Julie Derrien

BSc Management with Italian, University of Warwick

Julie Derrien

Why I applied

The Graduate Training Scheme at Birmingham felt the perfect place for me to gain skills in the Higher Education sector in a prestigious university known both for its teaching and research and its civic values.


Although I previously had experience working as a part-time university administrator as a student, the scheme has opened my eyes to the vast number of essential activities that go on behind the scenes and are largely unnoticed by students.

In my first placement, I joined a team in HR Strategy and Projects, where I got to discover how the University is committed to creating a fair workplace when it comes to Equality and Diversity.

Another highlight has been organising the Study Abroad Fair for students going on international exchanges. I got the opportunity to manage the whole event from start to finish, from creating the programme, to contacting partners and running the day itself. This project gave me the skills and confidence to take on bigger projects with multiple stakeholders.

Best advice

The scheme is really great because on top of very varied placements we also all get a lot of support. Alongside regular catch-ups with supervisors and line managers, you are assigned a buddy from the 2nd year trainees when you start the scheme and a mentor who is a senior leader at the University. They all have been very helpful in helping me to reflect on my experiences and think about my future in Higher Education. We also receive coaching and attend professional development sessions from the get-go which is very useful to make the most of our new positions. 


If you have a particular passion or interest, don’t be scared to look for opportunities in those areas as there is always a project you could get involved in. That said, be open to anything coming your way - it’s sometimes the projects you don’t know anything about that can be the most interesting and rewarding.