Joshua Froome (research analysis, department of work and pensions)
I'm working as an operational research analyst within the provider performance and validation team at the Department of Work and Pensions. My job includes; drawing samples, using SAS to manipulate data sets and create samples, and performing data analysis using excel and statistical software. In between my daily duties, I perform other ad hoc tasks, such as delivering particular pieces of information that are requested by people from other teams.
I am given plenty of opportunities to develop my professional and personal skills here. There is a wide variety of IT courses on offer, and I am also able to attend paid for courses to develop various skills such as presentation and time management. The Department organises developmental sessions like mock interviews, and regular speakers come to give talks about their areas of work. There is such a broad range on offer and there's always something interesting going on every week.
Taking the decision of doing a year placement has helped me decide on a career path. While studying at uni for the past two years, I had very little idea of where I would like to work once I graduate. Now, I am confident of a profession that I would like to do, and an area I would like to work in. The experience I have gained from working here will greatly enhance my chances of being able to work in this role once I finish university. Even if I don't manage to get the role I am after, my newly learned skills and techniques will stand me in good stead to obtain a graduate job elsewhere.
One of the things that caught me by surprise while on placement was that I actually used information that I had learnt from lectures. As unlikely as it sounds, I have used pieces from Numerical Analysis on multiple occasions. It is a very odd feeling seeing something come up on your computer that you recognise from lecture notes!