James Riddick graduated from the University of Cumbria in 2013 with a 2:1 in English and Creative Writing.

Although he enjoyed his degree, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in marketing. His love of the written word together with his knowledge of digital media meant that James had the right skills to make this happen. The challenge was, without direct work experience in marketing, how was he going to make it happen?

The University of Cumbria is a delivery partner in the county wide European Regional Development fund (ERDF) funded business support programme, Cumbria Business Growth Hub. Part of that support is providing short term graduate placements for local companies.

Sensible Print Solutions Ltd were looking for help developing and implementing a new marketing strategy. James applied for the vacancy and was delighted to be offered the placement role of Marketing Officer.

“After graduating from University of Cumbria in 2013, I found myself somewhat uncertain about my future plans. I was aware the university offered careers advice, but did not really take advantage of this during my time as a student. Fortunately, though, I found that services were available to help even after graduation.

"In the year following leaving university, I worked in retail and considered teacher training, eventually discovering and researching marketing. I applied for various roles, but rarely got anywhere due to lack of experience or qualification in the subject. My hopes were realised more quickly than I anticipated when I was pointed in the direction of the Growth Hub graduate placement scheme.

"The opportunity has proved to be an invaluable experience. I am given a lot of support in order to adjust to the demands of a role I hope to occupy in future. Only three months after receiving the placement offer, I already feel well on the way to a career in marketing.”

Caroline Adams, Senior Project Officer for the university, added, “Not many of our graduates know they can still register with us and apply for paid placements. I am delighted James has had this opportunity to show and use his marketing skills. It can be extremely difficult to make that first step on the career ladder. For any of our graduates looking to take that first step or considering a change of career path, a placement is a fantastic way to gain valuable experience.”

To find out more on the current vacancies or how to register please visit www.cumbria.ac.uk/grab.

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