INDUSTRIAL PLACEMENT: WORKING WHILST STUDYING

Written by Oliver Farrar.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

My name is Oliver Farrar, I’m currently a 4th year undergraduate Project Management student at Leeds Beckett University. During my second year at university, I applied for a year in industry with PL Projects (PLP) as a Trainee Consultant / Project Management Office (PMO) Analyst due to the company ethos and recommendations from numerous fellow ex-Leeds Beckett students, to which I was accepted during the summer. I was onboarded at PLP and assigned my first external role consulting to a major card retailer as a PMO Analyst.

WHAT SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE HAVE YOU LEARNT DURING THE PLACEMENT?

During my placement, I was thrown in the deep end with my first client account. This provided the opportunity to grow and develop whilst experiencing what it actually means to be working in-house and with a client. I was assigned to the client as they were in need of support through the setting up & development of a Transformation Department. My role evolved as I worked on the client site, in conjunction with my level of training and understanding. This allowed myself to absorb and experience all areas of Project Management and help PLP solve complex problems for the client, such as tailored governance and project controls. This can be showcased through my time on client site and development of responsibilities from hosting weekly planning sessions, leading MSP Plans and producing tailored reporting for senior management. Furthermore, I assisted with the facilitation risk reviews & planning workshops with major programmes and projects with key personnel. I also supported the creation, development and review of necessary PMO process documentation and templates to ensure they were tailored to the organisation’s needs & maturity to ensure they were fit for purpose and in line with the intricacies and client’s governance structures. These are a few examples of the work I completed on the client site and how my skills were developed and my responsibilities mirrored.

HOW DO YOU THINK THIS PLACEMENT HAS BENEFITED YOU FOR THE FUTURE?

This placement has been invaluable and benefitted me in all areas of personal and professional life. I have acquired new skills, extended my knowledge and experienced what it’s like to work in a Project Management environment. It has also given me the necessary professional skills, behaviours and standards required to be successful. This has helped confirm my desire to work for PLP in the future, with the level of support and training received at from both internal and external sources showing me the ethos and caring nature of the staff and management.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO AN UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN SEEKING A PLACEMENT?

I would highly recommend the PLP placement scheme to any undergraduate who is interested in expanding their skill set, developing as a person inside & out of work and wants to experience the real-world applications and differences of what they are taught in lectures. Don’t be put off applying if you don’t have a lot of experience about the subject area as plenty of help and support is provided throughout; the PLP family and company ethos is their greatest strength with how caring and trusting they are and how each individual can flourish in their chosen field or specialty. The scheme is a great opportunity to extend your knowledge in all given areas of project management, whilst receiving qualifications, training and mentorship throughout.

For more information on our placement opportunities please contact our Business Development Manager at daniel.mcdermott@plprojects.co.uk