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Will Marston at Safecote Ltd

A brief introduction to the placement company.

The company I have taken my year placement with is Safecote Limited, they are a small winter service solutions company and supply variety of products to county councils, highways agencies and similar businesses in order to help them tackle snow and ice at winter, which they have been doing for over 15 years now. Their mission is to be the leading winter service solutions company in the market.†

A brief introduction to yourself Ė what you are studying, why you chose to take a placement year.

My name is Will, I am originally from Cheshire and have grown up very close to where Safecote is situated near a town called Northwich. I began studying at the University of Worcester in the 2013/14 academic year to study International Business Management. Throughout my university career I have taken it upon myself to say yes to any big opportunities the university gave me, this resulted in me taking part in the Erasmus semester abroad program for the first 6 months of 2015, and also what ultimately pushed me to pursue a placement year.†

What were your responsibilities?††

A long term project of mine has been forming a contact database of potential new business in different sectors which Safecote hasnít previously looked at. Then in some cases prior and during winter to directly contacting these prospective customers via phone calls to gauge interest and hopefully generate some sales in a new sector. Some of these are schools and colleges, railway companies and those in charge of parks & pavements at local councils. Unfortunately the weak winter proved it difficult to get any real traction from these, so a large about of my work has been collating contact details for my colleagues to send out future mass mailshots for following winters.†

I was tasked with being a main point of contact with our website design company in designing a new website. I was in charge of a lot of decision making within the website in terms of features and layout but also provided all text and imaging for a redesign of the website.†

A side project I checked upon weekly was searching specific tender portals for potential tenders related to our product from councils, then compiling information to pass on to our UK Sales Manager Debbie to pursue; this was introduced in the later segment of my placement but it resulted in us winning a few lots of some tenders which has proved worthwhile. We are subsequently signed up to a tender search/filtering website which provides us with new alerts whenever new ones are published. As a result of my research Safecote are also in the motions of signing up to a Railway specific tender portal called RISQS which is crucial to infiltrating the railway tendering industry.†

I also helped with general day to day running of the office, answering any phone calls should our Office Manager not be available. There were frequent cases where I would be the only staff member in the office for several days at a time, this has resulted in me not only improving my multitasking ability but also discipline in managing my workload effectively without supervision, something which is vastly beneficial to take into final year at university.†

I played a large role in organising equipment we have in office for exhibitions or product testing trips, a few of which I have taken part in over the course of the year.††

I was also involved in designing new product leaflets on an ad hoc basis for my manager when he felt we needed different promotional material for exhibitions, as well as designing video media to play on TV stands at these exhibitions.†

How did your skills develop? What did you achieve?†

One personal aspect is that I used to be extremely shy around doing phone calls, especially phoning up people that I didnít know. Itís now something I can handle and do relatively well with and not worry about.†

I have become much more confident in my discipline in managing work without supervision, my manager for the most part has left me to get on with projects throughout the year with little interruption; it has been up to me to ensure I get work done on time. I feel this has given me great experience in learning to work through discipline rather than motivation.†

I have had the opportunity to practise my graphic design hobby in real world applications. This is through creating mailshots and leaflets ad hoc for my colleagues and their projects, instead of outsourcing to a graphic design company.†

My organisation, planning and forward-thinking skills have improved immensely, having to juggle several projects simultaneously as well as having exhibitions and events to prepare for and partake in I have become far more comfortable in recognising the priority of projects whilst ensuring that everything given to me is completed.†

My workplace vocabulary has improved, although this isnít a massive factor I feel it is incredibly beneficial to take to any office-based job on knowing how to act and what to say.†

The photo above was taken on a day during winter when we took product photos and videos to show potential clients our products effectiveness.