In so many other situations I never received feedback from applications and interviews that were unsuccessful, so I never knew where I went wrong in comparison to other candidates. However, through accessing a University Mentor, I was able to speak about the application process and the interview, which is where I was given this priceless advice.
In answer to the question, I was given positive feedback about my organisation and the way I answered the questions so I felt pretty positive. This was in a world of its own compared to how I’d felt after almost every other interview, successful or not. How are you supposed to know how well you have done if you don’t simply ask?
A couple of weeks later I found that I had been successful in my pursuit and was given the position. I felt ecstatic until I realised what this meant – I’d have to work, which is something that I hadn’t been able to do for at least two years previous. The nature of the supported student placement is that a person who finds it difficult to find work and do it without coming across barriers can achieve just that. I would go on to find out that I needn’t have worried – at all!
My placement was in the University Students' Union, where I worked alongside Gergana in the events and planning side of things. The nature of their offices however, meant that I could help everyone out at some point to gain a greater understanding of what everyone does there and how it all helps the student. Every person that I came across during my time at the Students' Union were some of the friendliest I have met. Anything I needed – including endless cups of tea – was always provided in a helpful way so that I could become much more confident in a working environment.
From creating documents, writing letters, finding event quotes and decorating Isaacs for this years’ (VERY) successful Summer Ball meant that I had had experience in all aspects of event planning. This includes the intricate workings of arranging volunteering events, minibus hire and Freshers'.
I was also given the pleasure of having access to the gold dust that is Annabelle – my placement mentor. Annabelle was always at the end of an email to help me with anything I needed, and always kept me up to date with any prospects in the area linked to my interests and capabilities. Annabelle actually gave me the information that landed me my brilliant summer job. The first I had been confident enough to apply for, go to interview, be given the position and to work through until the end of the contract in over two years!
The supported student placement scheme is the best thing I have done in my student career (other than go to the University of Suffolk of course!) I owe my new found confidence not to all the other aspects of my life that tried its hardest to get in my way, or my own barriers that I continued to build, but to having access to the scheme and to all the people involved.
My advice to you, is to go for it – apply for the scheme and until you do, you won’t know what you are missing out on. Go and find what you can do, because you can!
The supported student placement scheme allowed me to access parts of my abilities that I never knew existed. To find confidence in working alone and alongside others in areas that I never thought I could be capable of. I became brave in expressing my own thoughts and options over matters I did not know I was passionate about. But to top it all off, I actually believe that I can do it. I can achieve in life, I can complete my degree, I can go on to do a masters, and I can work in the sector that I now know I love. I now know that I can achieve in my future.
I applied for the supported placement scheme in 2018, and had some luck as my application was successful and I was invited for interview. I was super nervous before the interview and just made sure to write down lots if information about me and how I could benefit from having a place on the scheme. The day of the interview came and I arrived about ten minutes early and waited outside… I was called in and immediately forgot everything I knew about myself!
The interview panel were seated across from me and I hesitantly accepted the cup of water. Most of what happened was a bit of a blur, but I knew I had done relatively okay because I remembered the golden question. Right at the end of the interview where you can ask questions, my university mentor had prepared me for this moment. So I asked ‘How did I do?’