Jo Mawdsley

What is the name of the company you work for and what do they do?

I undertook my placement at Boots which is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with customer satisfaction at the heart of the business, helping everyone to ‘feel good’. In December 2014, a monumental merger occurred between Alliance Boots and the American company ‘Walgreens’, producing a new global organisation – Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA). 

What is your role within the company?

I worked as a technical analyst in Healthcare and Wholesale application management, Boots IT. I did, however, get to experience other job roles whilst on placement such as; project manager and service introduction manager.

Can you please give me an insight into a typical day?

On a day to day basis my role includes; conducting morning checks on major systems in the business, liaising with business stakeholders, managing incidents, being on daily conference calls, and meeting with people in other IT functions within Boots to gain a further insight into their roles within IT. There are also many activities to do with the year in industry schemes such as workshops and other organisational opportunities such as CSR events.

What are you enjoying the most and are you involved in any interesting projects? 

The best thing about doing a placement with Boots is the extra support and experiences you get as a Year In Industry student. We have our own framework throughout the year which includes; a 6-week placement in store so we can understand the business, coaching, projects, days away and attending talks by some of our business leaders! A personal highlight was when I co-lead a site management team in order to organise a charity fun day for over 3,000 people. This was an invaluable experience which allowed me speak to and learn from other aspects of the business other than IT.

Another good thing about doing a placement within IT is that I have been supported throughout my time here. Furthermore, my line manager has encouraged me to get involved in other areas of IT which link to the projects that I am working on in my day job giving me high exposure to other parts of IT which I would not have necessarily have got to see! I have also been involved in some exciting projects which gave me the opportunity to travel with work to Naples to take part in a knowledge transfer session and Norway to visit one of our Alliance warehouses which I now help to support back in the UK! 

Why did you want to undertake a year in industry?

I wanted to undertake a year in industry to gain an insight into what it would be like to work in the IT profession, at University there have been several times when I wondered whether or not I wanted to stay within this specific area. Going out on placement has made me realise the extent of technology jobs out there! I have also developed valuable skills whilst being on placement which I would not have got from the educational environment. I have been able to apply my learning into a business environment.

What are you hoping to get out of this experience? 

This mainly relates to the question above, gaining a better insight into the technology industry and understanding where I want to go in the future, plus developing my skills that I have learnt at University. 

Do you have any tips and advice to current students thinking of undertaking a year in industry?

I would strongly suggest going out on a placement year as this will enable you to see where your degree can take you and what opportunities are out there. Give it a go!