Image of SavannahWhat did you do before joining the training scheme?

Prior to joining the scheme I completed my undergraduate degree in Sociology. As a student I worked as a student ambassador, assisting at Open Days, with widening participation activities and as a paid student blogger.  Before my degree, I spent a working gap year supporting a young man with autism, volunteering as a GamesMaker at the Paralympics and supporting learning disabled adults on CQC inspections.  

What attracted you to the scheme?

I wanted to gain a deeper insight into the inner-workings of a Russell Group university and have the opportunity to undertake a series of placements in a variety of departments. The scheme was unparalleled in its structured exposure to higher education management in a world-class, forward-thinking institution. It appealed to me greatly, and had everything I was looking for in a graduate scheme.

What has been the highlight of your time on the scheme?

A key highlight from my first year was assisting with the planning and logistics for the Business Librarians’ Association annual conference, which Imperial hosted this year. After weeks of liaising with participants, choosing potential freebies and stationery, sourcing vegan wine and creating maps and activities for non-Londoners, it was thoroughly enjoyable to see all our work as a finished conference. I got to spend three days attending thought-provoking sessions and learning about libraries at other institutions. I particularly liked hearing about the innovative ways librarians around the UK and Ireland are engaging with students, from using Snapchat, Spotify and Instagram to creating a ‘Library Zoo’ of knitted animals.

What has been the biggest challenge?

My first placement required using Excel for the majority of tasks. Having not used Excel since I was at school, I was very out of practice, and it took some time for me to develop my confidence with manipulating and analysing data. However, my colleagues were very understanding and ensured that I had both formal training and informal support early on in my placement. For the bulk of my work, I was able to complete practice runs on the previous year’s data using the old files as a resource, which helped to improve my skills and ensure that I completed my work successfully.