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My Year at Prime – and the lessons I’ve learnt on my placement year!

5th July 2019

My boss and Prime’s co-founder/MD Neil Clough once said to me, “a placement year isn’t about saving money” (which is good as I haven’t saved any) “it’s about learning”.

At the time of writing this post this is my 11th and final month as Digital Marketing Executive at This is Prime. During my time here I’ve helped build the company marketing from the ground up; helped run and produce coverage of various open days/events; built website pages; created various photo and video content, and even helped find and interview my own replacement. It has been a busy year and that’s before you factor in the various team nights out and socials I’ve been on. So, that’s pretty much a summary of what I’ve done… but what have I learnt?

Lesson 01: Don’t be afraid to take risks

We’ll start where it all began, which was with both me and Prime’s co-founders Neil & Nicole taking a chance. As the history books (and my CV) will forever highlight, I was Prime’s first ever student placement. This came from me noticing on CV Library that they were looking for a Digital Marketer and I emailed asking if they’d prefer to take a placement student for the role instead. I took a chance on Prime and they repaid the favour.

Subsequently, I feel this initial ‘if you don’t try, you’ll never succeed’ attitude can link to most of my time on placement, as a placement at Prime is very much about

learning and developing. You’re encouraged to try new things and take on tasks that you never have before, as well as take risks with your ideas. From content creating to offsite filming, and even giving talks about my time on placement, every chance I’ve taken during my role with Prime I’ve either learnt from or succeeded in, giving me a large range of skills to take back with me to University.

Lesson 02: Sam Corlett is the bluntest man on the planet, but he can be broken

4-5 months of sitting next to me and the poor guy is probably still getting therapy for it.

 

Lesson 03: Everyone makes mistakes – spell check EVERYTHING

One big lesson I learnt on placement is everybody makes mistakes, from the MD to the bloke who cleans the toilet and most importantly, it’s okay! Also, if something doesn’t work the first time, don’t be afraid to try again. It once took me over 30 takes to do a company video featuring Hannah Woodhead but we got there in the end (eventually).

As everyone in the company can probably agree, my checking of spelling and grammar was one of my weakest qualities when I began at Prime (the highlight being when I forgot to put ‘R’ in ‘Interview’ on a new company banner, much to the amusement of everyone in the company! Shout out to Joe Leggat for calming me down). Still, you learn from mistakes, not from success, and through marketing Prime my spelling and grammar have indeed improved which is something that will help me as I enter my final year of Univesity. *I mean University.

Lesson 04: Neil Clough is as mad as a box of frogs

I love the guy but honestly, he’s crackers.

Lesson 05: Never be afraid to ask for help                                                                

This one always gets mentioned but it still needs saying. Whenever you start a new role never be afraid to ask for help. You’d rather be the guy who is constantly asking for information on how to do their job properly than the one who is sat there with no clue. Being the only marketer in the company it was often difficult to ask the team for help about things which has nothing to do with their day to day, but whenever I did they were helpful and gave me all the info they could and helped me work through any difficulty I had with certain tasks. Senior members of staff like KG and Christina were always around to bounce ideas off as well as people who started even later than me like Lucy and Phil.

That’s the pro of being a student placement, you’re there to learn and if you’re not asking questions you’re not learning. I mean, 1 year ago I couldn’t tell you anything about sales, recruitment or marketing! Now I have in depth knowledge on all three and best of all my ping pong skills have improved dramatically.

Lesson 06: Chris Thompson is shocking at Ping Pong

He likes to bang on about some ‘leaderboard’ or something that never existed, honestly don’t trust the guy he’s the worst player in the office.

Lesson 07: You’re still a student so utilise the University

While on placement it can feel like you’ve already graduated. Gone are the 9am lectures (which nobody turned up to anyway), the huge chunk of student loan and the long library sessions typing essays. Your whole environment changes, but that doesn’t mean you’re not still a student.

University tools are available to help you while on placement. During my first week at Prime I downloaded a few eBooks and documents from my University hub which helped shape my marketing strategies and ideas. Also, despite never needing it myself, there is also tons of support from the University careers hub if you’re struggling on placement and need someone to speak to. I did sometimes consider telling them Mike Hatton was bullying me for the banter.

Lesson 08: Always back Jon Rossiter in a game of rock, paper, scissors

Once won 3 games in a row for a spin of the Prime wheel of fortune and then won £50. Do not mess with the GOAT.

Lesson 09: The most important part of enjoying your placement is the people you are working with

One thing I have learnt on placement is that it’s the people who make it. If you love your job but hate the people you work with, you will end up hating your job. Sales and recruitment gets a bad stigma with the perception that people in the industry are very one track minded. When I first came to Prime I stuck out like one of Nick Gandhi’s funky shirts, but the guys treated me as they would any other member of the team, and we’re all better for it. From cooking advice off Cecile to even getting life hacks off my replacement Mike, there’s not one member of the team I can say I’ve not got along with and I’ve learnt something from all of them.

Although I’m leaving Prime (for now) my mark will be left here for a very long time, mainly because they still have that banner with the missing ‘r’ in ‘interview’. The social is Mike Linford’s problem now. If you need me I’ll be in the hills of Sheffield. Safe to say, it has been a mental year.

 

Jon Rossiter.

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