Andy is a Placement Development Advisor (PDA) and works closely with students on placement – some of you will know him well! In this Q&A Andy shares why he loves his job – which, in short, is to help you make the most of your placement experience and help you get through times when you might struggle or feel unhappy.
“A large part of being a Placement Development Advisor is visiting as many students as possible at their workplace. We aim to visit everyone at least once during their placement year. I love seeing students succeed – it’s the best part of my job. Every year we hear success stories of students performing exceptionally well and being offered graduate roles.
“But we know it's not always easy and it can take a while to settle in to your role, your workplace and get to know your colleagues. Should you be unhappy or struggling, people like me - your PDA - should be your first point of contact as we can, and will, offer advice. We typically recommended approaching the HR department at your placement if you feel you need to make a change. There are also other support mechanisms at BU you can still access as a placement student such as the Students' Union and SUBU Advice, faculty-based student engagement teams and Academic Advisers.
“One thing that can really help if you’re finding it hard to get settled in at your placement, is developing a plan for the first few months. For example, within the first month set a goal to be able to do X or Y - then after that month review your progress or even have an appraisal with your line manager. Face-to-face meetings with work colleagues, or Skype calls to teams off-site, are also a great way to introduce yourself to colleagues and make you feel like part of the team.
“My top tip: be open-minded, adaptable and most importantly go outside of your comfort zone while on placement!”