What a Placement Year Can Do For You: from an introvert to a ‘part-time extrovert’

In this blog article, Beca, a University of Bradford Student, tells us all about the benefits of doing a placement year.


IMG_0091If you think that a work placement year is worth doing only for gaining or improving skills and increasing your marketability in the graduate recruitment market, then think again. A work placement year will change you, your thinking and your approach towards how you do things.

When I first started my placement with Cummins Power Generation I was a complete introvert, dealing only with my laptop, hardly ever with people. Things like starting a conversation, asking questions or simply talking about the weather (which most people find as easy as breathing) proved to be the most difficult tasks for me. I was placed in a business environment where communication was crucial; however, I was unable to connect with the people around me.

Now, the description of the situation above is just one of dozens of others just like it. And every single time I found myself in a situation like this I kept thinking my behaviour had to change (even though deep down I still believed introverts were pretty excellent). But I finally understand now, thanks to my manager who taught, supported and coached me in every aspect of my job, including my behaviour on a personal and professional level, that adapting to the situation is all I need to do (be a ‘part-time extrovert’) – change is not needed.

While a work placement year is a really useful thing to have in your CV, it will have an even greater impact on how you think and behave.  Remember it’s about your personal development as much as it is about your professional development.