The importance of finding a placement

This article has been guest written for Digital Horizons by Sophie White, Media Production student at Bournemouth University and Silicon South intern.


I’m a Media Production student from Bournemouth University. This year, as part of our course, we were required to complete a placement. It could either be a minimum of 4 weeks or a maximum of 40. I personally wasn’t looking forward to this, in this blog post I’m going to talk about my placement experience.

On our first day of second year the importance of finding a placement was already being drilled into us. We sat through talks based on the successes of last years’ students and how they’d had ‘the time of their lives’ completing internships at huge companies such as Mini and Phillips. Whilst this was impressive, it was also irrelevant as all of these students were on a course that didn’t relate to us in any way. We were urged to “start looking now!” as the industry is a very competitive place. Obviously, this terrified me! I didn’t think I was anywhere near ready to be looking into companies yet, and looking back I was right about this.

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Early on I made the decision to complete a 4-week placement, this eased the pressure slightly as throughout the first half of the year the focus was definitely on the students who were committing themselves to the 40 weeks. As a result of this, I pushed the thought of CV’s, interviews and job applications to the back of my mind.

Christmas rolled around and I still hadn’t applied for anything, but neither had any of my friends. Just before we all went our separate ways for the holidays we had a lecture that really helped me. During this lecture we had the opportunity to listen to the students in the year above us talk about their summer placements and also ask any questions. It was comforting to hear them say that you don’t have to spend time with a huge company in order to have a successful and worthwhile placement experience. Having this knowledge, I left Bournemouth with the intention of getting my CV up to scratch so I could start applying… this didn’t happen.

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By the time it got to February/March the ‘So happy to announce that I’ve got a placement with…’ Facebook statuses started to become something I saw more regularly. In amongst completing all my assignments, I made a promise to myself that by the end of the Easter holidays I would’ve sent my CV out to at least 10 different companies. Something that I did to prepare for this was to take part in a CV/covering letter workshop. I would recommend this to anyone applying for any job. For me it was a confidence booster knowing that I had a CV that employers should like. Although I didn’t meet my quota of 10 applications over Easter, I did apply for something which got the ball rolling.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a response from any of the companies I’d applied for. They were all London based and very small, but I thought London is where you had to go to work in this type of industry. It wasn’t until April when I had the opportunity to work with Digital Horizons as part of an assignment to realise how huge the Bournemouth media sector is. Through this, myself and my production group were able to build contacts with a variety of different local agencies and companies, from web development to video production.

It’s now the end of July and I’m about to finish my last day interning at Silicon South, which leads on to a 5-week placement at Createful (a Bournemouth based web development company) starting on Monday morning. Without the help of Digital Horizons, I don’t know if I’d have fulfilled the placement requirement at all.

So, my placement advice is:

  • Don’t let University/your peers worry you about the fact that you’ve not got anything yet
  • London isn’t everything, look local because you’d be surprised at what’s out there
  • Get your CV checked over by someone that is an expert on them
  • Speak to the people in the year above, they’ve already been there and can give you realistic advice
  • If you’re local to Bournemouth, try and attend the media networking event ‘Meetdraw’, its free!