Being a graduate in today's world can be extremely difficult. With so much competition for so few jobs, graduates of all ages are finding it more challenging than ever to secure employment once they leave University. Lookers Audi recognise the difficulty faced by today's graduates and that is why they have begun a trial of a work placement programme, to give young students experience of working before they graduate. This experience could prove to be invaluable when it comes to looking for a job as many employers now want people to have work experience as well as an education.
The new business work placement programme is the brainchild of the People Development department at Lookers Audi, and the first candidate to trial the position is Samantha Ross.
Samantha had been working in the call centre at Glasgow Audi whilst studying for a BA Honours in Business at Caledonian University. As part of her degree Samantha is required to spend a year working within a business environment to gain some hands-on experience. Keen to continue working at Lookers Audi, Samantha sent her request to the People Development department to enquire if she could spend this in the business. Following discussions with Karen-Ann Milne, Lookers Audi People Development Manager, this gave Karen-Ann the idea of trialling a student business placement programme. Karen-Ann liaised with managers across the Lookers Audi division to create a year long programme which will ensure Samantha experiences many departments, working in different roles. Samantha's practical hands-on experience around these business areas, using real life examples of what has worked, and what needs more focus, will evolve into a formal graduate placement programme.
To find out more about this exciting new programme we spoke to Samantha to see how she likes her placement so far, what she hopes to gain from the programme, and where she sees her future within Lookers:
Samantha Ross is a 21 year old undergraduate who is currently in her third year at Glasgow's Caledonian University studying for a BA in Business. Before she joined Glasgow Audi she worked in the Marriot Hotel, which is where she realised she enjoyed a customer facing role. This led to her taking on a role on the switchboard at Glasgow Audi where she processed around 200 calls a day. She then moved onto working in the call centre where she worked at the weekends.
After she finished school Samantha actually began a Psychology degree as she had done extremely well in the subject at school. She soon realised though that this wasn't the career she really wanted, and gave this up to do a Business degree instead. She is now in her third successful year, and says her favourite subjects are maths and in particular quantative business modelling. She is also an expert Excel user having scored a very impressive 97% in her last exam, although she says she was disappointed not to get 100%.
In her spare time, when she has any, Samantha likes to visit the gym and go shopping. Samantha is also a big fan of cars which is always a bonus in this industry! She currently drives a white Audi A1 which she said she absolutely loves.
Samantha began her placement in May this year and has so far worked in the People Development department helping to develop job descriptions for new roles, creating some excel based reporting tools and assisting with telephone interviews. Next she is due to join Lookers Audi Head of Business George Croll as his PA for a couple of weeks. Samantha will then move on and work in the Sales, Car Buying, After Sales, Marketing and Finance departments during her placement year. Part of this process also includes writing a fortnightly blog about her experience which is then submitted to the University as part of her final grade.
Having worked for the company for the last year Samantha understands Lookers NICER values, and is always looking for opportunities to develop herself and help out her colleagues at Glasgow Audi. With Samantha's enthusiasm, determination and intelligence she is the ideal candidate to trial the business placement programme. It is refreshing to meet a young person who has such strong ambitions to climb up the career ladder and Samantha is hoping this new programme will give her the opportunity to do just that. Samantha has said she wants to continue her career within Lookers Audi and, hopes that there will be a permanent role for her once she leaves University in summer 2017.
We asked Samantha if she had any advice for future graduates taking part in the placement programme:
“ I would advise future graduates to go in to the placement with an open mind and take every opportunity they can to learn about the business from all departments and to enjoy it because it is a fantastic opportunity"
Samantha's experiences and feedback, both during and after this placement will be key in the formation of a graduate programme in the future. The ideal candidates should be someone that is extremely organised, responsive and assertive and who can thrive on variety.
Supporting the new business placement programme is Steve Dean, Managing Director of Lookers Audi Division who said: “ Our business is changing fast, the new generation of customers are already buying and we need new generation management to help ensure our business delivers their expectations".