Hi everyone! My name is Yagazie Opara, but you can call me Zee (or any other nickname you can creatively come up with). I am a Flightpath intern working with #Team Propeller. I just graduated from the University of Central Lancashire, where I studied BA (Hons) Business Studies with placement. Last year I did my placement at a hospitality company in London, called The Hospitality Company. It was originally meant to be 13 months but the pandemic halved it to 6 months; and it has been a year since my placement so why not reminisce on the good old days.

Yagazie Opara

The reality of finding your own placement

In 2018, I started applying for placements for my Sandwich year out. At first, I thought I could easily apply to my top 15 wish list, breeze through the application process, then accept the most attractive offer in terms of networking, salary, and learning opportunities. However, I was painfully wrong. My placement tutor tried her best to help me. She recommended applying for Small to Medium Enterprises. I also had to patiently keep up to date with late applications so that I could apply for blue chip companies when my initial ones were rejected. However, some of my classmates and I felt as though wider support was non-existent.

Now that I’m interning with Propeller, I realise that with Flightpath, I could have learnt how to write a better curriculum vitae and added the Propeller accreditation to my applications. Future employers want employees who continuously learn to foster a learning culture in their organisation.

How Flightpath can help

Placement students can also learn key assessment centre skills such as adaptability, commercial awareness, creativity, negotiation, and persuasion from our ‘The Creative freelancer’ unit and ‘Working with your first customer’ unit. With these skills, I could have proved to employers that I had what it took to hit the ground running. Generally, successful freelancing takes planning and good time management, which are needed to secure a placement without any last-minute panic. Plus, things like assessing opportunities and understanding markets are vital in most businesses.

Before my placement, I thought Flightpath was solely for aspiring freelancers. However, I could have learnt intrapreneurial skills needed for the dynamic workplace of the 21st century. The ‘Personal branding’ module and ‘Your freelance offering’ module teach you about unique selling points which are essential for learning to network yourself within a corporate environment. You can also learn how to prepare for red tape in large companies.

Thinking outside the box

During my placement, I wasn’t contacted or visited by my placement tutor. The first time UCLan reached out to me was during the first coronavirus outbreak to confirm my safety. I was a bit discouraged that I didn’t have any tutors I could approach during my first few months. I felt clueless. To prevent this from being your fate, it’s best to get an idea of what it’ll be like before you start. You can learn skills through Flightpath units that can be transferred to everyday tasks at work and feel prepared to go it alone.

Lastly, a 9 to 5 job does not have to be your future placement experience or career type. Freelancing is ideal for those who are unafraid of risks and would appreciate some flexibility. Our new Business Essentials module will show you how to set up a sole trading business from the comfort of your home. I might be biased (I made it), but I think it’s a great resource. What are you waiting for? Join us at Flightpath!

You ready?

If you’re already a Propeller member, you can email us to receive an access code.
Not a member? Fill out our registration form and we’ll help you get started.