EASL has recently started to provide a placement for accounting and/or finance students to experience a year in industry at our offices. This placement sees students working within a professional engineering consultancy alongside a team of highly trained specialists, earning a wage whilst working full time supporting the operation of the UK’s fleet of nuclear power plants.
To give you an insight into a year in the life of a placement student, we asked our participant Helen Yang about her experiences and how working as part of the EASL team helped to shape and develop her graduate expectations.
How did you find out about the EASL placement and what made you want to join us?
I found out about the EASL placement through a service provided by the Manchester Metropolitan University Careers and Employability department. EASL stood out to me as they were promoting this placement exclusively to MMU students at the time. When reviewing the job responsibilities listed for my role, it associated well with my studies and was what I had anticipated experiencing during my placement year.
Could you describe some of the things you undertook during your placement?
Over the period of my placement I have had the chance to assist with producing forecast accounts and was able to get an insight on how all factors are linked and derived. It was interesting to see how work completed during the financial year is assembled together to deliver a condensed document from all sources; which is then used to aid certain aspects within EASL such as business planning.
I was given the opportunity to assist in the monthly invoicing process. I came to understand the importance of accuracy when conducting this, as mistakes will cause inconvenience not only for myself but for others too.
What was your favourite part of the placement?
It was intriguing to be able to see how my course fits into a work environment at first hand. Being able to work with professionals was interesting as I was able to learn and get valuable experience which is difficult to attain when studying at university.
EASL offers flexitime to employees which I am able to utilise and choose a time that better suited my preferences. Knowing that I would have no exams to revise for and assignments to complete during my free time allowed me to have some time to myself without having the feeling that I was procrastinating.
What was the best thing you did during your placement?
Choosing to undertake a placement in itself was the best thing I did. At first, I was undecided about whether I wanted to continue into my final year at university or to take the opportunity and experience a year of working, understanding how my post-university lifestyle could potentially be like. It is certainly worth it and I know that I would have regretted it if I had chosen not to.
I enjoy receiving different challenges each day allowing me to not only enhance my existing skills but also develop new skills. This gave me a sense of accomplishment as I knew I was making improvements and that applying for a placement was the right choice. Being able to learn from professionals with years of industry knowledge and experience, on a day to day basis, definitely provides an experience that you can only get outside of university providing a comprehensive view of an office job.
Has working for EASL helped you with your academic studies?
Having the opportunity to use an industry software like Sage has definitely helped with my studies. This provided the chance for me to gain broader knowledge on what has normally been practised on pen and paper at university; and make a comparison as to how it’s achieved with an industry acknowledged software, as well as linking my studies to the day to day running of a business.
The significance of Excel at EASL allowed me to improve my skills as the majority of documents and data revolved around a spreadsheet. I believe this will not only help me with assignments at university but will also be advantageous for my career in the future.
Has your placement at EASL changed anything outside of your degree?
Without doubt, I am enjoying my placement. With this placement being my first experience in a workplace relating to my field of study, has made me more curious about potential career paths available after my degree. I want to gain a wider range of work experience in different industries/job roles in order to fully seek out what I prefer as my career after university.
During my time at EASL, due to changes in work colleagues/mentor, I had to adapt quickly to changes. It was difficult to adjust to different working styles at first, but I liked having the opportunity to have a vision of different perspectives to the same task allowing me to see various possible approaches when tackling them.
Who would you recommend the EASL placement to?
I would recommend it to anyone looking to partake in a placement year. A placement definitely prepares you well for your final year as you have a clearer view of what you are looking to achieve.
EASL provides an incredibly thorough experience as I have been able to participate in numerous tasks in the company that may have been distributed to several employees in other companies. For example, the opportunity to work on both Sage Account and Sage Payroll. In addition, EASL is an extremely friendly and inclusive environment where you can learn and work in a comfortable atmosphere.
If you would like to find out more about our placement, or apply to join, please submit your cv, contact details and covering letter apply now
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