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1 .Hi, Laura could you spare a few minutes to talk about the work placement you did last summer?
2 .I'm thinking of doing one myself ...
1 .Hi, Tim.
1 .Didn't you do yours at an environmental services company?
1 .That's right ...
2 .It's only a very small company and they needed someone to produce a company brochure, and I wanted to get some business experience because I'm interested in a career in occupational psychology in a business environment.
3 .It was good because I had overall responsibility for the project.
1 .What kind of skills do you think you developed on the placement?
2 .I mean, apart from the ones you already had ...
3 .Did you have to do all the artwork for the brochure, the layout and everything?
1 .We hired the services of a professional photographer for that.
2 .I did have to use my IT skills to a certain extent because I cut and pasted text from marketing leaflets, but that didn't involve anything I hadn't done before.
1 .Do you think you got any better at managing your time and prioritising things?
2 .You always used to say you had trouble with that ...
1 .Oh, definitely.
2 .There was so much pressure to meet the project deadline.
3 .And I also got better at explaining things and asserting my opinions, because I had to have weekly consultations with the marketing manager and give him a progress report.
1 .It sounds as if you got a lot out of it then.
2 .It was really worthwhile ...
3 .But you know, the company benefited too ...
1 .Yes, they must have done.
2 .After all, if they'd used a professional advertising agency to produce their brochure instead of doing it in house, presumably they'd have paid a lot more?
1 .Oh, yes.
2 .I worked it out it would have been 250 per cent more.
3 .And I thought the end result was good, even though we did everything on site.
4 .The company has quite a powerful computer and I managed to borrow some scanning software from the university.
5 .The new brochure looks really professional; it enhances the image of the company straight away.
1 .So in the long run it should help them to attract clients, and improve their sales figures?
1 .That's the idea.Yeah.
1 .Well, all in all it sounds very positive I think I will go ahead and apply for a placement myself.
2 .How do I go about it?
1 .It's easy enough to do, because there's a government agency called STEP S T E P that organises placements for students.
2 .You should start by getting their booklet with all the details I expect you can download one from their website.
1 .Actually, they've got copies in the psychology department I've seen them there.
2 .I'll just go to the office and pick one up.
2 .And then if I were you, after I'd looked at it I'd go over all the options with someone ...
1 .I suppose I should ask my tutor's advice.
2 .He knows more about me than anyone.
1 .One of the career officers would be better, they've got more knowledge about the jobs market than your personal tutor would have.
1 .OK ...
1 .And then when you know what you want you can register with STEP you'll find their address in the booklet.
2 .And once you've registered they assign you to a mentor who looks after your application.
1 .And then I suppose you just sit back and wait till you hear something?
1 .They told me at the careers office that it's best to be proactive, and get updates yourself by checking the website for new placement alerts.
2 .Your mentor is supposed to keep you informed, but you can't rely on that.
1 .I don't suppose it's a good idea to get in touch with companies directly, is it?
1 .Not really ...
2 .But it is the company who notifies you if they want you to go for an interview.
3 .You get a letter of invitation or an email from personnel departments.
1 .And do I reply directly to them?
1 .Yes, you do.
2 .STEP only gets involved again once you've been made a job offer.
1 .Right ...
2 .So, once you've had an interview you should let your mentor know what the outcome is?
3 .I mean whether you're offered a job, and whether you've decided to accept it?
1 .That's right.
2 .They'll inform the careers office once a placement has been agreed, so you don't have to do that.
1 .Is that all then?
1 .More or less.
2 .Only once you've accepted an offer you'll probably have to supply a reference, because the placement will be conditional on that.
3 .And that's something you should ask your own tutor to provide.
4 .He knows about your academic ability and also about your qualities, like reliability.
1 .Well, thanks very much for the information I'm starting to look forward ...