My journey as an Administrative Assistant on placement at Loughborough University
My name is Nicole. I’m an International Business student and I am currently on placement at Loughborough University as the Administrative Assistant for the Planning team within the Vice Chancellor’s Office.
As an international student, I was dreading the thought of moving my personal belongings to a different city. Ideally, I wanted a placement in Loughborough to remain close to my friends and avoid the expensive relocation costs.
I stumbled across the Administrative Assistant job advert on the University’s social media channels and was thrilled that I may have a chance to stay in Loughborough. I was excited by the prospect of learning more about governance and capital projects in higher education and gaining a different perspective on the University as a staff member rather than as a student.
I customised my CV, wrote my cover letter and sent it in a couple days before the deadline. I heard back after a week; I had an interview! I was so excited; I messaged my parents and began to prepare. The recruitment process was quite straightforward: an application form, a task, and an interview. It was a breath of fresh air compared to the numerous interviews and assessment centres students do for other placements.
The interview was based in Hazlerigg, one of the buildings next to the fountain on campus. As a student, I had passed it and always wondered what was inside. I never thought I might be working in it! After a very nerve racking two hours, I left the interview room feeling welcomed, pleased with myself, and excited – I had a good feeling about it as the interview felt like a natural conversation rather than a series of intimidating questions. Two days later, I was woken up by my phone, “Hi Nicole, I would like to congratulate you on your interview. We are offering you the role!”
I was very nervous on the first day. I was introduced to the team, allocated a desk and a laptop, and talked through my everyday responsibilities. Starting my placement in August was very relaxing as I had time to settle into the job and integrate myself into the team while campus was fairly quiet.
I am now halfway through my placement and the pace has picked up. I have my regular daily activities such as raising purchase orders, updating the holiday calendar, recording absences, inbox tracking, helping with the University HR process, and rescheduling meetings (some meetings are scheduled a year in advance!). However, I did not realise I would be fortunate enough to be involved in projects happening at the University. I have worked with Finance, Organisational Development, and the Human Resources team to name a few.
In addition, the University offers an intern development programme with monthly meetings with the other interns working across the University to network and develop transferable skills. In doing so, I have met a diverse range of people from different Departments, Schools, Services, where I have had the chance to engage and discover more about what happens in the institution I study at.
Reflecting on the past six months, I would not have done anything differently. This placement has taught me much about myself and the 9-5 life. It has taught me an Administrative Assistant is a unique job alternating with several responsibilities and opportunities. I was able to discover and explore various departments, and organise and facilitate events, liaise with senior members, and learn the importance and significance of governance in higher education. As a student at Loughborough University, I consider myself incredibly lucky to be learning all these transferable skills at a highly reputable and prestigious institution while being surrounded by a safe, encouraging, and positive environment.
I have learned to trust my instincts and ask for help when I feel unsure about a task. I have met people who have taught me the importance of collaborative work and relying on one another for help. I am sad to be leaving the team at the end of my placement, but I am excited for the next Administrative Assistant to have the opportunity of acquiring new abilities while being part of a wonderful team and institution.
For more information on how to apply as an Administrative Assistant at Loughborough University, please visit Target Connect. For any questions, please contact me at N.Spanos@lboro.ac.uk. The closing date is Tuesday 14th February 2023.
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