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In conversation with Hannah Cummins, a placement student at the LEP

Hannah Cummins recently joined us for a two week placement to bolster her experience in marketing and education. Hannah kindly provided this blog about her experience:

Hello, I’m Hannah! I am studying marketing at Durham University and have recently completed my second year. I’m a marketing student, but I’m also extremely interested in education, particularly careers guidance. In 2015, I had the opportunity to get involved with the Gatsby Foundation’s Good Career Guidance Benchmark pilot, facilitated by the North East LEP. I worked closely with my previous school, Berwick Academy and have recently collaborated with other schools on the pilot.


To complement my studies in marketing I was eager to get some practical experience. My continuous involvement with the Benchmarks pilot shaped my interests and encouraged me to approach the LEP for further experience. Having worked on the delivery side of the pilot and being directly involved with schools I was keen to learn more from a different perspective.


A two-week placement was developed for me by the LEP team, tailored to complement my interests in both marketing and education. During my first week I learnt about the LEP and was inspired by their ambition to create ‘More and better jobs’ in the region. On my first day, I met members of the team to find out more about what they do and the context they work in. After that, communications became the forefront of the week. I was tasked with producing a strategic marketing plan for the launch of a new school-led careers guidance portal.


Over the week, I developed an understanding of the fast-paced environment the LEP operates in as a result of being simultaneously business, government and stakeholder facing. In addition to working on marketing communications I was also able to gain an insight into the process followed for a live press release following the timely publication of ONS labour market statistics.


My second week was aligned more with my previous Gatsby involvement. The North East LEP welcomed five students from Churchill Community College – one of the 16 pilot schools, for a two-day placement. I was given the opportunity to work alongside the students on their task of defining ‘Good Career Guidance’. Working with the students enabled me to share and reflect on my placement and also provided insight as to what they, as young people thought constituted ‘Good Careers Guidance’.


Whilst my main objective of the placement was to gain practical marketing experience, I also hoped I would be able to identify an area of research for my dissertation project for my final year at Durham. After shadowing numerous people at the LEP and attending a variety of business meetings I am pleased to say I definitely have a few lines of enquiry.


Prior to my placement I was a stereotypical undergraduate student who although studying towards a final degree, didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my career. This may be quite ironic for someone who is so passionate about delivering Good Careers Guidance! However, now my two weeks with the LEP has come to an end, I am more confident not only in the workplace and my subject of marketing but have also been inspired as to a possible career path.


My hope for the near future is to get my degree from Durham University, and to continue to be involved in the work surrounding the improvement of careers guidance with the LEP and the Gatsby Foundation.

Thanks to Hannah for this excellent insight into life at the LEP. For more information on the Good Career Guidance Benchmarks pilot visit our North East Ambition web page.