Kristian spent his placement year at Xerox as an IT and Marketing Support Executive, where he has worked on a wide range of activities, interacting with everyone from overseas visitors to the company CEO. As well as learning more about the industry he hopes to enter, he feels the experience has improved his organisational and time management skills, which have in turn benefitted his studies.
"I am in a customer facility where we sell printers and managed print services. The whole building is filled with technology, a lot of which I am responsible for, be it maintenance or implementing new solutions – this includes printers, screens, touch tables and servers. I also support any events we hold, running the tech required, working on A/V, or doing the occasional demo. Furthermore, I am the main programmer of a Nao robot, which we use to entertain customers as well as teach them about robotic process automation.
"I find my placement exciting as I am involved in so many different things, and no day is the same as the next. I am surrounded by the latest technology and we’re always getting new things in, which is a dream for a technology geek like me. I have mainly been learning how to juggle several tasks at once, as I am often pulled away from one thing to do something else, while also maintaining a professional demeanour. I have been able to network with lots of different people, including Xerox and partner salespeople, IT professionals, technology R&D guys, and have even met the CEO – everyone has excellent advice to give which comes in handy both now and for the future.
"I particularly remember the two all-day events for partners from Norway and Finland, which were easily the most fun activities I’ve been involved with so far, as everyone was very friendly and fun to talk to, and we did a lot of things we don’t normally do for events to add to the excitement. Another significant achievement was when the CEO of Xerox came over from the US for a small event and did a short address; as both him and a lot of other important people were there, we had to make sure the event ran as smoothly as possible, and it went off without a hitch, which I was very proud of.
"This placement has been very valuable in helping me learn how the skills I have been taught at university are implemented in the working world. Being on placement has also brought me away from a more ‘studenty’ way of working, instead pushing me to be more organised and professional, and I feel like I am now much more proactive when it comes to working.
"Being on placement has given me experience of a professional environment, as well as working in a team on projects and getting tasks done in a real world environment. I am now more proactive and organised, as well as better at moving between several tasks as and when is necessary, all of which I think will increase my chances of employability. Having a chance to network with many different people in different companies and being given the opportunity to show my skills in front of them could also help my future employability."