Lauren Allton is starting her final year at university with a job offer on the table after a successful placement year with the Government Economic Service (GES).
The 21-year-old Accounting and Economics student at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) was overjoyed when she secured a place on the competitive scheme, based in London.
She said: “It’s really hard to get into the GES, your application has to be such a high standard, so I couldn’t believe it when I was offered a place there.
“The best part of my placement year was the fact that so much of what I was doing directly linked to my course, which really surprised me. I’ve been looking at my final year modules and there’s a significant cross-over between what I did in the workplace and what I’ll be learning at university.”
Since the national lockdown began in March, Lauren has been completing her placement work from home. She said: “My department have been really supportive and provided me with all of the equipment I needed. It was quite a strange adjustment at first, but I definitely haven’t missed the commute to London!”
Due to the nature of her role and the department she was placed in, the latter half of Lauren’s placement year was focused on responding to the coronavirus crisis.
“During the pandemic I’ve actually been working on certain areas that have been really impactful on government decision making. The coronavirus crisis affected so many aspects of what I worked on and caused a significant amount of disruption.
“One of the most interesting things I got to do was write some of the coronavirus-related daily bulletins,” she said.
Placement students at the GES are given an opportunity to go straight to the assessment centre and interview stages of the Government Economic Main and Fast Stream graduate entry programme, a scheme that seeks to develop future professional leaders in the sector. After a successful interview, Lauren landed a place on the coveted graduate scheme.
Describing her relief at securing a graduate role in such uncertain times, she said: “It feels like a massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I can really focus on my final-year studies without the added pressure of job hunting in a pandemic.”
Now in her final year at DMU, Leicestershire-based Lauren reflected on her experience so far and what attracted her to the university.
She said: “I wanted to live at home and go to a local university. When I looked around other universities I didn’t see anything that really stood out to me, but when I visited DMU for an Open Day I was just blown away. The campus had been totally transformed and all the buildings were so modern with really up-to-date technology.
“I remember thinking that I would be so happy here – everyone was really welcoming and nice, so it just felt like the right place for me.”
Lauren was also drawn to the university because of the DMU Global opportunities on offer, something she made sure to take advantage of.
“In my first year we went on a trip to Berlin where we looked at the economic differences of the two sides of the Berlin wall and the consequences of its fall.
“I also had the chance to visit Paris in my second year where we had a tour of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) headquarters. It was a pretty amazing opportunity, and people I worked with on my placement couldn’t believe that university students had had the chance to look behind the scenes there,” she said.
Posted on Tuesday 20th October 2020