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Reuben Thorpe is currently studying the BA History and Economics programme. Here he discusses his experience doing a year-long placement at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 

 Where did you do your placement year and what were you responsible for?

"I was employed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and was working for the Policy Simulation Model (PSM). The PSM is a model which is used to calculate costs and caseloads of new policies that could be introduced. For example, if the National Minimum Wage was changed, the PSM will be used to show how expensive this will be for DWP, by calculating how those on benefits will have their incomes changed, or how many people are now on benefits that weren't previously."

How did you find out about the placement opportunity?

"I found out about the placement after some speakers from the Government Placement Scheme came in and gave a talk at the University."

Did you develop any new skills during your placement?

"My placement year was a massive development year for me. This role had a lot of variety, from coding, to quality assurance, to teamwork and discussion with other teams in the department. "

What do you have to say about your overall experience?

"Being able to see where I was at the start of the year, compared to the end, was amazing. Both my line manager and team manager were able to focus a large amount of time on my development and I have been able to improve areas like: technical skills, communication skills, written skills, presentation skills, and general life skills picked up while working in an office environment."

Now that you are back for your final year, how is the experience helping with your studies?

"I've been able to transfer a lot of skills over to studying. For example, I've brought over skills such as time management, planning in detail, quality assurance and presentation skills."

Have you been offered a graduate role by your placement provider?

"I have been offered a role in DWP for after I graduate. I had to complete an assessment for this, which included economics questions and an interview. I was allocated a supervisor for this who gave me a mock interview, as well as supported me in the written aspect of the assessment. This has been a huge weight off of my shoulders for my final year, as it has given me a backup. Whatever I decide to do, I've got a job waiting for me, if I want it. "