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"The first graduate job I undertook was a Project Management Assistant role at a large bank, on a 6-month contract. My main responsibilities were to support both project and commercial management teams in the transition of a £100m+ IT Development outsource contract, which was a hugely enjoyable, challenging and varied role. In conjunction, I was also responsible for ensuring the team worked to identified actions by agreed deadlines and as such, I produced Operating Level Agreements between the bank and supplier. This particularly helped me to learn managing people towards my objectives and help them identify theirs.
Within this PMA role, I also assumed responsibility for producing weekly/monthly project and steering group packs, whilst becoming responsible for coordinating group focus and renewed energy towards project plans and risk logs. This ensured the projects continually progressed against identified key milestones through to delivery, whilst identifying and planning against potential risks. I was exposed to a diverse set-of customers and colleagues alike, and as such, this network ultimately helped me to attain a permanent role here afterwards.
The role required me to be self motivated, reliable and show initiative to perform in all activities to assist the project manager (and other team members) wherever possible. I gained valuable insight into project budgeting and the need for essential planning and delegation of tasks. Due to the diverse nature of the role, I gained exposure to key attributes applicable to careers in Project Management, Business Analysis, Contract and Commercial supplier management alike."
TOM, STAFFORDSHIRE UNIVERSITY
"My graduate scheme is in the operational strand of an international postal service. I started on the scheme on October 18th 2009 based in Tyneside Mail Centre. Having come pretty much straight from University, and never having any managerial experience was something that I thought would have held me back but the interview process is such that it is other qualities that are looked at and have proved to be more important.
After an 8 week induction to the company and the managerial training centre (which is excellent!) I was put into my first 6 month placement working in the process hall. The pace of work was high but there was scope to put your own mark against the work area that I managed. This experience allowed me to accelerate my interpersonal skills, deal with Performance Management and Process Improvement on a daily basis. When I joined the company it was a particularly tough time with Industrial Relations at such a low point - but this has been such a positive experience personally as dealing with events such as this are few and far between in other companies.
From there I have been fortunate to be working in the Quality and Service Integrity section of the company which has opened up access to a whole new side of what can be done, and I thoroughly enjoy my work. There is a real responsibility, and there are numerous opportunities for continued personal development from project management courses to going through the CIMA qualification. Graduates in the business are really well thought of and I would encourage as many people as possible to become involved with such a scheme!
The scheme runs with an optional third placement that in many cases becomes your first substantial job. Normally this is similar to the first two placements at a relatively front line position, but the vision with this company is that graduates become senior leaders within 5/6 years and so the possibilities are only limited by an individuals drive."
RICHARD, UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM