Finding a placement was something that scared me. At 19, I’m not sure on the career I want for the rest of my life. I have an idea of the direction I want to go in, but exactly what is something I still don’t know. University in a way has helped postpone that decision, but as soon as I started second year, it was something I needed to think a lot more about.
Originally, I was on the three-year sociology course, and transferred to the four-year course with a year long placement in the third year. Before coming to uni, a placement wasn’t something I’d thought much about. In fact, I didn’t even consider it an option when applying for university in sixth form. We didn’t have that much information about what a placement would be, and my older sisters had graduated without doing a placement year, so I didn’t see it as necessary. But at Bath, and on my course especially, there is much more emphasis on it and how it can help in the future. Of course, it’s not essential, but I can definitely see the benefits and opportunities it will bring after university.
After searching through different placement options online and with the help of the placements team in my faculty, I narrowed down what I wanted to do. I knew that going to London wasn’t something that I wanted to do, but working with children is something that I definitely want to pursue. Finding a placement was harder than I expected, with so much competition with other placement students across different universities.
I think what gave me the best opportunity to succeed was the volunteering on my CV. Although I had experience working with children through teaching at my dance school both before and during university, the extra volunteering I have gained through the Gold Scholarship Programme has definitely helped me in applications. Volunteering and experiences of work are so important in showing employers not only your skills, but your abilities and willingness to engage with the local community. I also found that my experiences of volunteering and networking with the scholarship were incredibly helpful in the interview process. Presenting myself professionally and talking confidently to people with higher status has always been something that I have struggled with. But I really do believe that the scholarship, especially networking events, have helped my confidence and made me believe in myself more. It was still nerve-racking applying for placements, but I feel more positive in my abilities now because of the opportunities of the scholarship.
I applied for many charities and children’s organisations before I managed to secure a placement, which I am now really looking forward to - in a school back home. For the year, I will be a teaching/classroom assistant with early years learning. I already know that this will open up more opportunities and hopefully I’ll find a career I want to pursue in the future.
As I will be working in a school for the year, my placement will be unpaid. This is something which could put a lot of people off. However, this didn’t change my mindset. I know that working with children/within education is something that I want to do in the future, so I want to make the most of these opportunities. Thankfully, I will be living at home for the year so my expenses won’t be as high, and, because my placement is unpaid, I will be entitled to my £5000 Gold Scholarship funding and also an additional £2000 Unpaid Placement Bursary.