Why I applied
As soon as I learned about the Scheme during the second year of my degree, I knew I wanted to be on it. The range of placements, development opportunities, and multiple levels of support – from your manager, supervisor, mentor, buddy, coach, and more – immediately drew me to it. The altruistic aim of higher education was particularly appealing to me, as I have a deep passion for education and worked as a private tutor for a number of years. However, I quickly realised how vast and varied the roles at a university are (UoB has over 8000 staff members!) and was eager to explore a wide range of roles and learn more about the many opportunities within the University.
Since this was my first full-time job, it was important for me to try out various working styles, cultures, and departments to identify what would suit me best, and the Scheme offered that opportunity. I also recognised this role would push me out of my comfort zone and help me grow in confidence and develop new skills in a relatively short amount of time.
I studied at the University of Birmingham, so knew from experience that the staff were supportive and friendly. I was also eager to return and spend more time on campus as my final year was entirely online due to the pandemic. And to top it all off, the campus is beautiful – my camera roll almost exclusively consists of Old Joe!
As a Graduate Management Trainee, I’ve had many highlights throughout my journey. The biggest by far is the wonderful people I’ve worked with and learnt from. A key benefit of the Scheme is how rapidly it expands your network and thus develops your interpersonal skills. I enjoy catching up with colleagues from my previous placements and hearing about the legacy of my work.
Additionally, I enjoyed getting involved in and supporting projects outside of my immediate area, such as co-leading the planning of the Festive Forum, developing creative writing workshops for the Aditi Leadership Programme, directing videos for Birmingham Professional in the Creative Media Studio, and volunteering at graduations and open days and many more! There are always so many interesting events, celebrations, and projects taking place at the University which staff are encouraged to engage with. I also really appreciated the encouragement from my manager and supervisors to take charge of my professional development by creating my own opportunities.
Over time, I have become more comfortable with change and uncertainty. I manage this by realising I don’t need to know everything straight away and that I bring lots of valuable transferable skills.
Throughout my time on the Graduate Management Training Scheme, I faced several challenges that helped me grow both personally and professionally. One of the biggest challenges was navigating the dips in my confidence levels. At the beginning of every placement, there is a natural dip in confidence as everything feels new and unknown, which leads to imposter syndrome. You are presented with a table of objectives which initially you doubt you’ll be able to complete (though it magically manages to work out by the end!) This feeling was especially pronounced when I was presented with my final placement which centred around data and systems – my refrain was ‘I’m an English graduate, what do I know about data?’ Over time, I have become more comfortable with change and uncertainty. I manage this by realising I don’t need to know everything straight away and that I bring lots of valuable transferable skills.