I've boosted my career chances with work placement, says Joel

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Accounting and Finance student Joel Aikins-Hawkson spent his placement year as a Profitability Intern with the multinational conglomerate General Electric (GE).

My role was to focus on GE’s contract profitability, such as capturing cost and maximising our profitability. What was the best part about it? We're talking big numbers here! That's exciting.

The biggest challenge was settling in, and growing the confidence needed for the role. Six months in, my manager was promoted to a different role within the business. As a result, I picked up some of her responsibilities. I had to learn new processes within a short time.

I worked with minimum supervision to allow my Manager to transition into her new role without the business being impacted in any negative way. As a result I was presented with the company’s Above & Beyond Award.

I strongly advise all students to find relevant experience whilst studying, whether it’s taking a year out in industry like me, or a summer job. Experience is just as important as your degree. I really enjoyed my placement year. I was paid and treated very well. My appraisal review was excellent, and there's a possibility I might go back to GE after University. What’s more, it has developed my CV to boost my chances of competing for the top graduate schemes.