IF you’re worried about getting a job after university, a degree with a work placement year could be a ‘CV lifesaver’.
That’s according to one student at Liverpool Hope University, who’s just finished a crucial stint working in industry.
And not only has Joe Perrins cleared his overdraft and bolstered his finances ahead of his final year of study, both his CV and his confidence have been transformed.
Joe, 21, is studying Business Management at Hope.
He opted to turn his three-year course into a four year one - spending his third year on a paid work placement with car rental giants Enterprise.
It’s a scheme that’s new to Hope - but which Joe says has been invaluable in terms of his near £20,000-a-year salary and his on-the-job education.
Joe, from Telford, Shropshire, explains: “I’d recommend the work placement year to anyone.
“Yes, it was hard work, and it’s very different from being at university full time.
“But for me it’s about the freedom to spend a year in industry and then go back to your studies with a fresh perspective and impetus.
“And in terms of my options after I graduate, it’s definitely helping to steer me in a positive new direction.”
Joe worked at an Enterprise branch in Liverpool city centre, in a role that encompassed everything from logistics planning to sales, promotional work and marketing.
He was praised for using his initiative and nous to bring in some 25 new major corporate clients.
And his sales figures saw him place second in the North West during his final weeks - a region that involves hundreds of employees and extends as far south as Stoke and as far north as Kendal, Cumbria.
Joe adds: “I’m really proud of what I achieved. And the work placement also improved my confidence massively - 100 per cent.
“Before university, I was quite nervous in certain situations. But having to work on major corporate accounts forces you to come out of your shell.
“So many of my skills have improved - and I think employers will take notice of that in the future.”
The Enterprise role itself was secured through Hope’s much-acclaimed Careers & Employability Service, as well his academic department, who work with local business to identify roles that compliment a student’s given degree.
Meanwhile having to negotiate the current Coronavirus situation has, ironically, also given Joe an important lesson in crisis management.
He reveals: “A lot of businesses describe themselves as operating in a ‘fast-paced environment’ - and this was certainly the case.
“And I never thought I’d have to be part of a crisis management team - but that’s what we found ourselves going up against.
“In the future, potential employers are going to be asking candidates, ‘What hurdles did you have to overcome during Covid-19?’
“And, ironically, if you haven’t got a lot to say, you’re going to be at a disadvantage. I was able to learn things which I hope I can carry forward to future roles.”
As Joe watches friends approach the end of their own degrees, he’s got no regrets about the fact he’ll be staying on for a further 12 months.
He adds: “One of the big differences between me and my friends is our bank balances.
“I was on a good wage, I got my student loan on top of that, and it’s a nice feeling knowing that I’m in a really good financial position going into my last year of study.
“I’ve well and truly cleared my overdraft.
“And I’d like to think I’m also much more employable than I was before.
“In the current climate of jobs uncertainty, I think that’s worth its weight in gold.”
Now Joe is hoping to use his work placement experience to inform his dissertation next year, potentially examining the car rental market.
And he can also see it influencing his career direction, too, as he eyes a future role in logistics management.
He says: “No matter what happens, I want to have a real influence on whatever business I find myself working at.
“And if the opportunity ever arose to start a new business from scratch, I’d jump at the chance.”
To learn more about a placement year at Hope, head here.