has not only improved my transferable skills, but I now have a much higher understanding of environmental initiatives on the Isle of Man and the impact that each of us as individuals has on our Island and our planet.
How did you settle into your placement?
The DEFA Team were all incredibly welcoming and supportive, this atmosphere made my time in the role thoroughly enriching and enjoyable. The guidance I received from my host regarding both my work in the office and potential career prospects was amazing in helping me start to make decisions for my future. I cannot thank everyone at DEFA enough for all their time and support during my placement. The confidence and experience I have gained since starting in my role could not have been possible without their help. I am excited to move into my final year at Cardiff University having been able to develop thanks to this amazing opportunity!
Would you recommend the STEP Programme to other students?
I could not recommend this scheme enough to undergraduates on the Island! It is an amazing opportunity to not only use your undergraduate degree but to develop new skills. Students are given the opportunity to make so many new connections with business executives and other STEP students which will be so beneficial for future employment post-university. This opportunity has highlighted the benefits of my degree, how it can be applied to a workplace and provided me with industry experience in a professional office setting; preparing me for my future career and life after graduation.